White Chocolate Club Med Bread

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    One

    9 by 5 by 4½ inch high loaf

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C

My darling cousin Elizabeth Granatelli brought me the idea for this recipe after a visit to Club Med, where guests are presented with a loaf of it at the end of each stay. I adapted a version using my Soft White Sandwich Loaf recipe from The Bread Bible as the base. Adding little cubes of white chocolate to the dough results in small lacy holes lined with a sweet coating of the chocolate. This bread proved to be quite a challenge because the white chocolate close to the surface of the bread became very dark brown. After seven tries, just as I was about to give up, I thought of a great technique: I held out about one-third of the dough before adding the chocolate to the rest, and then wrapped the dough without the chocolate around the shaped loaf. I’m so glad I persisted—this is fantastic bread, incredibly soft and flavorful. It is especially delicious lightly toasted and spread with butter and strawberry jam. It makes a great and unusual breakfast or tea bread.

Method

Make the Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Make the recipe, but replace the raisins with 4 ounces/114 grams of high-quality white chocolate, chopped into ¼ to ½ inch pieces (¾ cup), which are added after rolling out the dough. (Do not make the cinnamon sugar spiral filling.)

Shape the Dough, fill, and Let It Rise

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press down on it with floured hands to form a rectangle. Roll the dough into a 12 by 6 inch rectangle, flouring the counter and the rolling pin if necessary to keep it from sticking. With a sharp knife, cut off a 4½ by 6 inch strip (8.5 ounces/242 grams) from one end. Wrap this dough lightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate while shaping the larger piece.

Roll the larger piece of dough to lengthen it to about 12 inches. Strew the white chocolate evenly on top of the dough. Roll up the dough to encase the chocolate and then knead it to incorporate the chocolate evenly. Sprinkle lightly with flour if it is very sticky. Set it aside, covered with plastic wrap, for 20 minutes.

Lightly flour the counter and roll the dough containing the chocolate into a 9 by 8 inch rectangle. Shape the dough into a log, starting from the top and rolling down to the bottom. When you reach the bottom edge of the dough, pinch it firmly against the outside of the dough to make a tight seam. Set the shaped loaf, seam side down, on the counter.

Roll the smaller piece of dough into a 9 by 8½ inch rectangle. It will be about inch thick. Lightly spritz or brush water on top. Set the shaped loaf, horizontally and centered near the bottom of the dough rectangle, seam side down. Wrap the dough rectangle snuggly around the shaped loaf so that the two edges meet, and pinch them together all along the bottom edge. Set it seam side down on the counter and pinch together the sides of the dough to enclose the loaf. Tuck the sides under and set the shaped dough in the prepared loaf pan, pushing it down firmly. It will be about 1 inch from the top.

Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Let the bread rise in a warm place (ideally 75° to 85°F/24° to 29°C) for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours. The highest point should be 1 inch above the sides of the pan and when pressed lightly with a fingertip, the dough should keep the impression. (See recommended rising environments.)

Preheat the Oven

Forty-five minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and place the baking stone or baking sheet on it. Place a cast iron skillet, lined with aluminum foil to prevent rusting, or a sheet pan on the floor of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Bake the Bread

Mist the dough with water. Quickly but gently set the pan on the hot baking stone or baking sheet and toss a handful (about ½ cup) of ice cubes into the pan on the oven floor. Immediately shut the door and bake for 25 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway around.

Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes, or until medium golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 195° to 211°F/90° to 99°C.)

Cool the Bread

Remove the bread from the oven, unmold it from the pan, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely, top side up, at least 2 hours.

Store

Room temperature, 2 days; airtight: frozen, 3 months.