Wednesday, 29 January 2014

No Knead Chocolate Spelt & Prune Bread

I know what you’re thinking… prune bread?  Umm, no thanks. That was my initial thought when I learned the Bread Baking Babes (BBBs) were making Chocolate Prune Bread this month.

No Knead Chocolate Spelt & Prune Bread


It seems the childhood memory of eating prunes in the school cafeteria still haunts me. 

When I was growing up, the cafeteria served prunes for dessert sometimes. These weren’t the dried prunes you get out of the box, they were stewed prunes served with warm syrup and scooped from large pots. At least that’s what I imagined they were cooked in. We always skipped dessert on the days they served prunes.

Years later, I tried prunes (out of the box) and enjoyed them. Prunes are just dried plums after all, and when you pair them with chocolate and bread, what’s not to like!  It’s a delicious combination, but if you prefer, you can substitute a different dried fruit in this bread.

No Knead Chocolate Spelt & Prune Bread cooling

This is a rich and chocolaty no knead bread. My adapted version is based on the recipe from the original Artisan Bread in Five Minutes by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë François.

They just released an updated version of the book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (revised & updated edition) and in it, they provide an updated version of this Chocolate Bread Recipe.

Jamie (Life’s a Feast), the host of this month’s bread bake, has the updated version posted on her blog. The updated version includes measurements in grams and ounces.

My version is made with all-purpose Spelt flour so I made a few adjustments to the formula to accommodate the Spelt.  Spelt is rather picky you see.  It doesn’t absorb water as well as regular bread flour and it doesn’t like being over mixed.

Note: If you want to make this bread with all-purpose flour or bread flour instead of spelt flour, increase the amount of water used otherwise the bread will be dry and crumbly. 


Double Chocolate Spelt & Prune Bread

Adapted from: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë François.

Makes one 1 ½ pound loaf


  • 2 oz. premium chocolate*
  • 1/4 cup salted butter

Final Dough:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose Spelt flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Instant yeast
  • 3/4 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup premium cocoa powder
  • 2.5 oz. premium chocolate, finely chopped*
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (100°F or below)**
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup honey*
  • Softened unsalted butter for greasing the pan
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. water)
  • 1/4 cup sugar for sprinkling over the top of the bread and preparing the pan


  • 2 ounces premium chocolate*
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried prunes

* The original recipe recommended using premium bittersweet chocolate.  I wanted a more chocolaty flavor so I used a combination of 60% dark chocolate and intense dark chocolate infused with natural blackberry and grape flavor.  Since the chocolate I used had sugar in it, I used a little less than 1/3 cup of honey in the final dough.

** If you use all-purpose flour or bread flour instead of spelt flour, increase the amount of water used by ~1/4 cup.


Make the Ganache:

Melt 2 ounces of chocolate and the butter in the microwave until the chocolate is melted.  Blend the mixture together and set it aside.

Mixing and storing the dough:

Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, cocoa powder, and chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl or other container.

Mix the the water, eggs, and honey together.  Pour the mixture over the flour and mix using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk. Add the ganache and stir until it is thoroughly incorporated.  You may need to use your hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

Cover the bowl or container and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, but it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate the container of dough and use over the next 5 days. Beyond the 5 days, freeze the dough in 1-pound (about 450 g) portions in airtight containers for up to 4 weeks. When using frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using, then allow the usual rest and rise time.

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On baking day

Generously grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ - inch (22 x 11 ½ cm approx) nonstick loaf pan with butter, sprinkle some sugar evenly over the butter and shake the pan to distribute.  I used my Emile Henry Ceramic Baker.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Shape the dough into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Let the boule rest for 90 minutes to warm up to room temperature.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a ½ - inch-thick (scant 1 ½ cm) rectangle. As you roll out the dough, use enough flour to prevent it from sticking to the work surface but not so much as to make the dough dry.

Sprinkle the chocolate and chopped prunes over the dough and roll up the dough jelly-roll style to enclose them. Fold the dough over itself several times, turning and pressing it down with the heel of your hand after each turn. This will work the chocolate and prunes into the dough; some may poke through.

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Instead of shaping a regular loaf, I decided to make a braided loaf. I divided the dough into three equal portions. Then I rolled each piece out into a log and braided a 3-strand braid. I tucked the ends underneath and placed the braid in the prepared ceramic baker to rise. Then I let it rise for 90 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Using a pastry brush, paint the top of the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

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Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes until firm. Smaller or larger loaves with require adjustments to baking time.

Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.

No Knead Chocolate Spelt & Prune Bread sliced


This No Knead Chocolate Spelt & Prune Bread tastes good, especially warm with butter and it makes great toast. It would make a decadent gift for Valentines Day or you can turn it into bread pudding for a different kind of treat.

Thanks to Jamie (Life’s a Feast) for choosing this delicious bread. I enjoyed being a Bread Baking Buddy.



Happy Baking!


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