Chocolate Cherry Bread Goes Bean-to-Bar

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

A terrific upgrade to a long-standing Bakehouse classic!

Recently at the Roadhouse, we’ve started to use far more flavorful spelt flour in our pancakes, freshly milled at the Bakehouse, in place of the commercial all-purpose flour we’d been using for years. I’ve tasted the pancakes almost every morning for the last week and they really are terrific. This week, I’m sharing equally excellent news. It’s about a big step forward in the flavor of a Bakehouse offering we’ve been baking for nearly 30 years now. Our Chocolate Cherry Bread—one of the Bakehouse’s original offerings in 1992—is now being made with an even higher quality chocolate.

The impact on the bread is not just intellectual—the flavor is far more compelling. The results are real, and you can absolutely taste the difference! The bread is so much more flavorful that I’m actively seeking it out to bring home. Amy Emberling, longtime managing partner at the Bakehouse, says the same. When I asked her if I was imagining how much better the Chocolate Cherry had gotten, she assured me that she too could really taste the difference: “Absolutely my experience as well. It’s hands down better. I did a blind tasting of the bread, before and after, and it was a massive difference!”

To make this magically wonderful upgrade, we’ve shifted from using the chocolate of a very well known, high end, international producer to a bean-to-bar chocolate from our friends at French Broad Chocolate in Asheville, North Carolina. The Chocolate Cherry Bread is now made with a good dose of their single-origin Nicaragua 68% cacao content. The French Broad folks share the story of the sourcing:

Giff, an ex-Peace Corps expatriate, and Jose Enrique, a Nicaraguan cacao agronomist, live in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua, where Criollo and Trinitario cacao varietals have been cultivated for generations. Both brought years of professional experience and a shared vision to their partnership. To preserve heirloom varietals of cacao, they pay a premium to local farmers for Criollo-infused seed with fine flavor profiles, and plant rare varietals on their own farms. Then they ferment and dry with precision.

The chocolate upgrade has made for a loaf with a light, delicate flavor, akin to a delicious cup of top-notch hot cocoa. It brings together the lovely light chocolatiness, the tartness of the cherries, and the delicate, acoustic bass notes of the natural sour starter. In this newly-improved version, the flavor of the bread itself comes through beautifully. I’ve been tearing chunks right off the loaf to eat. The finish is so clean, so lovely, and lively, that I just want to eat more of it. You can of course turn the Chocolate Cherry into other things—Ed Levine, who started “Serious Eats,” says it makes the “base of the best French toast you’ve ever had in your life.”

The Chocolate Cherry Bread makes a marvelous gift, or just a good way to brighten a chocolate lover’s day!