Week 105: Chocolate Sourdough

This decadent loaf is reminiscent of Cadbury’s popular Fruit & Nut chocolate bar. It’s got a soft, chewy crumb, a sturdy, crisp crust and is loaded with raisins, almonds and chocolate chips. I’ve adopted it from the Chocolate Sourdough Noir I found on Emilie Raffa’s website, The Clever Carrot. The website and her book, Artisan Sourdough Made Simple, are highly recommended for anyone with even just a passing interest in sourdough.

As with most sourdoughs, you have to feed your starter the night before, and it’s best if you use a Dutch oven, or some similar heavy-duty pot with a lid.

Step 1: Make dough

  • 500g bread flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 9g salt
  1. In a medium bowl, measure the flour, cocoa powder and salt and whisk to combine. Don’t worry about the lumps of cocoa powder just yet. Set aside.
  • 350g room temperature water
  • 150g active sourdough starter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 4g vanilla extract (that’s about 1 tsp)
  1. Measure the water, starter, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl, then whisk to combine.
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the liquid. If you don’t have a sifter, you can use a mesh-type colander.
  3. Mix together with the handle of a wooden spoon, using wet bits of dough to scrape the dry bits off the sides. It’s a bit of a stiff dough, so kind of hard to mix.
  4. Use your dough/bowl scraper to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then, place the scraper under one edge of the dough, lift it up a bit and then fold it over itself, as you use your other hand to squish any dry spots to ensure they get incorporated.
  5. Cover and set aside to rest for one hour. Meanwhile, prepare the fruit, nuts and chocolate chip mixture.
  • 65g raisins
  • 65g chopped almonds
  • 150g chocolate chips (not chunks, or mini chips)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Measure raisins, nuts, chocolate chips and pinch of salt into a small bowl.
  2. Add extracts, stir to coat, then set aside.
  3. After the dough has rested an hour, fold in the raisin/nut/chocolate mixture.

Step 2: Stretch & Fold kneading and resting

  1. Cover bowl and let rest in a warm place (72 degrees) for 30 minutes.
  2. Next, do a round of 4 stretch and folds (view the Stretch and Fold video under the heading “Kneading During Proofing” on the Video page for a visual). Turn over and tuck in sides.
    • Repeat #1 and #2 three more times for a total of four stretch and folds, and four 30-minute rests.
  3. Cover and let rest until it’s doubled in size and is puffy and wiggles a bit when you shake the bowl. The amount of time this takes is varied, and depends on the temperature of the room, anywhere from 3 (very warm, like summertime without A.C., to10 hours (very cool, like in the kitchen at night without the heater on).

Step 3: Shape dough

  1. View the Shaping a Boule tutorial on the Video page for a visual.
    • Remove dough to a floured countertop.
    • Lift an edge, stretch it out a bit (it’s tighter than most doughs) and fold it in toward the center. Do this all around until all sides have been folder over.
    • Turn over, and cup the dough with your hands and rotate, pushing the the sides down and under a bit to make the surface taut.
    • On a non-floured surface, slide the dough towards you a bit to make the surface taut. Rotate and slide again.
  2. Place dough in a lined and floured basket, seam side up.
  3. Cove and let rise 30 – 60 minutes, until puffy (not doubled). If you want, you can put it in the fridge overnight instead of baking right away.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat over to 450 degrees, with your baking receptacle inside.
  5. Bake 30 minutes at 400 top on, 30 minutes top off, until it reaches 205 degrees.

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