Cherry-Chocolate Whole Wheat Bread from a Mix

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This recipe for Cherry-Chocolate Whole Wheat Bread begins with a box of Hodgson Mill Honey Whole Wheat Bread Mix. The lightly sweet, whole wheat dough is the perfect background for the tart, brandy-soaked cherries and milk chocolate chunks. And Hodgson Mill uses all-natural ingredients in all of its products including this bread mix, so my from-scratch mantra is intact – just simplified. I love it when that happens.

Ingredients

  • 1 box Hodgson Mill Honey Whole Wheat Bread Mix
  • 1 yeast packet, included in box
  • 1 cup milk, slightly warmed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 6 oz milk chocolate, use high quality brand
  • 1/2 cup brandy, or apple juice
  • extra flour, as needed

Directions

Rough chop the cherries and combine them with the brandy in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and then cool for 10 minutes. Drain the cherries and set aside. Chop the chocolate into chunks, put into a bowl and set in the refrigerator to chill.

Combine the bread mix, yeast, milk, egg, butter and vanilla in the bread machine pan. Turn on the machine’s dough cycle and monitor how the dough is coming together for the first 3-5 minutes. If the dough looks sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it comes together nicely and resembles the softness found in the palm of your hand. Continue the dough cycle or turn off the machine once the dough has been through the cycle for about 15 minutes, has been kneaded well and the inside of the machine is warm. Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled – about an hour or until the cycle is complete.

Dump dough out onto a floured work surface and pat into an 8×10-inch rectangle. Pat the cherries dry with a paper towel and then sprinkle them on top of the dough. Take the chocolate chunks out of the refrigerator and scatter them on top of the dough. Fold each side of the dough over the other – like a burrito, encasing the cherries and chocolate. Then fold the bottom of the dough up and the top down. Knead the dough about 10 times or until the cherries and chocolate have been evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Place the dough in a bread pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover the pan with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and allow the dough to rise until it is just above the rim of the pan – about 45 minutes. Bake in a 350˚ F oven for 30-35 minutes or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on top. Let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove the bread from the pan and cool it completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Bread will stay fresh for up to three days if kept in an air-tight container.



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