Writer's Grove

Levi Bread

September 2, 2019

I’m adapting this post from a Twitter thread so folks can find and follow it a bit easier. If you’re not coming from Twitter, welcome anyway—this is a white chocolate and orange bread recipe my kid made up that will make you glad to be alive. But don’t take my word for it. Behold what Sarah said, the first person besides us to try the recipe:

The smell is absolutely divine and most likely not something you’ve smelled before. The first time Levi made it, Kimberly and I quizzed them intensely:
US: Where did you get this recipe? It smells so good!
LEVI: I just made it up.
US: You did?
LEVI: Yeah. I thought it might work.
US: It works for us, kid! Holy shit! OM NOM NOM
LEVI: Jeez, stop! Just stop. You guys are so weird!

Levi had been taking a cooking class in high school and they covered breadmaking for a week or something like that, but Levi really enjoyed the process and started experimenting with different ingredients. This particular result was an unqualified winner and we’ve been enjoying it for a few years now. You can, of course, try throwing other ingredients into the basic bread. You can try adapting it to be gluten-free. Let me know if your experiments go well! In the interest of science and happiness, though, you owe it to yourself to duplicate these results in your own kitchen. There might be similar recipes out there on the Internets, and yay if you want to google them. But Levi took a swing at this bread improv and hit a home run, so we call it Levi Bread. Step-by-step recipe below!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of the milk you like; we use whole milk
  • 1/4 cup of buttah
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of salt, or four shakes, or four grinds of the salt mill
  • 1 package of instant or otherwise freakin’ fast-acting yeast
  • 1 orange
  • 4 ounces of white chocolate chips

Let’s get onnit

Put the milk in a saucepan and warm it up on the stove. Don’t boil it! While that’s going, nuke that muthafuggin buttah or melt it slowly over a fondue bowl, whatevs, and then zest the heck out of that orange so that all those lovely orange peels are taking a bath in melted buttah and feeling luxurious and pampered.

Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl and get them acquainted with each other, making sure everyone meets everybody else like those awkward icebreaker exercises the principal makes you do on inservice days. Ask me how many of those I had to endure as a public school teacher. NO DON’T DO THAT I DON’T WANNA REMEMBER

Once the dry ingredients are mixed up, throw in everything else except the white chocolate chips. Water! Milk! Egg! Orange zest bathed in buttah!

Now get yourself a mixer and let it do its thing, getting all the dry ingredients wet until you have a zesty moist blob like your Uncle Jethro or your Aunt Gladys. Everybody has an aunt or an uncle that’s a moist blob so you know what I’m talking about here

OKAY MAYBE THAT’S JUST MY FAMILY

Slap your blob on a sanitary flour-covered surface and start kneading. Add little handfuls of flour as needed until you get the dough to the point where it’s nice and stretchy and still moist like Uncle Jethro, BUT it’s not so moist that it’s sticking to your fingers.

So when it’s all kneaded as much as needed you should have a smol round dough boi of delicious potential. Put him in your mixing bowl and let him rise like a sequel for an hour or so (because sequels are so often rising, have you noticed? As in SEQUEL TO A THING: RISE OF THE THINGS, and I don’t know, I thought it was funny until I explained it). You can cover up the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel or cellophane just so the cat won’t yark a hairball onto it and maybe play it some encouraging music. We wanted our smol dough boi to be excited about getting baked soon so we played it some stoner rock. It should look something like this before you cover it:

Come back after an hour and coo lovingly at your smol dough boi, which is now a much bigger dough boi:

Now comes the super exciting part where you ADD THE WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS and to do this properly you have to say NOW I ADD THE WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS really loud as you pour them on because I swear it will make you feel so happy. So yeah, the recipe says four ounces because that’s about half a bag of chips. But hey: you do you. If you want fewer chips or more chips, go for it! I won’t tell anybody.

An important side note: White chocolate isn’t really chocolate at all. I mean, it’s a different thing. It doesn’t behave, bake, or taste like chocolate because it isn’t chocolate. So if you want to substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips for white chocolate chips you can certainly do that, but understand up front that the end result won’t look or taste the same as what we’re doing here. It will probably still be good—maybe even great! Just not the same.

Okay, time to smoosh your big dough boi back down to a smol dough boi with white chocolate chips. Knead them in there! You can do it right in the bowl, no need to add more flour or anything.

Now grease up a bread pan with buttah. You can use a cheap aluminum job, or even a muffin tin if you want as Sarah did in the picture up top, but we have an actual bread pan because Levi likes making bread and we like eating it. Lay your smol white chocolate orange dough boi in the pan and let him return to bigness like he’s the end of a trilogy (as in LORD OF THE THINGS: RETURN OF THE THING). This second proofing—or rising, or whatever you want to call it—only needs about 45 minutes. Cover up your pan because if you don’t the cat will fuck it up. And I don’t care if you don’t have a cat, it’ll happen anyway. It is a universal truth that cats will always fuck up uncovered dough bois wherever they may be. You’ve been warned: Cover your dough boi.

Now answer some emails! Scroll through social media! Go online or call your local indie bookstore and preorder my next book so I can buy Levi a taco! But near the end of the second proofing, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then remove the cover from your dough boi and smile at how winsome and pumped-up he is. Here’s Levi with the loaf right before it goes in the oven (and if you’re wondering, those are Assorted Sharky Bois on one arm and an Octopus Boi on the other):

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or up to an hour depending on your oven. You want to see a golden brown top crust and those white chocolate chips have toasted brown too. The smell at this point is going to drive you wild and you will understand why this was all worth it. You will simply not get this smell out of any loaf you buy at the store. But check it first! Insert a knife or your favorite switchblade or icepick or something into the center, and if it comes out clean, you should be good to go.

Remove the Levi Bread from the pan, put it on a rack or something to cool for a bit and just get high on the smell. Take pictures of it, share on social media and direct people to this recipe so they can know this bliss too. Spread the love, y’all. It’s seriously the best bread I’ve ever had and my favorite smell in the world. Here’s Sarah’s review after she tried her first slice:

Levi thanks you all in advance for giving their recipe a try and hopes you enjoy it. And if you wind up buying any of my books, Levi also thanks you for indirectly buying them a taco. Peace & happy dough bois, friends.

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