Friday, June 18, 2021


Few pleasures in life are as reflective as enjoying a piece of toast in the morning, with a cup of coffee, and your thoughts. Although I usually prefer a savoury breakfast, from time to time, I do enjoy pastries and sweet breads, especially with pomegranate and mint tea. A little bit of sweetness, and a whole lot of nostalgia in every bite.
This little chocolate loaf is what I consider a true breakfast indulgence. Slightly sweet, with a rich chocolate flavour, soft crumb, and delightfully chewy crust, it is perfect all on its own, as well as toasted. And because of the sugar content, it will even ever so slightly caramelise when toasted, making it even more delicious, especially with the addition of espresso.
In my experience, both chocolate and cocoa bread loaves take a tad longer to bake. However, because every oven is different, do watch it carefully while it bakes, especially if it starts browning a little too much, too quickly. If you have doubts if the loaf is baked or not, give it a few more minutes in the oven.
Once baked and fragrant, take it out of the pan, generously brush it with dandelion honey, and let it cool down on a wire rack. Serve it as soon as it has cooled down to your liking. Personally, I love to cut slices as thick as the toaster allows, toast them up, and serve with some plant yoghurt and dandelion honey. Like a little chocolate cheesecake for breakfast. It is delicious, though, with any sweet spread you can think of, and even peanut butter.

150 grams plain flour
100 grams buckwheat flour
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
75 grams brown sugar
7 grams instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
180 millilitres warm water
30 millilitres sunflower oil
100 grams dark chocolate, roughly grated
30 grams dandelion honey, optional

Sift the plain flour and the cocoa powder into a medium bowl, add in the buckwheat flour, sugar, yeast, espresso powder, grated chocolate, and salt, and whisk until evenly combined. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the warm water and oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until a somewhat sticky dough comes together. It may seem sticky, but it will be manageable. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for a few minutes, until springy and supple. Add a little bit of flour more if it keeps sticking. Return it to the bowl, cover, and let it rest for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until doubled.
Prepare a small loaf pan (10x20 centimetres) by lining the bottom and sides with a piece of baking parchment. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface again, and gently press it out with your hands, to deflate it. At this point, either shape it into a regular loaf or divide it into three equal pieces and make a braid. Place the dough into the prepared pan, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest and rise for another 30 minutes or so, while the oven preheats.
Generously mist the surface of the dough with cold water, and bake it in a preheated oven, at 220°C, for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C, and bake for another 20-25 minutes. The baked loaf should feel done and light, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Do check it often, so it does not overbake. If you notice the top is getting too dark too quickly, make a little aluminium foil cover, to protect it. Once baked, take it out of the oven, brush it generously with dandelion honey, if desired, and serve as soon as it cools down enough to be sliced. Yields 6 servings. © Tina Vesić