When I got an email from Scharffen Berger chocolate, asking me if I wanted to go on a bakery tour of San Francisco, I didn’t hesitate to shoot them back an email saying “Heck, yeah I do!” Turns out Scharffen Berger had invited a number of food bloggers in the San Francisco Bay Area to go around the city in a trolley, to visit bakeries that had made custom recipe baked goods with Scharffen Berger chocolate. It was to kick off their latest contest Elevate a Classic Dessert with Scharffen Berger Chocolate. A contest with a grand prize of $10,000! Of course, at the end of the bakery tour, we all got a few sample chocolates to take home, and I turned around and made this Chai Chocolate Orange Marbled Brioche Loaf, inspired by the idea of elevating a regular baked good to something fancier. On top of that, Scharffen Berger is letting me give away a chocolate baking starter kit for one of you readers! Details at the end of this post.
The kick off of the bakery tour had us meeting at the historic Ferry Building here in San Francisco. If you’ve never been to the Ferry Building and have any interest in food at all (and I’m assuming you do, as your reading my blog) then you must get there the next time you’re in town. Full of artisan crafted good eats, restaurants, and thrice a week – the Farmers Market, the Ferry Building is a food mecca that isn’t a tourist trap. As a local, I go there fairly often, and when I worked downtown, I would shop at the Farmers Market, as well as go there for lunch when I had time.
Climbing onto the tour trolley, There I met up with bloggers Stephanie of Desserts for Breakfast, Denise of Chez Us, Anita of Married with Dinner, Ben of You Fed a Baby Chili, Catherine of Munchie Musings (all the way from Sacramento), Joanne of Jo Boston is a Foodie, Cathe of Just Something I Made, Sheri of Pork Cracklin, Paula of Dishing the Divine as well as Elaine from Sunset Magazine and numerous others to start our tour. We were off to the deep mission to visit Anthony’s Cookies, where we tasted double chocolate chunk cookies with walnuts, featuring Scharffen Berger’s Semi Sweeet 62% Baking Chunks. Gooey and warm from the oven, 40+ food bloggers jockeyed into position to try to get the perfect photograph – all before any of us were allowed to try the melty morsels of goodness.
Climbing back onto the blogger-bus we headed up to the Fillmore shopping district across town to visit the Citizen Cake, where celebrity Pastry Chef Elizabeth Falkner was there holding court. Citizen Cake has gone through many incarnations, and the most recent version of it is a narrow shotgun style café, with baked goods in front and an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with a new fangled twist. Chef Falkner showed the crowds how she makes instant ice cream with liquid nitrogen. This isn’t a new trick by far, as local ice cream maker Smitten Ice Cream does this in Hayes Valley and anyone that has watched Top Chef: Just Desserts has seen the contestants reaching for the liquid nitrogen whenever they need to make instant ice cream. In fact Chef Falkner explained that it was an old trick, as it was used in Victorian-era times, but it is only coming back into vogue now.
Citizen Cake provided us sundae made from chocolate gelato topped with chocolate sauce, housemade marshmallow fluff and chocolate cake crumbles with chocolate nibs. The liquid nitrogen froze the gelato so fast that it didn’t have time to create large ice crystals, resulting a velvet smooth frozen treat. Everyone else seemed to agree as there didn’t seem to be any sundaes left once we left.
Hopping back on the chocolate-mobile we worked our way through the traffic to Ghiradelli’s square to visit Kara’s cupcakes. Kara wasn’t able to be meet us, but we were greeted by a custom Candybar Cupcake designed by Kara herself. Chocolate cupcake filled with caramel and frosted with a swirl of milk chocolate peanut butter ganache (and a touch of sea salt) had me swooning with chocolate overload. Had I reached my chocolate threshold? I hope not because we had one more bakery to go.
