Chocolate sourdough bread is a delicious variation of traditional sourdough, combining the tanginess of sourdough with rich chocolate flavor. This bread offers contrasting tastes, with the slight tang of fermentation complemented by the bittersweet notes of cocoa powder.
The result is a moist and tender loaf with a soft crust that is visually appealing and a treat for the taste buds. Chocolate sourdough bread is a standout choice for those seeking bread that marries the distinctive tang of sourdough with delightful chocolate.
About this recipe
When we think of sourdough bread, we think of tangy, crusty, and slightly chewy bread. However, prepare to be led down a completely different path with sourdough chocolate bread. This unique creation diverges from expectations, offering a light and mildly sweet experience. Its soft crust gives way to a burst of flavors - bitter, sweet, and nutty.
The addition of chocolate introduces a delightful complexity to the bread, balancing the sourness of the dough with the sweetness and depth of cocoa. Depending on the recipe and personal preference, additional ingredients like chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruits can also be incorporated for added texture and flavor.
Sourdough chocolate bread is not the kind of bread you stumble upon at your local bakery, which makes it all the more enticing to bake it yourself. Enjoy it as is or enhance it further by adding butter or your favorite jam for a heavenly slice. For an extra touch of sweetness, sprinkle icing sugar before serving.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Unique flavor combination: This chocolate sourdough bread recipe combines the tanginess of sourdough with the rich and bittersweet flavors of chocolate, creating a unique and exciting taste experience.
- Balance of sweetness and tanginess: This sourdough chocolate bread achieves a harmonious balance between the sweetness of chocolate and the tanginess characteristic of sourdough bread. This balance allows both flavors to shine through without overpowering each other.
- Versatility in serving: This sourdough chocolate bread can be enjoyed in various ways, such as on its own, with butter, or paired with your favorite jam or preserve. This versatility provides options for personalizing each slice according to individual preferences.
Sourdough starter: Use an active bubbly starter for this bread.
Bread flour: I use bread flour to make this bread; however, you can choose any flour – for example, a combination of plain flour and whole wheat flour.
Cocoa powder: I used cocoa powder (which can be substituted with an equal amount of cacao powder).
Almonds, raisins, and dried berries: These filling ingredients can be changed as per your preference; however, ensure that the total quantity of ingredients remains the same as mentioned in this recipe.
Chocolate chips: I use semisweet chocolate chips in this sourdough bread. You can replace it with dark or milk chocolate chips. I have roughly chopped them before using them; however, this is optional.
Sugar: I have used raw sugar in this recipe. It can be replaced with plain white sugar or brown sugar. However, brown sugar may make the dough slightly more difficult to handle.
Step 1: Soak the raisins and dried fruit in enough water for 10-15 minutes in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine the active starter with water until it is fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients - flour and cocoa powder. Mix well, making sure there are no dry bits of flour. Let the bread dough rest for 30 minutes (images 1 and 2).
Step 2: Drain the water from raisins and berries. Add them to the dough along with salt, sugar, almonds, and chocolate chips. Mix well, making sure they are incorporated well. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes (images 3 and 4).
Step 3: Once the dough has rested, gently pull the dough to perform stretch and fold. Gently stretch the edge of the dough and fold it back to the center of the dough (images 5 and 6).
Step 4: Continue to stretch and fold the dough turning the side of the bowl in a circular motion until it develops gluten and builds strength and structure (images 7 and 8).
Step 5: Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation (image 9). The time taken depends highly on the ambient temperature of your kitchen so go by the feel of the dough rather than the time. The dough rise is almost doubled after bulk fermentation (image 10).
Step 6: Flip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Pick one side of the dough and fold it to the center. Pick the other side and fold it to the center. Now hold the dough gently and tuck it to form a log (image 11). Carefully place the dough seam side up on the banneton. Cover the dough loosely with a damp towel or plastic bag. Place it in the refrigerator overnight for cold fermentation (image 12).
Step 7: The next morning, set the oven temperature to 450 F (230 C) and preheat the oven along with the Dutch oven. Once the oven is preheated, take the dough out of the fridge. Flip it onto a parchment paper or baking sheet. Score the dough using a blade or sharp knife (image 13).
Step 12: Carefully take the Dutch oven out of the oven. Place the scored dough along with the baking paper into the hot Dutch oven and immediately close the lid. Place it back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take the lid off the Dutch oven and bake for another 15 minutes (images 14 and 15).
Step 13: Cool the sourdough chocolate bread completely on a cooling rack before slicing (image 16).
Activate your sourdough starter: Ensure that your sourdough starter is active and bubbly before using it in this recipe. The night before you plan to make the dough, take the starter from the fridge and feed it in 1:1:1 ratio of starter:flour:water.
It is important to note that the time taken for the starter to activate depends on many factors. For example, the ambient temperature, the nature of the starter itself, etc. If your starter activates at a much faster rate, you can activate it the same day you are making the dough. Or, you can use either less starter or cold water to slow down the activation.
Change the flour type: I have made this sourdough with bread flour, but you can choose any flour - for example, a combination of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
Balancing sweetness: Find the right balance of sweetness in your chocolate sourdough bread. The natural tanginess of sourdough may require a slightly higher amount of sugar or sweetener to achieve the desired level of sweetness. Experiment with different amounts to find the perfect balance for your taste.
