Lahey’s chocolate coconut bread

Jim Lahey, proprietor of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC and popularizer of the no-knead breadmaking technique, devotes a chapter of My Bread to flavored versions of his basic loaf.  Since I find the standard, no-knead loaf produced by his methods to be a bit bland, I thought I’d take a whack at more baroque version.  As I flipped through the book, the chocolate coconut bread recipe immediately caught my eye:  two of my favorite flavors in loaf form!

Here’s the basic recipe…in a large bowl using a wooden spoon, mix together 2 cups plus 2 T bread flour (280 g), 1 cup loosely packed unsweetened coconut (50 g), 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (150 g), 3/4 tsp table salt (4 g), 1/4 tsp instant yeast (1 g), and 1-1/4 cups cool water (280 g).  Stir for 30 seconds.  Cover and rest at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours, or until doubled in size.

Next, gently scrape the risen dough onto a generously floured counter, shape (using a very light hand) into a rough round or oval, and allow to rise for an additional 2 hours, covered with a tea towel (not terrycloth, mind you).  Half an hour before the end of the rise, heat the oven to 475.  Place a 3-1/2 to 5-1/2 quart enameled cast iron pot and lid  in the oven to heat up.  At the end of the rising time, remove the pot and lid from the oven, carefully place the dough round into the pot, cover the pot, and return it to the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until the crust is deeply browned but not burned.  Interior temperature should exceed 190 degrees.  Remove the loaf from the pot and cool on a wire rack.

The resulting loaf is craggy, showing pockets of browned chocolate poking through the crusts’s cracks and splits.  The taste was a bit surprising–the coconut and chocolate don’t contribute much sugar to the loaf, so the taste is primarily of bread and chocolate, with a slight coconut finish.  It’s nice on its own, but becomes even tastier when spread with raspberry or cherry jam.

Want more yeast inspiration?  Check out the Wild Yeast blog.

11 thoughts on “Lahey’s chocolate coconut bread

  1. I finished my first loaf of Lahey’s no-knead yesterday and I am more or less pleased with the result. But I am wondering if a couple of factors influenced the loaf. First, the first rise ended up being very long, about 30 hours. Second, I baked it in my 6.5 quart dutch oven, which is larger than Lahey calls for. Do you think either of these things would negatively affect my loaf? The crust is pretty tough and there is some not necessarily unpleasant rubberiness to the crumb.

    I’m looking forward to trying the baguettes!

    • The larger pot size will definitely affect the finished loaf. It will spread more, with the loaf ending up wider & flatter than a traditional boule. Wider & flatter means you probably won’t get any attractive cracking/splitting in the upper crust. RE: rubbery crumb–your most likely culprit is under-baking.

      My favorite recipe from the Lahey no-knead book is the pizza bianca, followed closely by the strecce. The strecce are baked on a pan, and they’re darn near perfect every time. See the strecce here:

    • It does have a nice, rustic, handmade look to it. On one hand, that’s great. On the other hand, I prefer a “prettier” loaf–ie, nice score marks/grigne, evenly shaped, etc. So the misshapen qualities of the Lahey no-knead, pot-cooked loaf are almost a minus to me.

    • Adding sweetened coconut will probably cause some problems: regular yeast’s activity is overwhelmed by too much sugar. If you try this variation, substitute some SAF Gold yeast (formulated for sweet doughs) for you standard instant yeast.

      RE: extract–give it a whirl and post your results. Before I resorted to extract, I’d probably use some coconut milk or coconut water as part of the liquid. The bread is a pretty nice balance of pure, yeasty goodness & the choc & coconut bits–I’d think that extract might overwhelm the other flavors. Maybe just a single drop?

  2. This looks like a fantastic bread! It combines some of my favorite ingredients as well. Chocolate and coconut just can’t be beat. I am definitely bookmarking this!

  3. Pingback: No-knead flaxseed & whole wheat bread « Bouillie

  4. I have made this bread twice, and in two different ways. The first one I made exactly how Lahey suggested and it came out wonderful. My dutch oven was larger than what he suggested but I adjusted the cooking time accordingly. The second time I made it (yesterday), I decided to add sweeten coconut because I wanted more coconut flavor and I thought that this would help, I used half the amount of chocolate, and I made it in a loaf pan. The loaf came out beautifully and tasted wonderful. You can taste a bit more of the coconut (a little bit more coconut flavor but overall the sweeten coconut didn’t add much), there were plenty of chocolate in the bread and to get the crustiness of a bread that is baked in a clay oven I put some ice cubes in a cast iron skillet while the bread was baking at 475 degrees for 15 mins and then I reduced the temperature to 350 degrees and I continue to cook til done about another 30 mins (plus or minus). Both loaves were tasty!! I just eat it plain. I must try it with jam!

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