We head back to the Ferry Building, about an hour behind schedule and quickly headed to Miette Patisserie where we all picked up slices of four layer chocolate cream cake made custom for us. This was totally my favorite thing on the tour, but sadly I didn’t have a chance to take a photo of it before AJ (and I) ate it up. Apologizes for being such a bad blogger, but really it was amazing. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
The evening didn’t end though! We all rushed over to watch Pastry Chef Yigit Pura, winner of the first season of Top Chef: Just Desserts give us a baking demonstration on how to not piss off your cake when making it. I’ve met Yigit before, and he’s as adorable as sweet as the treats he makes. I gave him a bit of a hard time when he claimed that you couldn’t make invert sugar at home (something Pastry Chef Johnny Iuzzini, Wikipedia and I disagree with). Invert Sugar is a mixture of glucose and fructose and can be made taking simple table sugar and cooking it with water and a little bit of acid (cream of tartar or lemon juice). It’s sweeter than regular sugar – cooking it with the acid and the heat breaks down the sucrose molecule into the two smaller glucose and fructose molecules. This means there’s more molecules to attach to your taste buds, creating a sweeter sensation. Since Pura disagrees with Iuzzini, he recommends using nature’s version of invert sugar, which is readily available: honey. Another commercially available version of invert sugar is golden syrup, which is a byproduct of refining sugar cane juice. It has a wonderful caramel flavor, and it a great substitute for corn syrup. That said, it tends to be expensive as it’s not readily available here in the US (unless you live in New Orleans, where apparently it’s used a lot in cajun food).
Of course, as I was arguing with Yigit, he had me come up and help him dip his chai chocolate cupcakes into ganache. Of course, the first cupcake I pick up I completely dropped into the ganache! Total cupcake fail. Ha! That should teach me to argue with a Top Chef! But Yigit was a true gentleman and had me dip another cupcake and that one went just fine. Whew! Epic baking fail in front of 40 bloggers AND Yigit Pura. Won’t live that one down anytime soon.
Finally, Scharffen Berger sent us all off with a kitchen apron, a rather large whisk and some chocolate for us to enjoy. They are also offering some chocolate to one of your guys! One of you will get a Scharffen Berger Baking Chocolate Starter Kit, for you to start playing around with, in the hopes that you’ll enter (and maybe win) the Elevate a Classic Dessert contest.
The kit includes the following items:
Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder 6 oz
99% Unsweetened Baking Bar 9.7 oz
70% Bittersweet Baking Bar 9.7 oz
62% Semisweet Baking Bar 9.7 oz
12-count Chocolate Tasting Squares
To enter, all you need to do is leave me comment below with a legitimate email address (I gotta be able to get in touch with you if you win!) and tell me what your favorite chocolate dessert is.
As an added bonus, you can also tweet about this contest and get another entry. Just tweet “Kickstart your @Scharffenberger’s Elevate a Classic contest by winning a chocolate kit from @eatthelove: http://bit.ly/chocoKit“ and then come back here and leave another comment telling me you tweeted it. If you don’t let me know you tweeted it, I won’t know, so be sure to come back here and leave a comment.
The fine print – PLEASE READ.
By leaving a comment below to enter, you are agreeing to the Official Rules.
- NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
- VOID WHERE PROHIBITED
- You must be over the age of 18.
- This contest is only open to U.S. Citizens. Sorry non-US people!
- The contest starts as of today, and will run until Thursday, November 3rd, 9am PST.
- The approximate value of the chocolate is $50.
- The winner will be chosen by a randomly selected comment. All comments will be numbered and I will use Random.org to pick a random number.
- The number of eligible comments below determines the odds of winning.
- If there’s a problem with contacting the winner, I reserve the right to award the chocolate to someone else randomly chosen. So in other words, make sure you type in your correct email address if you want the chocolate and respond within a week to me when I contact you or I’ll give the chocolate to someone else.
- The chocolate will come directly from Scharffen Berger, so if you win, let me know when it arrives or if it doesn’t, and I’ll be sure to hassle the appropriate people.
And now that I got that out of the way, here’s that Chai Chocolate Orange Marble Brioche Bread recipe that I talked about in the beginning of my post. I know you want some. It’s fantastic.
I would like to thank Scharffen Berger for inviting me along to tour of the bakeries and sample each bakeries custom desserts, as well as providing the Chocolate Kit as a giveaway for my blog. I did receive a few chocolate samples from Scharffen Berger, which I used to develop this recipe but I was not compensated otherwise. Feel free to follow Scharffen Berger on twitter or like them on Facebook to learn more about their products and the Elevate a Classic contest.
This post has also been submitted to YeastSpotting.
Chai Chocolate Orange Marble Brioche Bread
I used Scharffen Berger Extra Dark 82% chocolate because I didn’t want my brioche bread too sweet, but feel free to use the 70% bittersweet or the 62% semisweet or another quality chocolate. Just be forewarned that the marbling process is a bit unusual and may take a little more time than you think, but it’s is fun to do. When finished, you have a beautiful loaf that perfect with some blood orange strawberry marmalade, raspberry jam or milk jam if your lucky enough to have any of that on hand.
