Monday, 31 December 2012

Chocolate & Chestnut Spiced Loaf

I made this loaf way back at the beginning of December as I had some leftover chestnut purée from making my chestnut cookies for the cookie swap. I didn't know what to do with it but after sampling several of the chestnut cookies in a trial batch I wanted to have a go at making something savoury with the leftovers. I had a quick flick through my bread book and found a recipe for chestnut bread. I didn't really follow it but instead used it as inspiration for this spiced loaf. I've made sweet breads with chocolate before but this time I wanted to see if I could do a savoury one. I fully intended on blogging it not long after I made it but I think I got a bit distracted in trying to get all my Christmas themed bakes posted instead. But nevermind, at the end of the year I've managed to squeeze it in. I've got a few other bakes that didn't get written up this year and most of them will probably find their way onto here at some point. I haven't actually baked anything in over a week as there's still some Christmas cake and mince pies left. I also have some cranberry cake and an apple and cranberry scone round (coming to the blog soon) in the freezer as well. I'm going to have to bake more bread tomorrow though and will be using the fancy Mason Cash bread baking set my Mum got me for Christmas to bake it with, as long as I get the terracotta stone seasoned first.

200g unsweetened chestnut purée
500g strong white bread flour
100g strong wholemeal bread flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
50g cocoa powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp hot chilli powder
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml lukewarm water
  • In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together except the water then gradually start adding the water, you may not need all of it depending on your flour. Continue mixing in the water until you have a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for at least an hour or until doubled in size.
  • Knock back the dough, knead lightly and then shape into a loaf on a non stick baking tray. I went for a long oval shaped loaf. Cover with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave to rise again for at least 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 220C and make slashes in the top of the loaf with a sharp knife and bake for 35-40 minutes until the base of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack before serving.  
I had the first couple of slices of this loaf for breakfast the day after baking topped with some mashed avocado and honey. This is one of my favourite healthy breakfast options when I get bored of having porridge. Simply mash one ripe avocado and drizzle in a couple of tsp of honey or to taste and then spread on bread or toast. I know avocados are fatty but they are the good kind of fat and as I have very dry skin I try and eat them on a regular basis as all the fats in avocados are supposed to be nourishing for the skin. This loaf also worked surprisingly well as the base for a cheese sandwich. The cocoa adds a certain bitterness to the bread but it is not overpowering and the spices give quite a subtle flavour whilst the chestnut kept the bread soft for longer than normal.

I'm submitting this as a last minute entry into We Should Cocoa run by Choclette and Chele where the theme this month is cinnamon. Also into Simple and in Season hosted by Lavender & Lovage, Bake Your Own Bread hosted by Heather from girlichef and Connie from My Discovery of Bread and into Yeast Spotting.

I'm updating this post to link it up with the Spice Trail challenge where the chosen spice is chilli.


  1. Wow, I love the sound of this loaf, chestnuts are so good - what a splendid idea. My skin is really dry too, but I just love avocado. We often have it on toast, but without the honey. It's also good in sandwich form with cheese and tomato. Thanks for getting this into We Should Cocoa by the skin of your chinny chin chin. Wishing you a happy and successful New Year.

  2. LOVELY LOVELY! I love chestnuts.....I just popped over to wish you a very happy New Year! Love Karen xxxx

  3. Love the sounds of this loaf - definitely bookmarking to try very soon. And a perfect entry for the new The Spice Trail challenge. Thanks for sharing :)


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