Sourdough chocolate bread step-by-step recipe with photos.
About this recipe
When we think of sourdough bread, we'd think of a tangy, crusty, and slightly chewy bread. But this sourdough chocolate bread will take you in a different direction altogether. This bread is light and mildly sweet, has a soft crust, and bursts with bitter-sweet-nutty flavours coming from the fillings. This bread is not something you can find in your local bakery, all the more reason to bake it. Enjoy it as it is or top it with butter or your favourite jam/preserve for a heavenly slice. You may dust some icing sugar before serving.
I have shared earlier how to make the no-knead sourdough bread. This bread is a variation and follows the basic recipe.
Sourdough starter: Make sure the starter is active and bubbly.
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.
Cacao powder: I use cacao powder (can be substituted with an equal amount of cocoa powder).
Almonds, raisin, and goji berries: I use almonds, raisins, and goji berries. You may use nuts or dried fruits of your choice.
Cacao nibs: I use cacao nibs in this bread, which has a bitter taste. You may choose to replace it with chocolate chips if you prefer.
Sugar: Since I do not use chocolate chips, the amount of sugar I add is slightly more. You may reduce the sugar if you use chocolate chips.
Step by step instructions
Combine water and starter. Slowly add the flour, and cocoa powder and mix well making sure there are no dry bits of flour. Let it rest (steps 1,2).
Next add salt, nuts, raisins, goji berry, and cacao nibs to the dough. Mix well, making sure they are incorporated well (steps 3,4).
Perform stretch and fold at regular intervals (steps 5-8).
Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation (step 9).
The dough almost doubles after bulk fermentation (step 10).
To shape the dough, pick one side of the dough and bring it to the center. Pick the other side and bring it to the center (step 11).
Roll it to form a log. Place in a well-dusted banneton for cold proofing (step 12).
Next morning remove the dough from the fridge and score it (step 13).
Place in the hot dutch oven and bake with the lid on. Next bake without the lid (steps 14,15).
Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing or storing (step 16).
Cacao nibs versus chocolate chips
Cacao nibs are dried cacao beans bits. They are highly nutritious and an excellent source of antioxidants. They also have a high amount of healthy fat, protein, and fiber. Cacao nibs are produced after drying and fermenting cocoa beans. They have a bitter chocolaty taste and so I add sugar to the dough to balance it. You may choose to use chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs. In that case, you can reduce the amount of sugar a bit to avoid the bread from turning too sweet.
Storing sourdough chocolate bread
This bread can be stored like any other sourdough bread. It stays fresh at room temperature for up to 5 days. Keep the bread wrapped in a cotton bag or a clean tea towel once the bread completely cools down. On the day you slice the bread, keep the cut side down on the board and cover it with a clean tea towel. From the next day onwards, place it in a bread box or air-tight container.
If you plan to store it beyond 3-4 days, it is best to freeze it. You can either freeze it as a whole or you can slice and freeze it. Thaw the bread overnight in the refrigerator or for a few hours at room temperature. You can freeze it up to three months.
This sourdough chocolate bread:
- is a healthier way of satisfying your chocolate cravings
- is vegan friendly
- stays fresh for up to five days
- freezer friendly
Tips and tricks
I have added cacao nibs here; however, you may replace them with chocolate chips.
I have added raisins, goji berries, and almonds to this bread. You may replace it with dried fruits or nuts of your choice. Make sure the total quantity remains approximately the same as stated in this recipe.
Add the dried fruits and nuts, and incorporate it as much as you can initially. The dough will be uniformly incorporated as we continue to stretch and fold.
Make sure the starter is active. 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. Click here to see how to prepare the sourdough starter for baking.
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.
Click here to see how to stretch and fold the dough.
I have made this sourdough with bread flour, but you can choose any flour – for example, a combination of plain flour and whole wheat flour.
Sourdough Chocolate Bread
- Combine active starter and water together
- Slowly add the flour and cacao powder. Mix well making sure there are no dry bits of flour. Let it rest for 30 minutes
- Next add salt, sugar, almonds, raisins, goji berries, and cacao nibs to the dough. Mix well, making sure they are incorporated well
- Perform six sets of stretch and fold at an interval of 30 minutes. Wet hands, grab a portion of the dough and slowly stretch it taking care not to break it and fold it towards the centre 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. See the pictures below or the video here to see the technique
- Let the dough sit for bulk fermentation until it is almost double and has bubbles on the top
- Dust the banneton well with rice flour
- Shape the dough. Flip the dough onto a well-dusted bench. Pick one side of the dough and fold it to the centre. Pick the other side and fold it to centre. 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
- Next day, place the dutch oven in the oven and preheat at 230 C (450 F) for 45 minutes
- Take the dough out of the fridge once the oven is preheated
- Score the dough using a blade or sharp knife
- Place in the dutch oven and close the lid. Bake for 20 minutes
- Take the lid off the dutch oven and bake for 20 minutes
- Turn off the oven and let the bread sit in the oven for 15 minutes for curing
- Cool completely, slice and serve
Click here to watch the sourdough chocolate bread web story.