Chocolate additions: I have used semisweet chocolate chips in this recipe. You can use milk or dark chocolate chips or chunks. You can also add grated chocolate to the dough, which will create pockets of chocolatey goodness throughout the bread. However, keep in mind that too much chocolate can interfere with the rise of the bread.
Soak the raisins and dried berries: To prevent the raisins and berries from drying out and becoming tough during baking, soak them in filtered water. This will help them stay moist after baking. You can also soak them in some juice if you would like to add more flavor to the chocolate bread.
Handle carefully: Handle the dough carefully while doing stretch and fold, given that the raisins and berries may make it slightly tricky to handle. Check out these tips on how to handle sourdough with add-ins.
Avoid excessive flour: When shaping the dough, use only as much flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Excessive flour can make the dough dry and affect the final texture of the bread.
Preheat the oven and the Dutch oven: Place the Dutch oven in the oven and ensure that the oven is preheated to the correct temperature before baking the bread.
Allow the bread to cool: After baking, let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing into it. This will help the flavors and textures to fully develop and make slicing easier.
How to serve chocolate sourdough bread?
When it comes to chocolate sourdough bread, there are numerous ways that I like to serve it. Here are some ideas that are my personal favorite:
Enjoy it fresh: One of the simplest and most delightful ways to serve sourdough chocolate bread is to enjoy it fresh out of the oven. Allow the bread to cool slightly, but still serve it warm. The aroma and soft texture will be at their best during this time.
Butter or spreads: Spread a generous layer of butter on a slice of chocolate bread to enhance its richness. I also like to slather a slice of chocolate bread with chocolate hazelnut butter. Alternatively, serve the bread with your favorite jam, jelly, or preserves for added sweetness.
Hot Beverages: Pairing chocolate sourdough bread with a warm beverage is hands down my favorite. It creates a cozy and comforting combination. Serve it with a cup of hot chocolate, coffee, or even masala chai for a delightful treat.
Chocolate bread pudding: Transform this delicious bread into a decadent dessert by using it as a base for bread pudding. Tear the bread into chunks, mix it with a custard mixture, and bake until the pudding sets. Serve warm with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
French toast: Chocolate sourdough bread makes a fantastic base for indulgent French toast. Dip thick slices of bread into a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, and sweetener, and cook them on a griddle or in a pan until golden brown. Serve the French toast with maple syrup and fresh berries.
More sourdough bread recipes
Both Dutch-process cocoa powder and regular cocoa powder can be used in this recipe. Dutch-process cocoa powder has a milder flavor and darker color. Regular cocoa powder is more acidic and has a stronger flavor. Choose based on your personal preference and the desired flavor profile.
Yes, you can adjust the sweetness to suit your taste preferences. If you prefer sweeter bread, increase the amount of sugar to 100 grams, and if you prefer less sweet bread, reduce the amount of sugar to 50 grams. Remember to strike a balance between the sourdough tang and the chocolate sweetness.
While traditional methods involving hand mixing along with stretch and fold are commonly used for sourdough bread, you can adapt the recipe to use a bread machine or stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Adjust the mixing and kneading times accordingly, following the instructions for the specific equipment.
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Chocolate Sourdough Bread
- Bench scraper
- Bread lame or razor blade to score the dough
- 100 grams sourdough starter active
- 500 grams bread flour
- 375 grams filter water
- 50 grams cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 75 grams sugar (use 100 grams for sweeter bread and 50 grams for mildly sweet bread)
- 75 grams almonds chopped
- 75 grams raisins
- 50 grams dried berries
- 50 grams semisweet chocolate chips
- 10 grams salt
- Rice flour to dust the banneton
Make the initial dough:
- Soak the raisins and dried berries in enough water for 10-15 minutes.
- Combine the active sourdough starter with water until it is fully incorporated.
- Slowly add the flour and cocoa powder. Mix well making sure there are no dry bits of flour. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Drain the water from raisins and berries. Add them to the dough along with salt, sugar, almonds, and chocolate chips. Mix well, making sure they are incorporated well.
- Perform six sets of stretch and fold at an interval of 30 minutes. With wet hands, grab a portion of the dough and slowly stretch it taking care not to break it, and fold it towards the center over the dough. Keep turning the bowl and repeat the process until all parts of the dough is covered. Carefully flip the dough and round it up. This completes one set of stretch and fold. Repeat this process six times at an interval of 30 minutes.
- Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation until it is almost double and has bubbles on the top. This may take 3-4 hours depending on the ambient temperature.
Shaping and cold fermentation:
- Dust a round or oval banneton well with rice flour.
- Flip the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pick one side of the dough and fold it to the center. Pick the other side and fold it to the center. Now hold the dough gently and tuck it to form a log. Carefully place the dough seam-side up on the banneton.
- Cover the dough loosely and place it in the refrigerator overnight for cold fermentation.
Bake the chocolate sourdough bread:
- The following morning, place the Dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 450 F (230 C) for 45 minutes.
- Once the oven is preheated, take the dough out of the fridge. Flip it onto a parchment paper or baking sheet.
- Score the dough using a blade or sharp knife.
- Carefully take the Dutch oven out of the oven. Place the scored dough along with the baking paper into the hot Dutch oven and immediately close the lid.
- Place it back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Take the lid off the Dutch oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Turn off the oven and keep the door ajar. Let the bread sit in the oven for 15 minutes for curing.
- Cool completely, slice, and serve.