Tag Archives: no-knead bread

Chocolate-Coconut Bread

“His loaf has more chocolate chips than the one you last baked for me!” my daughter said as her sibling-rivalry-double-x-ray vision started to bore holes through the bread that I made for my son. Each semester when he heads back to college, I bake my son a loaf of chocolate-coconut bread to carry on the plane. Maybe my daughter had a point. She also could’ve been wrong. All I knew is that I didn’t want her pointing her double-x-ray vision at me. Who knew what she would find? Nevertheless, when I started to explain that I usually don’t weigh the chips, she looked at me with a—you’ve got to be kidding me—glare. “You are going to put more chocolate chips in the next loaf that you bake for me. Thanks, dad.”

Chocolate. Chocolate-coconut. Chocolate-coconut bread. Three words linked together like a copywriter’s dream. This bread makes everyone smile. Just writing that line makes me want to get up and start mixing a loaf. Thirty seconds of mixing is all that is required because you don’t have to knead the dough. Jim Lahey, who started the no-knead craze, created this recipe after tasting a loaf of coconut bread at a Jamaican spot that was near his bakery. The addition of chocolate to the recipe was inspired by his childhood passion for Mounds bars. This bread isn’t as rich as it sounds. Other than chocolate, there’s no sugar or butter in the recipe. It’s perfect for breakfast, though I wouldn’t fault you for eating it any other time of the day. I do, however, want to warn you that as the bread bakes, the scent from the one-two combination of chocolate and coconut will drive you crazy. As Odysseus resisted the temptation of the Sirens, you too must resist your uncontrollable urge to cut or rip off a piece as soon as you take it out of the oven. As with all bread, this needs to cool down before you can cut into it.

I baked a loaf while my son was home during his break from school because I wouldn’t be able to bake one for him to take on the plane. I could hear my daughter’s voice as I added chocolate chips to the flour. Maybe I added more. Maybe I didn’t. “Dad,” she said, after eating a few slices. I was waiting for her to bust me on a technicality that I didn’t bake it solely for her. “Do you remember the bread with poppy seeds and onions? When can you bake that for me?” Here we go again. How much onion did I use the last time I baked it? chocolate-cranberry bread

Coconut-Chocolate Bread (Jim Lahey’s recipe)

2 cups + 2 tablespoons (280 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups (100 grams) unsweetened large-flake coconut
1 cup (150 grams) semisweet chocolate chunks
¾ teaspoon (4 grams) salt
¼ teaspoon (1 gram) yeast
1¼ cups (280 grams) water

I use the same amount of chocolate and coconut as Jim Lahey does, but I increase the amount of flour to approx. 4 cups (453 grams) and water to 1½ cups (350 grams). I also use a bit more salt (8 grams/1½ teaspoons).

Mix together flour, half the coconut, the chocolate, salt, and yeast. Add water and stir for about 30 seconds. The dough should be wet and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic and let sit for 12-18 hours. Dust your counter with a generous amount of flour. Scrape the dough out of your bowl in one piece. Gently shape the dough to make a round loaf. After rounding, place on a towel that has been dusted with flour. Sprinkle with remaining coconut and fold the top of the towel over it (or cover with another towel). Let it rise for about 1½ hours. Halfway through the rise, place a Dutch oven with its lid on in the oven and pre-heat oven to 475°. Remove Dutch oven and carefully plop the dough into the pot. Replace lid and bake covered for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 450°. Remove lid and continue baking an additional 15 minutes. Lift the bread out of the Dutch oven and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

This recipe also works well for chocolate-cherry bread or chocolate-cranberry bread. Just replace the coconut with dried cherries or cranberries.


Country Wheat Bread (No-Knead Method)

It’s early evening on a Sunday night. You just spent six hours driving back from Los Angeles. Everyone is hungry, dirty laundry that escaped from your bags is now camped out on the living room floor, and your son just revealed that he forgot to do his math homework and needs help. But you also want to run a quick errand to a friend’s house to pick up a package. Your wife says, “If you really have to go, please pick up some bread while you are out. We’ll need it for sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.”

Would you:

a) Begin stirring together flour, yeast, and water, knowing that thanks to a recipe from Baltimore baker Ned Atwater, with minimal investment of time and labor (no kneading required) you will be taking country wheat bread out of the oven before you go to bed?

b) Set the timer for the dough to rise, start making dinner, run out with your daughter to pick up the package, and let your wife, who is helping your son, continue making dinner?

c) Reluctantly accept the offer of a glass of wine from your friend, but graciously decline an invitation to join her family in dinner, even though you see your daughter’s eyeballs growing larger* as she stares at the bowl of pasta mocking her hunger, because you know your wife is laboring in your kitchen?

d) Gab with your friend’s new neighbors who have recently relocated from Ireland, despite being aware that your wife is probably starting to throw pots at the walls while she awaits your return, because it’s common knowledge that not even a saint can resist talking about Ireland?

e) Stare at the homemade apple pie that your friend has just taken out the oven, hoping  she won’t offer you a slice (not even with vanilla ice cream) because you really don’t want an excuse to stay longer?

g) Know that you’ve over-exaggerated your fame as a raconteur, realize that your dough is now probably over-rising and needs to be stirred again, and tell your daughter that it’s time to head home?

h) Stop at the bakery?

*I confess. I added this for dramatic effect. My vegetarian daughter had no problem resisting the pasta because it contained meat.

Here’s what I did:

Country Wheat Bread

And here’s what you can do:

Stare at your hands

Stare at them again

Find a wooden spoon

Now stare at your hands holding a wooden spoon

Good, that was the hard part

Now, the fun part

Atwater’s County Wheat Bread (Recipe from the Baltimore Sun)


3 Cups All-Purpose Flour

3 Cups Whole-Wheat Flour

1 Tablespoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Dry Yeast

3 Cups Room-Temperature Water

2 Tablespoons Honey

In a big bowl, stir dry ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, stir together water and honey. Add to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Dough will be sticky.

Cover the dough in the bowl and let it rest for an hour.

Wet your hands with water (or dust them with flour) and fold the dough seven times (I usually do it more). Re-cover and let it rest for another hour.

Uncover it and fold the dough again.  Re-cover and let it rest for an hour.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a loaf of your choice.

Pre-heat oven to 450° and bake for about 40 minutes. The crust should be a rich, dark-brown color.

If you want to know how good this bread tasted, I will tell you that my daughter rated it RGD even though half of the dough consisted of whole-wheat flour. It was almost good enough to make my wife forget that she was mad at me. I guess I’ll have to remember that the next time I go out for a “quick” errand.