How to Make Sweet + Delicious Chocolate Sourdough Bread

There’s sourdough bread. There’s chocolate chips. They’re great on their own, but probably shouldn’t be combined. Right? Wrong. This chocolate sourdough bread is a shockingly delicious combination.

Like all sourdough bread recipes, you’ll need plenty of time to let this rise, and you can’t rush it. But if you’re familiar with the basics, this will be easy,

A loaf of chocolate sourdough bread with a crusty exterior, chocolate chips peeking through, and a floured surface, displayed on a wooden cutting board.

Chocolate Sourdough Bread

This bread combines the rich flavors of cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate chips for a decadent twist on a classic loaf.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Rise Time 20 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 21 hours
Serving Size 12 servings

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup active and bubbly sourdough starter
  • 1 ½ cup water warmed to 90 degrees F
  • 3 cups + 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder can sub with 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions 

  • Prep Starter. The night before, feed your sourdough starter so you have 100 grams of active and bubbly starter the next day. (my favorite combination is 40 grams of unbleached all-purpose flour, 30 grams of filtered water, and 30 grams of sourdough starter)
    A large glass bowl with a mixed dough of sourdough starter, water, and flour.
  • Autolyze. In a large bowl add the sourdough starter and water. Stir to combine. Next, add the all-purpose flour, stir to combine, and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
    Side-by-side images showing a bowl with sourdough starter on the left and a bowl with starter and water mixed together on the right.
  • Mix the remaining dry ingredients separately. In a small bowl add the whole wheat flour, salt, sugar, vanilla bean powder, and cocoa powder. Stir until fully combined.
    Side-by-side images showing a bowl with wet dough and dry cocoa mixture on the left, and the fully mixed chocolate dough on the right.
  • Add dry ingredients to the dough. Add the cocoa powder mixture to the flour/water/sourdough mixture. Using a spatula try to incorporate everything together. Once it gets too hard to use the spatula, turn the mixture out onto a clean dry surface. Knead the dough so everything has been incorporated.
    Side-by-side images showing a bowl with dry ingredients, including cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla bean powder on the left, and the same bowl with the ingredients fully mixed on the right.
  • Rest. Cover the bowl and allow it to sit covered for 30 minutes.
  • Stretch and fold. Next start the stretch and folds. Wet your hands with warm water, pick up one side of the dough, stretch, and fold the dough over. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times. Flip the dough over. Cover the dough and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Repeat the stretch and fold 2 more times. *This dough is a dryer dough so it may not stretch out too far and that is okay. The stretch and folds help strengthen the dough.*
    Side-by-side images showing the chocolate dough being stretched on the left, and the same dough formed into a ball on the right.
  • First rise (Bulk Fermentatiion). After the last stretch and fold session, cover the dough and allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 6-8 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Add chocolate chips. Turn the dough out onto a clean dry surface.Fold the chocolate chips into the dough by adding about a 3rd of the chocolate chips, gently fold the dough, add another third, gently fold the dough, and add the last bit of chocolate chips, and gently fold the dough. **Try to avoid pressing too hard when folding so you don’t remove all of the air inside the dough.
    Side-by-side images showing the process of adding chocolate chips to the chocolate dough, with chocolate chips sprinkled on the dough and the dough folded over to incorporate them.
  • Second rise. Shape the dough into a round shape so it fits nicely in your banneton. Transfer the dough to a well-floured banneton and cover with plastic. Place it in the fridge for 10-12 hours (overnight is best)
    Side-by-side images showing the chocolate dough before and after the first rise in a glass bowl.
  • Preheat oven. Preheat the Dutch oven to 425 degrees F for a minimum of 30 minutes. (This helps make sure that the Dutch oven is at temperature)
    The chocolate dough shaped into a ball and placed in a floured banneton for the second rise.
  • Prep loaf. Take the dough out of the fridge and turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or a silicone bread mat.Using a bread razor, score the dough down the center, shift the dough 90 degrees and score the dough again making a + sign or an X.
    Side-by-side images showing the scored chocolate dough on a silicone mat on the left, and the dough placed in a preheated Dutch oven on the right.
  • Bake, removing the lid partway. Transfer the dough to the hot Dutch oven. Cover and bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and reduce the heat of the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for another 20 minutes.
    The baked chocolate sourdough bread with a crusty exterior and chocolate chips visible, cooling in a Dutch oven.
  • Cool and Slice. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a wire cooling rack. Allow the bread to cool completely (at least 1 hour) before cutting into it.
    A close-up of a sliced loaf of chocolate sourdough bread showing a rich, dark, chocolatey interior with pockets of melted chocolate.

