This recipe came about because I had read about how American Civil War era soldiers drank chicory “coffee” versus the kind that we drink today because it was more readily available and much cheaper. Chicory is a perennial herbaceous plant that can be found in open pastures where livestock used to graze. We live where a dairy farm used to be and there is a huge field of chicory mixed with clover here. Chicory roots can be pulled from the ground, scrubbed clean and roasted in the oven. Then they are processed in a coffee grinder. Recently, chicory has been discovered as a “functional food” in that it contains inulin but there is not enough in this recipe to matter.
Morning Chocolate Chicory Bread
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp vegan brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup freshly brewed ground chicory tea, temp approximately at 120 degrees F
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1. In a small bowl combine yeast and 2 tbsp of chicory tea. Allow yeast to proof in a small cup. Bubbles start to form on top of mixture.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, cocoa powder, sugar and salt.
3. Combine chicory tea, proofed yeast, butter in another bowl.
4. Add liquid mixture with dry mixture and stir until it begins to form a pliable dough.
5. Add vegan chocolate chips to the mixture and stir again.
6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 5 – 8 minutes.
7. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a light flour cloth kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm location until nearly doubled in size – about 45 – 60 minutes
8. Punch dough down in center and turn out onto a floured surface. Flatten to about 1″ thick and fold top and bottom towards center, folding the dough into thirds, like a business letter in an envelope. Flatten the dough out again and fold the right and left side. Continue for another 3 minutes and reshape into a loaf. Round the edges and fold underneath the loaf and place into a small loaf pan. Let the dough rise for 30 more minutes in a draft-free location.
9. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
10. Place a baking pan in the bottom of the oven filled with ice water. This will provide the necessary steam to give the loaf a firm crust.
11. Place the loaf in the center of the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom and the internal temp is 190 degrees F. You can spritz the interior of the oven with water from a spray bottle to add more steam. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 15 – 20 minutes.