Home Made Cocoa Bread

Home made bread is such a lovely treat, every time I make some I always think to myself that I should make it more often. But, then modern life gets in the way. So, I still only rarely bake bread. When I do though, I don't like to make plain standard breads. Cocoa is one of my favourite additions to bread. No, it's not chocolate bread! It would only be a sweet chocolate bread if you also added lots more sugar to it. The cocoa adds a deep richness and ever so slight bitterness to it, which is so divine.

I love these kinds of breads in winter, served with soup or tagine or casserole. But they're also wonderful in summer because they're lovely to snack on and to use for summery open sandwiches. When it's freshly baked I love just eating it in slices with just vegan margarine, nothing else needed!

Nuts can be a nice addition to this bread, and can be added (about 1/2 cup) during the second kneading.

Cocoa Bread

2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soy milk
3 tbsp vegan friendly margarine
2 1/2 cups plain flour

To Make
1. Combine the yeast and warm water set aside, this should become frothy and smell very yeasty. If it doesn't froth up on top, check to see that your yeast is in date.
2. Mix the cocoa, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Warm the milk in a saucepan and then remove from the heat and add the margarine. Combine this with the cocoa, sugar and salt in the bowl. Cool slightly and then add the yeast mixture. 
3. Add enough flour to come together into a dough. I'd suggest adding the two cups and then adding the 1/2 cup gradually as needed until you reach the right consistency. The dough should not stick to the edges of the bowl or your fingers, but should be sticky enough to stay together in one ball without crumbling. If it is too sticky, add a little more flour. 
4. Roll into a ball. Knead on a floured benchtop for 5-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. 
5. Dust the mixing bowl with flour and place the dough back in. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot to double in size (probably about an hour). 
6. Punch down the dough and knead briefly again. Place on a greased (or lined with greaseproof paper) baking dish or baking tray and shape into a nice loaf shape. Cover and allow to rise again until double (or almost) in bulk). 
7. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C while you're waiting for it to rise again. Use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut some slits in the top of your loaf and then bake for approximately 1 hour. 

Makes 1 loaf. 

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