I saw this recipe for chocolate sourdough bread recently, while sifting through sourdough-starter recipes, and I knew I had to try it. The verdict? Pretty darn good! I like how the “sourness” of the starter balances out the intense chocolate flavor. I think that a bread pudding with this type of loaf would be amazing! (So, you’ll have to keep a lookout for that.) In the meantime, put together a sourdough starter and follow this recipe to make something truly unique.
Before You Start: Two days before you bake the bread, add the following ingredients to a bowl. (Do this at night and let the mixture rest overnight):
61 grams of starter (If you store your starter in the refrigerator, you cannot use it immediately. Information on using your starter can be found here.) 121 grams of bread flour
91 grams of water
Mix and let sit overnight at room temperature.
The next morning, add the following ingredients to the mixture above:
273 grams of bread flour
204 grams of water
Mix and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
While the mixture is rising, gather the following ingredients:
650 grams of bread flour
100 grams of cocoa powder
86 grams of honey
250 grams of chocolate chips
433 grams of water
20 grams of salt
In a big bowl, first add the water. Then, add the starter. Break up the starter thoroughly in the water with your hands. Add the honey and stir to combine. Add all remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips.
Stir for 1 – 2 minutes. (Write down the time when you finished stirring. This will be the start time from which you will time all the subsequent steps.)
Let dough rest for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips on a work surface, spreading them out in a, roughly, 12″ x 12″ square. Stretch or pad the sticky dough thinly to cover the chocolate chips.
Then, sprinkle the other half of chocolate chips over the dough. Press the chocolate chips into the dough so they stick.
Gather the dough from the edges and fold to the center. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl.
Start the first set of stretches and folds in the bowl by pinching the edges of the dough and folding the dough onto itself to the center. Do this 20 times, rotating the bowl as you go. As you stretch and fold, stretch the dough only as far as it will let you. Try not to tear the dough.
After 45 minutes, do a second set of stretches and folds. (Same as above.) At the end of this stage, the dough will already feel silky and smooth. (Be mindful that the bottom of the dough is the “right,” or top, side of the dough, and the right side of the dough always remains at the bottom in the bowl.)
After another 45 minutes, do a final set of stretches and folds. (Same as before.)
At the end of 4 hours from the time you stirred the ingredients together and marked down the time, divide the dough into 2 loaves. (Again, be mindful that the bottom of the dough is the right side.) Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and place the pieces right side down.
Shape the pieces by gathering the edges to the center. Flip it over (so the right side is now up) and shape it into a tight ball with both hands.
Place the loaves in dusted bowls, right side down and seam side up to encourage growth. Cover the bowls.
Let the loaves rise for 2 hours at room temperature. Then, move the bowls to the refrigerator for 18 hours. (You can do a minimum of 8 hours, but 18 is optimal.)
Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Put a dutch oven with lid in the oven while it is preheating. (The lid should not be on the dutch oven.) Once the oven reaches 380 degrees, wait another 15 minutes before baking. Bake the loaves cold for best result, i.e., straight out of the refrigerator. Just before baking, score the dough and sift flour on it.
Bake at 380 degrees for 40 minutes. Then, remove the lid. Bake for another 15 minutes. The bread is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 209 degrees.
Remove the bread to a cooling rack. Let the bread cool 1 hour before serving.