Chocolate Sourdough Loaf


So, I’ve been teasing all of you on social media about this chocolate sourdough, and it is just so yummy. This is a perfect loaf to make for breakfast or an after-dinner treat. The dough itself has a tangy, chocolate-essence and is not sweet, but is packed with wonderful chocolate chip surprises. 

Why sourdough? 

Of course, you can make any chocolate loaf with yeast bread but why do we do sourdough? There are a slew of health benefits with sourdough which I originally listed in my Crusty Artisan Sourdough Bread recipe, and I’ll paste those again for you below! But we also love sourdough because it’s just so fun to make. There is something about the long process, working with your hands, and dusted flour on the tabletop that just makes my heart explode. If you haven’t ever tried sourdough before, you can follow the link here to learn how to make your own Sourdough Starter from Scratch. It’s so easy! 

Health Benefits: 

  1. Polyphenols – Sourdough starter and sourdough bread are fermented to collect natural yeasts which are already in the air. Sourdough has something called polyphenols in it, which are a type of compounds found in plant based foods and whole grains. These polyphenols are thought to help neutralize free radicals in your body, and even potentially help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and inflammation! Who knew?! 
  1. Gluten – The fermentation process also helps to break down the gluten in the bread, so that it is easier on your digestive system to eat! People with gluten sensitivities are more likely to be able to tolerate sourdough bread as opposed to other types of breads because of this. 
  1. Blood Sugar – Big spikes in blood sugar after eating bread comes from eating things like refined sugar & refined processed wheat. Sourdough bread has a lower glycemic load & index than white or even whole wheat non-fermented breads, so it won’t cause the same spike in blood sugars the way that eating other breads will. 
  1. Natural preservatives – Sourdough bread also has natural preservatives in it, which means that it will naturally keep longer on the shelf without growing mold on it. In this way it performs better than other homemade yeast breads made with instant yeast. 

What will you need for this recipe? 

All you really need is a bowl and a mixing spoon (or your hands)! But if you want to follow the steps exactly as I did, you will need: 

  • Electric stand mixer (or just a bowl and mixing spoon) 
  • Banneton basket 
  • Scoring blade
  • Sourdough starter 
  • Dutch oven or bread pan 

THE PROCESS: 

You’ll want to make sure you feed your sourdough starter before you start this recipe. Typically, in warmer weather like we have now, I will feed my starter about 6-8 hours before I plan to make the dough for my bread. This timing will really depend on how mature your starter is. There are various tests that you can do (i.e. the “float” test), where you drop a bit of fed starter in water and see if it floats. If it does, it is supposedly ready to use in your bread. I typically skip this test, though, and just look for the rise of the starter. For example, if I feed my starter at 11am, I know it should typically have doubled in size by 3 or 4pm, and it will peak (almost triple in size) by 6pm. So around 6pm is when I will assemble the dough. Here is a breakdown of the steps: 

STEP 1) Feed starter – 11am. Typically I will feed into a separate, clean jar or bowl. I’ll add 2 Tbsp of starter, about ¾ to 1 cup of flour and just enough water to make the consistency of the starter look like pancake or waffle batter. 

STEP 2) Once the starter has doubled or tripled in size, assemble the bread dough – around 6pm. Add all of the ingredients in the recipe below together. 

STEP 3) Autolyse – let the dough rest for 30 minutes (6:10-6:40PM). This step changes how the bread comes together, it allows the flour to absorb some of the water and you’ll find that your dough when first mixed was quite sticky, but after it “rested”, the dough is much more handle-able. 

STEP 4) Divide, stretch and fold (6:40-7:00PM). Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half to make 2 loaves. Stretch the dough out into a rectangle (if it is still quite sticky, you can dip your hands in water to help prevent it from sticking to your hands too much)! Take each side and fold it into the middle of the dough. Do this for each loaf about 8-10 times, then place it back into the bowl it was mixed in. You should start to notice good structure in the dough.

STEP 5) Bulk ferment (7PM-7AM) – cover the dough with plastic wrap or a wet tea towel, and allow it to sit on the counter for up to 12 hours. The dough will double or triple in size. If it’s cold in your house, I recommend placing it under a microwave light or in the oven with the oven light on. Otherwise, it is probably just fine on the counter. Note: the colder it is, the slower the natural yeast in sourdough will rise your bread, so it may take longer or shorter than 12 hours depending on the temperature in your home. Our home temp is always about 73 degrees. 

STEP 6) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (7:00am, roughly). Place your dutch oven or bread pan in the oven and allow it to preheat inside the oven. 

STEP 7) Stretch & fold (7:00am-7:15am) – Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and repeat the stretch and fold method another 6-8 times. Incorporate the chocolate chips into the bread as you stretch and fold the dough here. Shape the dough into a loaf and place upside down into the banneton basket. Place it, uncovered, into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. 

STEP 8) Once the oven has been at 450 degrees F for about 30 minutes (around 7:30am), remove the dough from the refrigerator and place the banneton basket upside down onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper. Score the top with a single curved slash down the middle or the side. You can add any special designs if you wish. 

STEP 9) Bake for 20 minutes with the dutch oven lid on, then for another 15 minutes uncovered (7:45am-8:20am).  

STEP 10) Remove from the oven. Serve warm with butter! 

PREP TIME1 HR
COOK TIME40-45 MINS
TOTAL 14 HRS 20 MINS

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 2 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
  • 3 ½ cups bread flour
  • 3 Tsp salt 
  • ½ cup sugar 
  • 2 cups warm water 
  • 1 cup active, fed sourdough starter 
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder 
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or more if desired) 

INSTRUCTIONS: 

  1. Mix together all the ingredients except the chocolate chips until well mixed, then let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 
  2. Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide in half. Take each half, and stretch the dough into an oval shape. Stretch & fold the dough about 8 times (see Step 4 from the process notes above for more details on this method). Dip your hands in water if the dough feels too sticky to handle. 
  3. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a wet tea towel until the dough has doubled or tripled in size (about 8-10 hrs). 
  4. Once the dough has doubled or tripled in size, preheat the oven (with bread pan or dutch oven inside) to 450 degrees F. 
  5. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and stretch into an oval shape. Pour 1 cup of chocolate chips onto the dough, stretching and folding 6-8 times to incorporate the chips into the dough. Shape into a loaf, and place upside down into a banneton basket (or just a regular bowl will also work). 
  6. Place into the refrigerator uncovered for about 15 minutes. 
  7. Pour the dough onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper, and score the top of the dough with a scoring blade (to score, make a curved slash down the entire middle or on the side of the bread). 
  8. Bake for 20 minutes with the dutch oven lid on, then turn the heat down to 425 F. and remove the lid. Bake for 25-30 minutes longer uncovered. 
  9. Serve & enjoy warmed with butter! 

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