Double Chocolate Sourdough
This bread has been on my to-make list for quite some time. I first encountered chocolate sourdough my freshman year at Michigan when someone in my hall shared an entire loaf she had gotten (presumably via her parents) from Zingerman’s.
It was amazing, especially warmed in the microwave. The huge melted chocolate chunks combined with the chewy sourdough crumb and crackly crust, oh boy. I’ve only had it twice in 6 years but clearly it has made an impression.
When I decided that I was going to give it a try on my own I imagined I would make the basic country bread from Tartine and add chocolate chunks like you would any other add-in. I wasn’t entirely sure if there would be issues with baking the chocolate at such a high temperature, so I went searching for some recipes.
I did find people who had adapted Chad Robertson’s recipe but I also found a lot of recipes that had cocoa powder, not just chocolate chunks. This wasn’t what I had set out to make but I became very curious as to how that would taste.
I was concerned that the cocoa would overshadow the sourdough taste which turned out to be true. This however may be in part due to the fact that a smaller amount of starter is used and dry yeast is added to leaven the bread. If I were to make this again I would alter the recipe so that the leavening came 100% from my sourdough starter.
I also had worries that the unsweetened cocoa would give the bread too bitter of a taste which I am happy to say did not happen. The 4 tablespoons of honey in the dough do more than enough to sweeten the bread (but not overly so).
This bread is incredible. Fresh out of the oven the crumb is soft and warm and the chocolate chunks melt into every bite. Even with the honey the bread isn’t as sweet as the added chocolate chunks so you end up with two distinct chocolate tastes. I’ve had it both toasted and microwaved in the days since I made it and both have turned out nicely.
- ½ C active sourdough leaven
- 3 C bread flour
- 1⅛ C water
- 4 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 Tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp instant yeast
- 100 grams chocolate chips/chunks, semi-sweet
- Mix all ingredients together except the chocolate chunks in the bowl of a stand mixer. Knead for 5 minutes, allowing a cohesive dough to form. It should be soft and not too dry (or tough). Let the dough rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.
- After the rest add in the chocolate chunks and knead for another 1-2 minutes, until they are well incorporated. Let rise for 2 hours in a lightly oiled and covered bowl.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces, shape each piece into a ball, and let rest for 30 minutes on an unfloured surface. Shape again after the rest is over into desired shape (boule, batard, etc.).
- Let rise on a lightly floured surface (floured linen, pastry mat) for 3 hours and bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, rotating halfway through. The oven should be loaded with steam, which can be achieved by pouring a cup of boiling water into a hot pan (cast iron works best) at the same time you put the bread in. Spraying the walls of the oven with water will also work.
- These loaves will take an hour to cool but this bread is best served warm or toasted to fully enjoy.