Deb’s Chocolate Orange Bread

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE the Smitten Kitchen blog. My dear friend and I are going to a book signing and cooking demonstration at The Brooklyn Kitchen for Deb Perelman’s new cookbook. Can’t wait!

In honor of Deb’s new cookbook and the total geekdom that will spill out of me when I meet her next week, here is her recipe for chocolate orange bread. I slathered mine with butter and local honey, but that’s just me. 🙂


Chocolate Orange Bread

borrowed from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus a little more for kneading)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 egg

One 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4-inch loaf pan, buttered

Combine warm water and yeast, set aside for 10-15 minutes to proof.

Sift all dry ingredients and orange zest in a bowl. Rub in butter until no longer visible. Add milk, egg and yeast mixture and stir to combine. At this point, you can add more flour if it looks too wet, but a little sticky is ideal. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Place dough in a buttered bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until it’s doubled in size.

Turn risen dough onto a floured surface and press down to deflate. Stretch the dough into a rough rectangle. Fold into thirds and tuck the ends in. Place in buttered loaf pan, seam down. Cover with a buttered or oiled piece of plastic wrap and allow to double in size, about an hour.

While dough is rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the middle. Once dough has risen, place in oven and lower temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until firm to the touch (190 degrees internal temperature). Unmold and place on baking rack until cooled.



Adventures in cheese-making

Whew! I don’t know about you but I’m still full from my back to back Thanksgiving feasts. I’ve had so many cooking adventures in the past few weeks, I don’t even know where to begin. For now, I’ll focus on the latest and most exciting-my first time making cheese! I’ve been dying to try a fresh mozzarella or ricotta but was a little intimidated by the process. With the help of some good friends, we tackled it step by step and ended up with enough cheese for three homemade pizzas. Yum!


I picked up some fresh unpasteurized milk, rennet, and citric acid from the good people at The Brooklyn Kitchen and used a helpful tutorial from Food52. I read through each step and prepped all my ingredients and tools before getting started. One gallon of milk yielded about a pound of fresh mozzarella and about a 1/4 cup of ricotta.

And now, some tips for when you’re ready to tackle your own cheese-making:

-The steps happen rather quickly so I would definitely have all of your tools at hand when you begin to heat your milk

-Food-safe gloves could really come in handy during the stretching of the mozzarella. The water is very hot and this will help you to keep the cheese curds submerged long enough to stretch to the right consistency.

-Cannot stress this enough (and if you’ve read any cheese-making recipes, you already know) -the right milk makes all the difference. Most grocery stores sell ultra-pasteurized and homogenized milk to extend the shelf life but this heat treated milk will not yield good cheese. The New England Cheesemaking Supply Company has a great list of where you can find raw cow, goat, and sheep’s milk in your state.


After finishing up our cheese, we rolled out a few pizza crusts and got to toppings. We had a classic or two and a tribute to my favorite pie from Saluggi’s in Tribeca.

fresh tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella

fresh ricotta, garlic infused olive oil, wilted spinach

balsamic roasted brussels sprout, bacon, caramelized onions, mozzarella