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Chocolate Ginger Pear Bread

The inspiration came during an overly long afternoon seminar, but it took quite a few tries to get it right.  The key was to add more butter, and to allow it to be a soft, sticky dough that requires the support of a pan to bake, rather than to try for more solid rolls baked hearth style.  That allowed for a lighter, softer, more luxurious bread.  The final dough should be softer and stickier than any self-respecting hearth or sandwich loaf, thick enough to be hard work to stir, but not thick enough to properly knead it.

Bittersweet chocolate, chopped, about 150 grams or 5 ounces
dried pears, coarsely chopped, 200 grams or 6-7 oz
soft candied ginger 150 grams or 5 oz

500 grams hard white wheat berries, milled into fine flour with
    3 inches of vanilla bean, chopped fine   
    4 long peppers
    about 3 1/2 Cups hard white whole wheat bread flour
            1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
            1/4 teaspoons cardamom powder
            1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt
teaspoon instant baker's yeast

2 eggs
1/2 Cups buttermilk or 3 Tablespoons buttermilk powder plus 1/2 cup cold water
1/4 Cup honey
1/4 Cup cold water, plus another 1/4 Cup in reserve

1/3 Cup cold butter, cut into bits (2/3 of one quarter-pound cube)

Unbleached all purposed flours, up to 1/3 C for finishing and shaping etc.

In the food processor with the metal mixing blade (not the dough hooks)

whirl the flour, spices, yeast, and salt, and buttermilk powder, if using.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, honey, buttermilk, vanilla extract if not using vanilla bean, and 1/4 C water together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and mix briefly, until it forms a doughy mass that starts to move around the bowl of hte processor.  Stop the mixing and let it all sit for 10-15 minutes.  After the rest, feel the dough with your fingers;  it should be very soft and somewhat sticky.  Knead on full power 10-15 seconds.  If the dough is not very soft and a bit sticky, add the reserved water a tablespoon at a time, in brief pulses; if it is runny and the blade is just running through it without gathering and pushing part of it about, add a bit of the reserved flour, a tablespoon at a time, in very brief pulses.  Add the cold bits of butter and mix again full power 30 seconds.  

Add the chocolate, pears and ginger and process briefly just to mix.  

In the stand mixer with the dough hook:

Whisk the dry ingredients together as above, and pour in the liquid ingredients.  The water should be warm as the dough will not be heated as much as it would by kneading in the food processor.  Knead until a soft dough forms, then knead in the butter bits.  Add a bit of extra water or flour  as needed to correct the texture to a soft, just barely pourable texture.  Stir in the chocolate, ginger and pears.

After kneading however you do it:

Pour the dough into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours to double in bulk.  

Grease and flour your pans:  I used extra large muffin tins and it made 8; about 16 regular muffins; 2-3 very small loaf pans would likely also work.

Stir down the batter (no need to punch this soft dough).  Scrape/pour into the prepared pans.  Cover lightly with plastic and let rise until again doubled in bulk--1-2 hours at room temperature--or overnight in the refrigerator.

Bake 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 190 degrees F.

Remove from pan while still hot and cool on a rack.  Eat one while still hot and the chocolate is gooey.

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