Plum Chocolate Hearth Bread

 
Natural dried plums not only add taste and texture to baked goods, they reduce fat content and add fiber, making them ideal for healthier baking.
 
They provide moisture retention that works wonders on hearty grains and other dry foods. They’re cost effective. And they’re easily incorporated into a wide variety of bakery applications, from breads, sweet goods, and cereals, to cereal bars, confections and snacks.
 
For a creative new bread perfect for offering to customers during the fall holidays, try this idea for Plum Chocolate Hearth Bread, courtesy of Sunsweet
 
Ingredients
Sponge
Bread flour 300 grams / 2 cups
Unprocessed wheat bran 15 grams / 1/3 cup
Water 435 grams / 15 fluid ounces
Active dry yeast 4 grams / 1 teaspoon 

Dough
Bread flour 310 grams / 2 1/4 cups
Cocoa powder 25 grams / 1/4 cup
Active dry yeast 4 grams / 1 teaspoon
Honey 70 grams / 3 1/2 tablespoons
Kosher salt 12 grams / 1 heaping tablespoon
Sunsweet Plum Amazins 200 grams / 1 1/2 cups
Dried sour cherries 130 grams / 1 cup
 
 
Instructions

To make the sponge: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, bran, water, and yeast. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight. Bring the sponge to room temperature for at least 1 hour before mixing. Alternatively, after mixing the sponge, leave it at room temperature for at least 2 hours or as long as 6 hours before proceeding to the next step.

 
To make the dough: In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and yeast. Add the honey and sponge and mix until a coarse dough forms. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
 
Add the salt and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Add the Plum Amazins and dried cherries and mix on low speed until the dried fruit is evenly distributed in the dough, about 2 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a lid, and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
 
To shape the loaves: Dust a work surface with a thin layer of flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and cut in half. For each half, place the cut sides of the dough facing down. Cup both hands around the dough and rotate clockwise, tucking the edges under with the sides of your palm until the dough forms into a ball. Dust the dough generously with flour and cover with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rest until the rounds have risen to the point at which they lightly spring back to the touch, about 1 hour.
 
About 30 minutes before baking, place a baking stone on the bottom rung of an oven and preheat oven to500°F. Right before baking, mist the sides of the oven with water. Uncover the dough. With a sharp paring knife, make one long cut about 1/2-inch deep down the center of each round and 2 to 3 small slashes on each side of the cut.
 
With a floured baking peel, slide the loaves onto the baking stone and bake for 5 minutes. Lower the oven to 350°F and bake until the crust takes on a deep brown color and feels firm and crisp to the touch and the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when thumped, about 40 more minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.