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
- 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)
- Measure the water, starter, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl, then whisk to combine.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the liquid. If you don’t have a sifter, you can use a mesh-type colander.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Measure raisins, nuts, chocolate chips and pinch of salt into a small bowl.
- Add extracts, stir to coat, then set aside.
- After the dough has rested an hour, fold in the raisin/nut/chocolate mixture.
Step 2: Stretch & Fold kneading and resting
- Cover bowl and let rest in a warm place (72 degrees) for 30 minutes.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Place dough in a lined and floured basket, seam side up.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, preheat over to 450 degrees, with your baking receptacle inside.
- Bake 30 minutes at 400 top on, 30 minutes top off, until it reaches 205 degrees.