Yield: 2 loaves

Cook’s notes: Feel free to play around with this bread; it’s a basic dough you can experiment with. Fiddle with the amount or type of chocolate, and if you don’t have whey left over from making cheese or draining yogurt, water will do fine, though the whey definitely improves the flavor. I wouldn’t use much more rosemary, as it can easily overtake other flavors, but beyond that, have fun. Note that when I make this bread, I toss a few ice cubes in to make steam. If you don’t want to toss ice directly onto your oven floor, you have a few other choices. Place an old pan or skillet in the bottom of the oven when you preheat it, and toss the ice into that. Or spray the walls of the oven with water when you put the dough in, being sure to avoid spraying the oven light.

1 1/2 cups very warm whey (120 degrees)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour

4 to 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, or more as desired, roughly chopped (be sure to put whatever little shards or chocolate dust you get during chopping into the bread as well)

1 3-inch sprig rosemary, leaves stripped and minced

Thoroughly stir together whey, olive oil, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in flour with a spatula until flour is very well incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (If you don’t want to continue right away with the recipe, gently knock the dough down, cover it directly with greased plastic wrap, and chill the dough for up to 2 days.)

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably with baking tiles or a stone inside.

Flour your hands well, then gently knock the dough down, divide in half, and place one half on a lightly floured board. Flatten the dough and top with half the chocolate and half the rosemary. Fold the dough edges over the chocolate and knead a bit to distribute the chocolate. Form the dough into a ball by pulling the edges under and pinching the bottom seams together; if chocolate falls out, just press it back in. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Let stand 30 minutes, until puffed and risen somewhat.

Place baking sheet in oven (if you have a stone, you can slide the parchment off the sheet and directly onto the stone). Toss 3 ice cubes into the bottom of the oven and quickly close the door. Bake 7 minutes, toss in 2 more ice cubes, and bake about 23 minutes more. The bread should be browned on top and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack; the bread is delicious warm or at room temperature.

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