My love of baking bread keeps growing everyday, so when a student gave me a copy of the May bread edition of Saveur magazine, I couldn’t wait to dive in and read. I put my son down for his afternoon nap, made a tall glass of ice coffee, and headed outside to sit in the shade and get reading! As a mom of a two-year old there aren’t many moments when you can just sit back and take a bit of time for yourself, but this was going to be my me time. Then my husband came out and sat down in the chair next to me and starting talking about all sorts of things and I realized that reading my article on the country’s top breads wasn’t going to happen. Nothing wrong with that, it isn’t too often that my husband and I get to sit down and talk, so bread would have to wait until another time.
I finally did get to read my bread issue and it has given me some inspiration to try some new things with my breads. This recipe is my own, but inspired from a chocolate bread that was discussed in the magazine. It is from a bakery that is fairly local to me, so I thought it was the best place to start. It is a similar formula to my rustic french bread made with levain, but with more whole wheat flour in it. I will say that my husband was somewhat suspicious of a bread that has chocolate in it, but that isn’t sweet or have a soft crust. He came around though in the end.
This bread turned out pretty amazing on the first try, which rarely happens when I am creating a brand new recipe, but we all get lucky sometimes. The only thing I would really change from the first attempt is to add more chocolate. I only put about 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate in the loaf and I think you can basically double that. The crust of this bread is darkly colored and thick with a great chew to it, but the crumb has beautiful irregular holes in it with chunks of chocolate spread throughout. I had a slice while it was still rather warm and I kept toasting the leftovers and slathering them with butter. I found that it was a nice balance between the sweet chocolate and the bread that has just a hint of tang from the use of a sourdough. I hope you enjoy it too!
- 260 gram (9.2 oz) mature (has been fed with the last 8-16 hours) 100% hydration sourdough (if you don’t have a sourdough culture already going, you can read my formula on creating your own levain here)
- 300 grams (10.6 oz) warm water (about 90-100 degrees)
- 350 grams (12.35 oz) unbleached bread flour
- 110 grams (3.9 oz) whole wheat flour
- 30 grams (1 oz) whole rye flour
- 13 grams (.45 oz) salt
- 170 grams (6 oz) high quality bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- I always feed my sourdough about 8-12 hours before I plan I using it. So I would recommend feeding your sourdough before you go to bed then it will be ready to bake with the next morning.
- Combine your mature sourdough and water together in a large mixing bowl. Stir together just enough to break up any large clumps of sourdough. Add in your bread, wheat and rye flours along with the salt. Stir the dough together until no large bits of flour are visible. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to autolyze or rest for 30 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a counter that has only a very light dusting of flour or preferably none at all. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes by hand until the dough tightens up and smooths out a bit. Place the dough back into the bowl and allow it to rest for another 15 minutes, covered up with the plastic wrap.
- Turn the dough back out onto the counter and knead for 2 more minutes. The dough will be quite smooth and will pass a medium windowpane test (it will get pretty thin when you pull it, but will tear).
- Give the dough two business letter turns, one after 15 minutes of rising, and again after 30 minutes of rising. This will develop the gluten in the dough further and will add more air to the dough which will help with those great open air pockets throughout the crumb. Allow the dough to rise at around 75 degrees for 3-4 hours. The time will depend greatly on the temperature of where the dough is rising and how active your sourdough starter is.
- When your dough has almost doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Gently press it out into an oval shape. Press half of your chocolate chunks into the dough and roll it up into a log. Then press the second half of chocolate chunks into the log and roll it up again. Then shape the log into a boule or round, being careful not to have the chocolate escape. Place the dough into a well floured dough rising basket, seam side up. Cover the basket with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow the boule to rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until it has swelled considerably and if you poke it with your finger the indentation will remain. If it springs back quickly allow the dough to keep rising and recheck every 15 or 20 minutes.
- About an hour before you plan on baking, preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone placed on the middle rack and a cast iron skillet placed on the bottom rack.
- Turn your dough out onto a well floured baking peel and score the top of your loaf. Quickly slide the loaf off of the peel and directly onto the baking stone. Carefully pour a 1/2 cup of warm water into the skillet below and quickly shut the door. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 450 and bake for another 25 minutes. Then turn off the oven and keep the loaf in for another 10-15 minutes. Remove the loaf to a wire rack and allow the loaf to cool almost completely before slicing.
This recipe was submitted to yeastspotting.