| |

Chocolate Sourdough Bread

There is something so delightful about chocolate sourdough bread. Its rich, dark crust encases a tender, moist crumb studded with chocolate chunks. This recipe for step-by-step sourdough chocolate bread will show you how to create this delicious bread at home.

a loaf of chocolate sourdough.

Baking this chocolate sourdough bread is simpler than you might think. I’ll begin with an outline of the timings, which can be adjusted according to your schedule.

The timings show a ‘range’ of time to complete these steps. They don’t have to be exact; there is flexibility! I use a similar bread base as my regular sourdough loaf. However, in this bread, there is the addition of cocoa powder and dark chocolate. It’s not a very sweet bread, and the rich chocolate is a delightful pairing with the tanginess of sourdough. 

If you love this chocolate sourdough bread, try this sourdough cinnamon raisin bread or multigrain sourdough bread next!

slice of cocoa sourdough.

Ingredients

Here is a rundown of what you need for this chocolate sourdough bread recipe. See the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for the amounts and detailed instructions. This makes one large boule. 

  • All-purpose flour (with a high protein content of at least 11%.) You could also use bread flour.
  • Active sourdough starter – Mix the active starter with flour and water to create a levain. This is the name for the separate mixture of sourdough starter, where the entire thing will be used in the dough. Don’t have a sourdough starter yet? Learn to make your own sourdough starter.
  • Water – Some water will be boiled to add to the cocoa. The rest will be cold water.
  • Salt – Flavor enhancer and helps with dough structure.
  • Granulated sugar – Only a little to bring a hint of sweetness. You could use brown sugar too. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – This will be mixed with some boiling water first to bloom the cocoa. This intensifies the chocolate flavor. 
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – or chocolate bar chopped add a little bonus chocolate treats throughout the bread. You could use milk chocolate, too though this would make the bread sweeter. 
  • Vanilla extract – A dash of vanilla is a wonderful pairing with chocolate.
chocolate sourdough slice.

Equipment

Here is what you will need to bake this bread.

  • Banneton basket or bowl – You’ll need a bowl of some sort for the dough to hold its shape while it proofs. I use a traditional banneton basket lined with a floured towel.
  • Dutch oven – Baking sourdough in a Dutch oven is an important piece of equipment. The steam it traps during baking allows the sourdough to reach its full potential before the crust forms. Alternatively, a large pot with a lid can be used. I use a cast-iron combo cooker.

Baker’s Schedule

The timing can be tweaked to suit your schedule, but here is a guide.

  • 9 am: Create your levain. 
  • 2 pm: Bloom the cocoa and mix the dough. 
  • Between 2 pm-8 pm: Bulk fermentation time. First, you will stretch and fold the dough for 2 hours every 20 minutes. After the last fold, the dough will sit for another 3-4 hours until it nearly doubles. As with all sourdough, this bulk ferment is very important to achieve a tender crumb, and the timing depends on the temperature of your kitchen.
  • 8 pm: Shaping and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day – The bread can be baked the next morning.

Method

The levain

Mix starter, flour, and water and stir well until thoroughly mixed. Add it to a clean jar or glass and cover it with a loosely balanced lid or damp towel.

Leave it to sit until it has at least doubled.

a jar of sourdough starter.

The dough

fork stirring chocolate.

Once the levain is ready, bloom the cocoa. In a large bowl, combine cocoa powder and boiling water. Whisk into a smooth chocolate mixture.

starter poured into bowl.

Pour over the cold water, then add sugar, salt, vanilla, and all-purpose flour. Add in the risen levain. 

Use a fork to mix it all together into a shaggy dough, then switch to using your hands until it’s all combined. 

​Bulk fermentation

After the starter has been incorporated, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then perform a set of stretches and folds.

a hand folding chocolate dough.

Using wet hands, take one side of the chocolate sourdough dough and stretch it up, then pull it over itself.

a hand folding chocolate dough.

Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this on all sides of the dough. This is one ‘set.’

Perform five more sets over the next 2 hours, one every 20 minutes. 

After this, let the dough rise in a warm spot, ideally around 77°F/25°C, until it nearly doubles in size, around 3-4 hours. This will take longer if your room is cold. You can create a warm proofing spot by placing the bread dough in a turned-off oven and adding a dish of boiled water at the bottom. Replace the water as it cools down. 

Shaping

Line a banneton basket or bowl with a clean kitchen towel and flour it well. 

Flour a work surface. Tip your dough out from the bowl onto the work surface and gently form it into a rectangle. Take care at this shaping stage not to squash the dough too much.

chocolate chips in chocolate dough.

Add 1/2 the chocolate chips onto the bottom half of the dough. Fold the top half of the dough over the chocolate chips.

dough with chocolate chips

Press the remaining chocolate chips on top of the dough.

a hand folding dough.

Take the top right corner of the rectangle and fold it down towards the center of the dough. Press it gently with your fingers to seal it in place.

hand cupping dough.

Repeat with all the remaining corners to create a dough parcel that encases the chocolate chips. Flip the dough ball upside down so it’s smooth side up.