Notes

This whole recipe was made by using a digital scale and I recommend you do the same.
To speed this recipe up you can add 1 teaspoon of instant yeast and reduce the rise time to 6 hours total.
Keeping the dough in a warm place will help speed up the bulk rise.
I used cacao powder and cocoa powder can be used without any adjustments.
You can substitute the vanilla bean powder for vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. The vanilla bean paste is substituted at a 1:1 ratio and the vanilla extract needs to be doubled.
Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 343mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 3mg

I love chocolate. A lot. But what I really love is a piece of chocolatey bread, spread with super soft butter. Sourdough bread? Even better. And it makes for sure, the best French toast ever. I think you’re going to love this one!

A slice of chocolate sourdough bread spread with creamy butter, showing a bite taken out.

Trust me, once you try it, you’ll be baking it again and again!

Tips for The Best Chocolate Sourdough Bread

  • Use a Digital Scale: Accurate measurements are key for this recipe. Using a digital scale ensures you get the right proportions of ingredients.
  • Warm Spot for Rising: If your kitchen is cool, place the dough in a warm spot, like an oven with just the light on, to help it rise better.
  • Check Your Starter: Make sure your sourdough starter is active and bubbly before you begin. Feed it the night before to ensure it’s ready.
  • Fold, Don’t Knead: When incorporating the chocolate chips, fold them gently to avoid deflating the dough.
  • Preheat Thoroughly: Ensure your Dutch oven is fully preheated to 425°F for at least 30 minutes to get that perfect crust.

Key Ingredients and Tools

To make this bread, you’ll need a few special tools and ingredients. Here are some important ones to help you get started:

Ingredients for chocolate sourdough bread laid out on a marble countertop.
  • Active and bubbly sourdough starter. This is crucial for the dough to rise properly and develop the characteristic sourdough flavor. Make sure it’s well-fed and active.
  • Vanilla bean powder. This adds a subtle, rich vanilla flavor. If you don’t have it, you can substitute with vanilla extract, but double the amount.
  • Cocoa powder. Use good-quality cocoa powder for the best flavor. You can find it in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips. These add delicious pockets of melty chocolate throughout the bread. Opt for high-quality chocolate chips for a better taste.
  • Dutch oven. Preheating this heavy pot helps create a perfect crust by trapping steam. If you don’t have one, you can use a baking sheet with a shallow pan of water for steam.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with fresh berries, whipped cream, Nutella, mascarpone cheese, hot coffee, or tea.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I use regular chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet?

Absolutely! You can use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or even a mix of both. Just keep in mind that the sweetness level will change a bit.

What if my dough doesn’t rise much during the first rise?

Don’t worry too much. Sourdough can be finicky sometimes. If it hasn’t doubled in size, give it a little more time in a warm spot. If it still doesn’t rise, make sure your starter is active and bubbly next time.

Do I need a Dutch oven to bake this bread?

A Dutch oven helps create a great crust, but if you don’t have one, you can use a baking sheet. Just add a pan of water to the oven to create steam.

How do I know if my sourdough starter is ready to use?

Your starter should be bubbly and active. A good test is to drop a small spoonful into a glass of water. If it floats, it’s ready to go!

Can I make this bread without letting it rise overnight?

Yes, you can speed up the process by adding a teaspoon of instant yeast. This can reduce the rise time to around 6 hours in total.

Storing Leftovers

To store your bread, follow these steps:

Room Temperature Storage: Wrap the bread in a clean kitchen towel or place it in a paper bag. Keep it at room temperature. This will help maintain the crust’s texture. Avoid using plastic bags as they can make the crust soft.

Freezing: If you want to store the bread for a longer period, you can freeze it. Here’s how:

  • Let the bread cool completely.
  • Slice the bread into individual pieces.
  • Wrap each slice in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  • Place the wrapped slices in a freezer-safe bag or container.
  • Label the bag with the date.

Thawing: To thaw, remove the desired number of slices from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for about an hour. You can also reheat the slices in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this as much as I do. It’s a sweet and special recipe that everyone will really and truly love. Enjoy!

Sliced chocolate sourdough bread showing a moist, chocolatey interior with melted chocolate chips throughout.
How to Make Sweet + Delicious  Chocolate Sourdough Bread
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