Recipe by Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery in Cary, North Carolina
3½ cups flour
1¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon yeast
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup butter (at room temperature)
1½ cup water at 60 degrees
1/3 cup cocoa
½ cup chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
Baker Lionel Vatinet, who opened his La Farm Bakery in Cary, North Carolina, 18 years ago, makes this bread every Christmas. “Chocolate breads are so fun and delicious and indulgent this time of year,” he says. “I love the festive play on colors and textures with the dark bread and the bright, chewy cranberries.”
In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, combine flour, salt, yeast sugar, and butter. Start mixing on low speed and slowly add water. Stop mixer after 5 minutes and scrap sides and bottom of bowl with dough scraper to loosen all dry ingredients. Start mixer again and increase speed to medium, mixing for 2 more minutes. Slowly add cocoa, chocolate chips, and cranberries. Mix for 2 more minutes, then stop and check temperature of dough. If dough is between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, transfer to a bowl that has been lightly dusted with flour. Dough should feel stiff and very firm, but moist. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a location that maintains a temperature of 75 degree. Let dough rise for 1½ hours.
Gently fold dough and shape into boule. Transfer to a sheet tray lined with parchment. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise again, away from drafts, for 1 hour. Lightly dust top of dough with flour and score with a razor blade down the middle of the dough. Place in preheated 400-degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a bakers rack.