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Chocolate Sourdough Bread

If you like chocolate then you are definitely going to like this chocolate sourdough bread recipe. The process of making this bread is not much different from any regular sourdough, but when you actually bake it the whole house smells like a chocolate factory!

Ingredients

Sourdough starter 

Dough

  • 280g bread flour (93%)
  • 20g cocoa powder (7%)
  • 207g water (69%)
  • 27g cold water added along with salt (9%). Total hydration 78%
  • 15g sugar (5%)
  • 60g levain (20%)
  • 6g salt (2%)

Directions 

Starter

  • 10 pm add starter to the water and whisk together, add flour, mix well, cover loosely, let it sit at room temperature 74-78F until in about 8-10 hours starter reaches its peak (triples or more in volume). Learn how to make starter from scratch here.

Dough

  • 7 am mix water with all flour and cocoa powder and cover, let it rest for 1 hour to complete the autolyse.
  • During the autolyse process the flour absorbs the water, becoming fully hydrated. This activates gluten development.
  • 8 am add sourdough starter. 
  • Mix on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 minutes, or KitchenAid on speed 3 for 3-4 minutes until well incorporated. 
  • Cover, let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • 8:30 am add sugar and salt and slowly add extra water during mixing.
  • The process of adding extra water is called bassinage, it helps to tighten up gluten. Mix on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 min, or with KitchenAid on speed 3 for 5-6 minutes until well incorporated. The dough should come up together, but still be sticky on the bottom.

Note: because of cocoa powder, dough might start to fall apart, if it happened, increase the speed, continue mixing, perform 3-4 stops (30 sec -1 min) to help tighten up the gluten. And continue mixing, until dough will come up together, but still be sticking to the bottom.

  • Continue gluten development and structure building by performing stretches and folds during the warm fermentation period.
  • Leave dough to rest 30 min. At 74-78F /23-26C.
  • 9 am wet your hands and perform 1st stretch and fold.
  • 9:45 am 2nd stretch and fold.
  • 10:30 am 3rd stretch and fold.
  • 11:15 am 4th stretch and fold.
  • Performing stretches and folds helps with gluten development. Keep monitoring the dough, if it rises too fast, you can shorten the time between stretches to 40 minutes or less.
  • After the final stretch let the dough proof for 30 minutes at 76-80F/ 23-26C. You should see some bubbles on the surface, the dough has to become lighter. We are looking for 40%-50% rise. 

Preshaping Sourdough

  • 11:45 am Transfer the dough on to a work surface and dust its top with flour. Flip the dough over so the floured side faces down. 
  • Fold the dough onto itself so the flour on the surface remains entirely on the outside of the loaf. This will become the crust. 
  • Place the dough round on a work surface and let it rest for 30 minutes uncovered.

Shaping Sourdough

  • 12:15 pm dust the dough with flour. Use a dough scraper to flip it over on to a work surface so the floured side faces down. 
  • Starting at the side closest to you, pull the right 2 corners of the dough to the left, then fold them up into half of the dough. Repeat this action on the left side too.
  • Finally, roll the dough. Shape it into a smooth, taut roll.
  • Transfer the roll, seam side up, into a prepared proofing basket (loaf pan with kitchen towel).
  • Cover it with plastic and return the dough to the 80F (27C) environment for 15 minutes. 
  • Then transfer the dough to rise for 14-24 hours in refrigerator.

Baking

  • Next morning preheat your oven to 500 F, place a cast iron pan with the lid inside for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge. 
  • Flip it over on a parchment paper, score it with a sharp knife or a scoring lame
  • Transfer it on to the hot cast iron pan, cover with lid (to create steam for a beautiful and crusty crumb).
  • Bake at 500F for 15 minutes with lid on.
  • Remove the lid, lower temperature to 450F. 
  • Bake for 20 more minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy chocolate sourdough bread 🙏

37 thoughts on “Chocolate Sourdough Bread

  1. Lovely recipe. Thank you.
    Weird but true: I can’t stand chocolate. Will this work with carob powder, Natalya?

  2. Patricia, hi!
    I’m not that fan of chocolate too. Also I’ve never used carob powder. Try to add 5% of it. Hope it will work.

  3. Is there wheat flour also? The photo shows bread flour, cocoa powder, and a third flour that I cannot figure out. Thanks!

