After mastering the art of a classic white sourdough boule or baton, I wanted to experiment with my flavours. After discovering quite a few chocolate sourdough recipes online, however with cocoa powder I thought of adding dark chocolate chips. Cranberries add a sweet tartness and the roasted hazelnuts a gorgeous nuttiness. This boule is perfect sliced and toasted for breakfast with melted butter. This recipe is quite approachable for a beginner baker but like all sourdough recipes time consuming and takes about 24 hours from creating the levain to pulling the baked loaves out of the oven.
This is a roll-up of the entire formula for this dough — all of the ingredients you’ll need to make two 900-gram loaves.
811g artisan white bread flour
152g whole wheat bread flour
51g dark rye flour
18g fine sea salt
38g mature, 100% hydration sourdough starter
70g hazelnuts, roasted, de-skinned and chopped roughly. (If you roast for 10 mins on 180 and leave to cool the skins will peel off naturally.)
50g dark chocolate chips
50g dried cranberries, chopped
1. Levain – 8:00 AM
A 'levain' is composed of a ratio of bacteria and yeast and is essentially flour that has been pre-fermented. Not only does it add flavor complexity to the dough, but it also is the primary agent responsible for making it rise. The levain is made ahead of time and given time to ferment before mixing the main dough.
38g mature sourdough starter (100% hydration)
38g whole wheat bread flour
38g artisan white bread flour
Mix together everything called for in the table above in a clean jar in the morning and store somewhere around ambient for 5-6 hours. Keep an eye on how your levain is progressing during this time. When it’s ready to be used it will be expanded, bubbly on top and at the sides, and smell almost a little sour. If you find the levain hasn't risen or appear bubbly (perhaps your kitchen is cooler) leave longer for this step and adjust timings accordingly as per this schedule.
2. Autolyse – 12:00 PM
773g artisan white bread flour
114g whole wheat bread flour
51g dark rye Flour
603g water (this has 50g less than the overall formula, reserved for Mix step below)
Using your hands, mix all the flour and the water (reserve 50g water for later) called for in the “Dough Mix” section above in a bowl until all dry bits are hydrated. Cover the bowl and store somewhere warm (near your levain is convenient) for 1 hour. Note that this autolyse stage does not incorporate or use salt or the levain build in any way, they are two separate entities at this point that will be mixed together later in the process. If your dough is very wet and shaggy, don't fear keep mixing (to avoid a puddle at the bottom of the bowl) and then have faith that when you leave the mix aside it will gradually absorb the liquid.
3. Mix – 1:00 PM
50g reserved water (this water was held back in the Autolyse step)
18g fine sea salt
184g mature, 100% hydration levain (from Levain stage, above)
At this point your autolyse is complete and your levain is ready. If your dough is feeling very, very wet and shaggy still, do not use all of the reserved 50g of water, just use a splash to help incorporate the salt and levain. If the dough feels good to you, use all the reserved water.
Add the ingredients in the table above (salt, reserved water, and levain) to your flour and water mixed in the Autolyse step. I like to spread everything on top of dough resting in the bowl and use my hand to pinch all the ingredients together. Transfer dough to a tub or thick-walled bowl for bulk fermentation.
4. Bulk fermentation – 1:10-5:10 PM
At an ambient temperature bulk fermentation should go for about 4 hours. Perform 4 sets of stretch and folds during bulk fermentation, spaced out by 30 minutes.
Each set consists of 4 folds, one at the North, South, East and West sides. Wet your hands with a little water to prevent sticking and then lift up one side (North) of the dough with two hands. Stretch the dough up high enough just so that you can fold it completely over to the other side of the dough in the bowl. Rotate the bowl 180° and do the other side (South). Finish the other two sides (East and West) to complete the set. Let the dough rest 30 minutes, covered, between sets. Watch this video which demonstrates the folding method if you're struggling to visualise.
After the second set of stretch and folds, mix in the chocolate chips, cranberries and hazelnuts. After the final fourth stretch let the dough rest the remainder of bulk fermentation. At the end of bulk fermentation your dough should have risen anywhere between 20% and 50%, should show some bubbles on top.
5. Divide and pre-shape – 5:15 PM
Lightly flour your work surface and dump out the dough. With your bench knife in one hand divide the dough into two halves. Lightly flour your other hand and using both the knife and your hand turn each half of dough on the counter while lightly pulling the dough towards you. This gentle turning and pulling motion will develop tension on the top of the dough forming a round circle. Let the dough rest for 25 minutes, uncovered.
6. Shape – 5:35 PM
If you’re new to shaping bread dough, have a look at this video for a how-to. After shaping, let the dough rest on the bench for a few minutes and then place seam-side-up into a towel-lined kitchen bowl or your banneton, lightly dusted with white rice flour to prevent sticking.
7. Rest and proof – 5:40 PM - 9:30 AM (next day)
To prevent your dough from drying out overnight, place your bowls/bannetons containing your shaped dough in plastic bags sealed shut with a rubber ban or clippet. Puff up the plastic bag around the bowl by opening it wide and then quickly closing the opening.
Once covered, let the dough rest on the counter for 20 minutes. Then, place in the fridge for 16 hours. I find proving overnight in the fridge results in an excellent crumb and wonderful crust.
8. Bake – Next Morning: Preheat oven at 8:30 AM, Bake at 9:30 AM
Preheat your Dutch oven/casserol dish (with lid such as a le creuset) inside your oven for 1 hour at 232°C.
When you’re done preheating, take one of your plastic bag-wrapped loaves out of the fridge and unwrap it. Cut a piece of baking parchment paper so it fits over the top of your basket and place on a thin chopping board. Invert the peel and baking parchment paper so they are resting on top of your basket containing your dough. Then flip the whole thing over. Remove the basket and your dough should be resting on the parchment. Cover loaves fully with a dusting of flour and then score these loaves at a 90° angle with a dough lame. between the razor blade and dough.
Once the oven and Dutch oven is heated, remove from the oven. Remove lid and gently place the loaf inside (using the edges of the parchment to move the dough). You should hear a hiss as the dough lands on the hot surface (this is great for making the bread rise). Place the lid gently on top and return to the oven, bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the Dutch oven lid and continue baking for a further 30 minutes. Keep an eye on your bread for the last 5-10 minutes so the crust doesn't catch.
When done, carefully use your oven mitt to remove the bread from the Dutch oven (grab a corner of the parchment paper and drag the cooked bread out of the cooker) and cool on a wire rack. Place the Dutch oven back in the oven and let it heat back up for at least 20 minutes. Repeat for the second loaf.
Wait for at least 2-3 hours before slicing, the bread will take a long time to cool (this is hard I know). Enjoy your beautifully baked boules.