I was inspired by Pastry Chef’s Yigit Pura’s chai chocolate cupcake to make this brioche loaf, though I’ll actually say that I’ve been playing with the idea of a chai chocolate cookie in my head for awhile, before I had a taste of Pura’s cupcake, I just haven’t gotten around to making it yet. Then I came across this loaf in Nick Malgieri’s The Modern Baker and I knew I wanted to make a version of it with my own twist.
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoon (1 package) rapid rise dry yeast
440 g (2 3/4 cups) bread flour
100 g (7 tablespoons) unsalted cold butter
50 g (1/4 cup) white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt, avoid table salt as it’s too harsh)
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoon orange zest (1 medium orange)
1 tablespoon light rum
Chai Chocolate mix in
40 g (1 1/2 oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 generous teaspoon of earl grey, orange pekoe or other black tea (1 average sized bag)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon water
27 g (3 tablespoons) bread flour
Special equipment: A food processor
1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until lukewarm (about 110˚F). Add the yeast and whisk to dissolve. Add 160 g (1 cup) of bread flour and stir with a large spatula. You should have a sticky ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about 20 minutes. Prepare a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan by greasing it generously with butter and lining the bottom of the pan with either parchment paper or wax paper.
2. Once the 20 minutes are up, cut the butter into 1/2 inch chunks and place it in the food processor bowl with the sugar, salt, egg, egg yolk, orange zest and rum. Pulse until the butter has been processed into the liquid. You may not be able to get the butter completely incorporated (in fact, my mixture looked a bit broken and curdled, that’s ok, it’ll come together when you add the flour).
3. Add the sticky dough to the wet ingredients in the food processor and pulse until the liquid is incorporated into the dough (about 10 times). Then add the remaining 280 g (1 3/4 cups) bread flour to the bowl and processor until a smooth dough forms and the flour is completely incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
4. Once rested, dump the dough onto a floured surface, and knead and fold the dough 5 or 6 times to make it a little more elastic, adding a pinch or two of flour if you need to. Cut the dough in thirds and place one of the lumps of dough in the food processor, while covering the other two with plastic wrap.
5. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe medium sized bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds and stir until completely melted. If the chocolate still isn’t completely melted, microwave for another 15 seconds, but it’s better to stir the chocolate and let the residual heat from the bowl melt the solid chocolate than to overheat and scorch the chocolate.
6. Grind the tea to a fine powder by placing it in a spice grinder, or mortar and pestle. If you don’t have either available, place the tea in a ziplock bag, and crush the tea leaves with a heavy rolling pin. Add the ground tea, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and water to the chocolate and stir to incorporate. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the food processor with the 1/3 dough lump. Pulse the food processor 5 or 6 times, until the chocolate is incorporated into the dough. Then add the additional flour and turn the processor on until a smooth uniform colored dough forms (about 10 to 15 seconds).
7. Pull the dough out of the processor and knead and fold on a floured surface 5 or 6 times, until it becomes slightly more elastic (you may need to add a few pinches of flour).
8. Press the chocolate dough into a 7” square. Uncover the other two “white” doughs and press those into 7” squares as well. Now sandwich the chocolate dough between the two white doughs. Cut the dough into thirds. Then, taking 1/3 of the dough, cut the dough into 1/2 inch strips. Place in a bowl and repeat with the other two strips of sandwiched dough.
9. Once all the dough is cut up and in the bowl, sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of water over it, and then gently toss the dough strips together, like a salad. Once the dough is moist and slightly sticky, gather the dough up and press and squeeze the dough into a solid ball. Then flat the ball into a thick 4 x 8 inch rectangle. Place in the prepared loaf pan and gently press down to fill the pan completely. Cover with buttered plastic wrap.
10. Let the dough rise for about 2 hours, or until the loaf has risen about an inch above the loaf pan. About 15 minutes before the loaf is completely risen preheat the oven to 350˚F.
11. Bake the loaf in the preheated oven until the top of the loaf is deep golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let the loaf cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then unmold while still warm, and put on a cooling rack sideways (so the loaf doesn’t cool and compress into a hard brick). Serve same day, or freeze for later use.