    1. Julie, hi!
      Whole wheat flour can be added ( about 10%) from total amount of flour

      1. Hi Natalya,
        Thank you but have you actually added whole wheat flour to this recipe? If so, how many grams? Thank you

      2. Steffan, hi!
        It depends on the total amount of flour you are planning to use. Example, for 300g total flour , use 270g bread flour and 30g WW flour

  4. OMG.. I just made this and it has turned out exactly like the picture. I m comparatively new to sourdough and so I m very excited and thought I should let you know. Will be tagging you on Instagram as soon as I post it. But a quick question is there a substitute to all purpose flour.. since it’s not that healthy to eat it on a regular basis.. thank you so much 😊

    1. Thank you so much, very happy for your success 🙏 unfortunately if you are chasing beautiful and open crumb (at least 80% of bread flour is necessary)
      But if you are just looking for flavor and healthy side, then definitely it can be substituted 🙏

  5. So when you talk about sour dough starter at 10PM you are talking about making Levain, correct?

    1. Yes, exactly 🙏

  6. I made your chocolate bread which was delicious, but recipe was slightly different to this one. It had honey and butter, flavour was amazing. Would love to try this recipe, does it differ much in flavour and texture from the other?

    1. Thank you for your feedback 🙏

  7. First making and eating Chocolate Sourdough bread. It was a hit. When I posted on my Instagram page got a lot of likes. It tasted very good alone or with cream cheese. Thanks again for your hard work in recipes and sharing. Not many people share.

    1. Thank you, I’m happy you liked it 🙏

  8. Lovely. This week I baked some similar bread (orange and cocoa) which had a wonderful taste as well when you ate it with cheese or Marmelade.
    In your Instagram account I found this bread of yours. You mentioned that you had it deep frozen for several days, right?
    What was the reason for that and what was the difference/ effect?

    Thank you very much. Heiner

    1. Thank you for yours feedback. I didn’t plan to freeze it, until my oven got broken. And I wanted to share my experience, because I baked it and it still was delicious after freezing 😉

  9. Thanks for the explanation. Very interesting to find out work arounds in unexpected situations. Knowing that it’s working one could freeze one or more loafs in case you’d need one briefly. Thanks again.

    1. Thank you 🙏

  10. Hi Natalya, I made it! This bread is incredibly good. I wonder whether I can add chocolate drops and, in case, when is the right moment to add it to the dough. Many thanks! Costanza

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it.
      After salt added, let the dough rest for 30 min, then stretch it on a wet table, and sprinkle chocolate drops, fold it back, let rest 45 min and continue with foldings.

  11. I just made this one and found it very delicious. Its now my favorite choc sourdough recipe. It makes a rather small loaf since I did not add any nuts or choc chips. I used a bread calculator to help me scale the recipe up so I could make one maybe 25% larger. In doing so, it appears the true hydration of this recipe is 85%, not the stated 78%. This seems to make sense as the dough was very wet, sticky and not the easiest to handle. Could you check your hydration calculation to confirm what my number is? Maybe there is an error regarding what happens with water from levain etc. Next loaf I think I will hold back some water and see how it behave for me. Love the bread! Thank you for such a clear tutorial.

    1. Leslie, hi!
      Happy you liked the loaf.
      I don’t include starter, when I’m calculating the hydration.
      And the cocoa is falling under total amount of flour. So hydration 78% is correct.
      Dough was very sticky, because cocoa is interrupting gluten development at the beginning of the process, but with folds it should come up together very nicely.

      1. Just the right question.. made it yesterday and it was DELICIOUS!!! i wanted to make a bigger loaf 125% and it was soooo sticky i cant handle it… following ur answers so i can make a bigger loaf..

      2. Sorry to hear it was too sticky, mix it longer with stops, eventually it will get together 🙏

  12. Will do! Thanks!

  13. Looks fabulous and appreciate the details. I don’t have a mixer. Do you think that I can work it with my hands good enough? Or do you think that the stickiness of the initial dough would be too frustrating?

  14. It definitely will require more mixing then regular sourdough, but with some stops in between mixing, I guess you’ll be able to do it.

  15. where does the 60g levain (20%) in dough’s ingredient come from? It’s the whole starter? But the starter seems to be 85g?

    1. You need 60g for the dough, and use leftovers for future feeding

  16. Hi Natasha
    If I have forgotten to add cocoa powder at autolyse , when else can I add it at?

  17. Im trying your recipe but doing 83% hydration using dark roast coffee as my h20!! Hopefully it will work but any thoughts?

    1. It’s going to be delicious 😋

  18. I LOVE the flavor. Got a beautiful ear but very dense crumb. I also got very little rise in the bulk ferment stage. Would you recommend longer bulk fermentation?

    1. It depends on strength of your starter. If it’s not strong enough sure you can let it ferment longer.

    2. Hi! Can I use 60g of active regular sourdough starter instead of building a levain with rye flour? Thank you ?

      1. Hi!
        Sure!
        You can use regular starter.

  19. How long should I bake if the maximum temperature of my steam oven is only 230°C? Can I perform 3 coil folds instead of the 3rd to 5th stretch and folds? Thanks!

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