Studded with chunks of chocolate, chewy tart cherries, and crunchy hazelnuts, this Chocolate, Cherry, and Hazelnut Bread incorporates an array of beautifully balanced textures and flavors to achieve showstopping status. Cocoa powder in the dough lends a note of earthy richness and deep chocolate color while dried tart cherries provide pops of fruity tang and hazelnuts a toasted, nutty bite. To achieve the perfect crisp outer crust and tender crumb inside, we baked this beautiful bread in Le Creuset’s Bread Oven. Made with enamel-coated cast iron, the domed design of its lid traps and circulates steam to create bakery-quality loaves. And since it’s crafted from Le Creuset’s legendary cast iron, you can be sure that the oven’s heat distribution and retention are unmatched—not to mention its striking design, which is sure to make this loaf the center of attention at your holiday table. Full of rustic charm and warm, wintry flavors, this is one bake that’s sure to spread some cheer.
The Le Creuset Bread Oven will make all your holiday bread-baking a little extra special. Oven-safe up to 500°F; easy-to-clean durable porcelain enamel that resists dulling, staining, chipping, and cracking; and unmatched in heat and steam distribution, without hot spots, this expertly crafted piece is sure to be bakers’ new best friend. With the Le Creuset Bread Oven, a crisp crust and delicate, airy crumb are easier to achieve than ever before. It’ll feel like an heirloom piece from the day you start baking with it and a staple of all your bread-baking memories for generations to come.
- 2 cups (480 grams) hot water (160°F/71°C to 170°F/77°C)
- 1 cup (113 grams) chopped hazelnuts
- ½ cup (80 grams) chopped dried tart cherries
- 3 cups (381 grams) bread flour
- 1¼ cups (156 grams) whole wheat flour
- ½ cup (43 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
- 3¾ teaspoons (11.25 grams) kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
- ½ cup (85 grams) chopped 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate
- 2 cups (480 grams) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
- Semolina flour, for dusting
- In a small bowl, combine 1 cup (240 grams) hot water and hazelnuts. In another small bowl, combine cherries and remaining 1 cup (240 grams) hot water. Let stand for 30 minutes; using a fine-mesh sieve, drain hazelnuts and cherries.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together bread flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa, salt, sugar, and yeast by hand. Add drained hazelnuts, drained cherries, and chocolate. Add 2 cups (480 grams) warm water; using the paddle attachment, beat at low speed until a sticky dough forms, about 30 seconds.
- Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
- Turn out dough onto a heavily floured surface. Using floured hands, lightly press dough into a 1-inch-thick oval. Fold bottom third over to center. Fold right third over to center; repeat with left side. Finish by folding top third over previous folds. Roll loaf away from you until seam side down, and using both hands, cup dough and pull it toward you to seal. Rotate dough 90 degrees, and pull again until a tight, smooth boule forms. Place, seam side up, in a banneton (proofing basket) heavily dusted with bread flour (or a medium bowl lined with a kitchen towel dusted with bread flour). Loosely cover dough with towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Generously dust top of dough in banneton with semolina flour, and invert dough, semolina side down, directly into Le Creuset Bread Oven. Score dough, if desired. Cover with lid, and place in oven.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove lid, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of loaf registers 200°F (93°C), 30 to 35 minutes more. Immediately remove loaf from Bread Oven, and let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Store in a bread box, bread bag, or well-sealed paper bag for up to 3 days.
How do you bake the bread if you don’t have the bread baker you suggested. Can I use my other Le Creuset pot?
Hi! Yes, any Dutch oven can be used!
Without a dutch oven at all ( just using a cookie sheet or pizza stone) you could also use a full pan of ice in your oven on the lowest shelf when you place the loaf in, along with spraying the loaf with a mist of water before placing in the oven. This helps create a steamy environment to create the crunchy crust. It won’t be nearly as good as using a dutch oven, but it can make an acceptable loaf of bread in a home oven if you don’t have the recommended tools.