I made sliders, based on Dan Lepard's recipe quite a long time ago now (in fact, just over a year... how time flies). They have been on my mind again recently. The lovely soft, moist texture was what appealed to me both then and now so I thought I'd make them again. This time however, I wanted to add my own twist - chocolate!
Soft and moist texture
Not for any particular reason, just because adding chocolate to things generally makes them better. I have been meaning to make a chocolate loaf (yeasted bread rather than cake) for many years now and thought that this recipe would lend itself well to the addition of chocolate. See below for my thoughts and musings after tasting them....
25g cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
275ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
1tsp sugar (5g)
50g cocoa powder
325g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried (instant) yeast
I followed Dan's instructions for these again with minor modifications:
- Slake the cornflour with a little of the milk to form a smooth paste (slaking is just the term used to refer to the process of mixing a small amount of the liquid with the cornflour - it prevents lumps forming when the mixture is heated) and then add the rest of the milk, mixing until smooth. You will find that the mixture does not have any lumps in it because the lumps are removed before the majority of the milk is added. Heat until boiling, stirring all the time - the mixture will remain quite runny for ages and then suddenly thicken up. Remove from the heat at this point, stir in the sugar and butter and allow to cool a little.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and yeast and mix well to form a dough. I had to add a little water here as my dough was too dry to come together. Leave for 10 minutes or so, and then knead briefly until smooth. I then kneaded my dough again after about 20 minutes and then left it to increase in size.
- Leave until significantly increased in size. I didn't time this as I was busy with various other things, but I think it was left for longer than Dan's specified 90 minutes.
- I wanted mini slider size rolls so weighed out 50g pieces of dough (yes, using a scale to make sure they were all the same) and shaped them into balls. I placed these relatively close together on a lined baking tray and left them to rise again. I place them close together to get a slight 'batching' effect, where the edges of the buns met rather than staying separate.
- Preheat the oven to Gas 6/200C in sufficient time before you think you'll need it (yes, that's vague - your oven might take 30 minutes to heat up, it might take 5. Mine probably takes about 10 but it was on anyway).
- Dust lightly with flour and then bake for 20-25 minutes. I have no idea how I decided when they were done - they went into the oven dark brown and came out dark brown.... The time is based on Dan's recommendations but with a little added to allow for using a lower temperature.
Texture wise, these were perfect - just how I remember the sliders from last year. So soft and moist - almost cake like (in a bread-y sort of way). Taste-wise I have to confess to being slightly underwhelmed. I had remembered enjoying the sliders so much last year and thought that these would be just as good. Although I said at the beginning that adding chocolate to most things makes them better, the substitution of such a large proportion of the flour for cocoa powder actually ended up making a slightly bitter roll. Not inedibly bitter, but it took me by surprise. I think that adding chopped chocolate to the basic dough would have been a better way to add chocolate flavour to the sliders. Either that, or to add more sugar to the dough to counteract the bitterness.
However, nothing ventured, nothing gained and although the bitterness of the bread took me by surprise the first time I ate them, they have very much grown on me and I'm glad I tried the experiment. I have been eating them for breakfast (what?! bread is definitely a breakfast item, even if it is chocolate bread...) and although they aren't the best spread simply with butter I think they'd be divine with Nutella (for those who can). I can definitely recommend them with choccy Philly or spread with butter and a square of 70% chocolate (I used Lindt because a 10g square is just the right size for these rolls). I think the chocolate is quite a French thing - I am given to understand that a few squares of chocolate in a pain-de-mie (sweetish soft white bread) roll is a common snack for children in France (though I could be mistaken - they probably eat Mars Bars like the rest of the world!)
Choccy Philly - really not silly...
I am submitting these to We Should Cocoa this month, where the theme is 'Bread'. Founded by Choclette of Choc Log Blog and Chele of Chocolate Teapot, the host this month is Nazima of Franglais Kitchen.