Cup your hands around the dough, with your pinky fingers touching the work surface. Gently move your hands in a circular motion, allowing the dough to rotate between them. Apply slight downward pressure to help shape the dough into a smooth, tight ball.

Add the shaped dough into the floured basket. If the dough spreads out in the basket, you can stitch it together by grabbing a little bit from the top left and a little from the top right and bringing them together to meet in the middle. Repeat all down the length of the dough.

chocolate sourdough in banneton.

Cover with a floured kitchen towel and place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours.)

Baking

Preheat the oven and Dutch oven to 450°F/230°C for at least 30 minutes until well-heated.

Remove the Dutch oven and flour the bottom well. Take the dough from the fridge and carefully flip it out of the basket into the Dutch oven.

If you’re baking this in a large pot, it’s best to tip your dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. This way you can lower it into the pot. Brush it with a little flour (this flour is optional). 

scored sourdough loaf.

Score the dough using a razor blade or a very sharp knife.

Bake in the pot covered with the lid for 20 minutes.

baked loaf.

Remove the lid and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, depending on your preference.

Let the chocolate sourdough cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing.

More sourdough recipes

close up of chocolate sourdough slice.

Chocolate Sourdough Bread

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 16 hours
Total Time: 17 hours 10 minutes

This rich chocolate sourdough bread encases a tender, moist crumb studded with chocolate chunks. 

Ingredients

Levain

  • 30g sourdough starter
  • 60g all-purpose flour
  • 60g water

Dough

  • 45g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100g just boiled water
  • 250g cold water
  • 460g all-purpose flour, with protein of at least 11%
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 8g salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • All the levain
  • 115g dark chocolate chips

Instructions

Levain

  1. Mix starter, flour, and water and stir well until thoroughly mixed. Add it to a clean jar and cover it with a loosely balanced lid or damp towel.
  2. Place it in a warm spot until it has at least doubled.

Dough

  1. Once the levain is ready, bloom the cocoa. In a large bowl, combine cocoa powder and boiling water. Whisk into a smooth chocolate mixture.
  2. Pour over the cold water, then add sugar, salt, vanilla, and all-purpose flour. Add in the risen levain. 
  3. Use a fork to mix it all together into a shaggy dough, then switch to using your hands until it's all combined. 

Bulk fermentation

  1. After the starter has been incorporated, cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then perform a set of stretches and folds. Using wet hands, take one side of the chocolate sourdough dough and stretch it up, then pull it over itself. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this on all sides of the dough. This is one 'set.'
  2. Perform five more sets over the next 2 hours, one every 20 minutes. 
  3. After this, let the dough rise in a warm spot, ideally around 77°F/25°C, until it nearly doubles in size, around 3-4 hours. This will take longer if your room is cold. You can create a warm proofing spot by placing the bread dough in a turned-off oven and adding a dish of boiled water at the bottom. Replace the water as it cools down. 
  4. Line a banneton basket or bowl with a clean kitchen towel and flour it well. 
  5. Flour a work surface. Tip your dough from the bowl onto the work surface and gently form it into a rectangle. Take care at this shaping stage not to squash the dough too much. Add 1/2 the chocolate chips onto the bottom half of the dough. Fold the top half of the dough over the chocolate chips. Press the remaining chocolate chips on top of the dough.
  6. Take the top right corner of the rectangle and fold it down towards the center of the dough. Press it gently with your fingers to seal it in place. Repeat with all the remaining corners to create a dough parcel that encases the chocolate chips. Flip the dough ball upside down so it's smooth side up.
  7. Cup your hands around the dough, with your pinky fingers touching the work surface. Gently move your hands in a circular motion, allowing the dough to rotate between them. Apply slight downward pressure to help shape the dough into a smooth, tight ball.
  8. Add the shaped dough into the floured basket. If the dough spreads out in the basket, you can stitch it together by grabbing a little bit from the top left and a little from the top right and bringing them together to meet in the middle. Repeat all down the length of the dough.
  9. Cover with a floured kitchen towel and place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours.)

Baking

  1. Preheat the oven and Dutch oven to 450°F/230°C for at least 30 minutes until well-heated.
  2. Remove the Dutch oven and flour the bottom well. Take the dough from the fridge and carefully flip it out of the basket into the Dutch oven. If baking this in a large pot, it's best to tip your dough onto parchment paper. This way, you can lower it into the pot.
  3. Brush it with a little flour (this flour is optional).  Score the dough using a razor blade or a very sharp knife.
  4. Bake in the pot covered with the lid for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, depending on your preference.
  5. Let the chocolate sourdough cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 316mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 7g

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts

6 Comments

  1. Hi I was wondering if I have a active starter do I still make the levin? If so should the starter be used right from the refrigerator? Thank you

  2. I made this as my first sourdough after getting a starter rehydrated this week. I’m nursing my newborn and avoiding chocolate so I subbed the cocoa with Carob and the chips with white baking chips. It’s amazing!!!! Thank you for such a detailed and easy to follow set of instructions- I was overwhelmed looking at others online. The schedule was a huge help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *