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Dark Chocolate Sourdough Bread Recipe

This chocolate sourdough bread is SO fun to make, and an unexpected twist on sourdough bread! Combining two of the best things – sourdough and chocolate – you really can’t go wrong. 

pinterest graphic for chocolate sourdough bread

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Chocolate sourdough bread – can you think of a better combo?? A classic sourdough boule is a rustic and delicious treat, but adding chocolate.. I mean, come on. This tasty chocolate bread is light and chewy, subtly sweet, and full of rich cocoa flavor. 

This chocolate sourdough bread recipe is a new favorite at our house! I had plenty of eager taste testers while I was working on this recipe. I love this bread because the kids feel like they’re getting a delicious chocolate treat, but it’s only lightly sweetened with a little bit of honey. This unique chocolate sourdough loaf is full of chocolate chips, which is so unexpected in a loaf of dutch oven sourdough bread. But it’s so good! It is tasty toasted with peanut butter, salty butter, or homemade strawberry cream cheese. 

beautiful loaf of chocolate sourdough bread sitting on a wooden cutting board

how to make chocolate sourdough bread

ingredients

Active, bubbly sourdough starter: Before you plan to bake sourdough bread, feed your sourdough starter a 1:1:1 ratio. This means equal parts starter, flour and water. When your starter has doubled (or tripled) in size and is very bubbly, it is ready to bake delicious sourdough.

Flour: For best results, use a combination of organic unbleached all purpose flour, bread flour and freshly milled or whole wheat flour

Cocoa powder: A dark, dutch process cocoa gives a rich chocolate flavor

Honey: Adds a subtle sweetness without using refined sugar

Filtered water: I use water filtered by our Berkey. Room temperature or warm water work best.

Sea salt: a high quality salt like Redmond Real Salt

Chocolate chips: Dark chocolate chips or milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, depending on the flavor you prefer

equipment

​how to make chocolate sourdough bread: at a glance

Mix the dough. First, combine the flour and water to allow the flour to absorb the moisture. Then, add active sourdough starter, cocoa powder, honey and salt to form a sticky ball. Knead for 5-10 minutes to fully incorporate the ingredients and begin to work the gluten.

Bulk ferment. This is an extended period of time that will allow the dough the first rise. During the first two hours of the bulk ferment, you will perform sets of coil folds which will give the dough strength and elasticity. On the last coil fold, add chocolate chips.

Shape & rest. This is the end of the bulk ferment. You will shape the dough, let the dough rest, and then shape it again.

Cold proofing the dough. This is when you refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours, ideally. The easiest time to do this is overnight.

Scoring & baking the dough. After the dough has cold proofed, it is time to bake! The next morning, turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper, score it, and bake it in a preheated dutch oven.

recipe tips and notes

​Use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients. A digital scale is so helpful in sourdough baking. 

Chocolate sourdough bread dough is stiff. The cocoa powder gives the bread dough a tighter texture than regular sourdough bread dough. This could cause the dough to tear when doing coil folds, but that’s ok. It will still turn out just fine.

Because this is a stiff dough, it is best to cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel while it’s rising so it doesn’t dry out. This loaf doesn’t have as much moisture to rehydrate the top if it develops a crust from getting too dry.

​Make sure you are using a mature and active sourdough starter at peak strength. A sluggish sourdough starter will not give this dough the rise it needs to make it nice and fluffy.

Bake the bread in a dutch oven. Steam is a necessary component to get that oven spring and crusty exterior. Baking the bread in something with a lid is the best way to achieve that. 

slices of chocolate sourdough bread with chocolate chips in it

step by step instructions to make chocolate sourdough bread

Mix the Dough

1. Combine flours and water in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon or dough whisk until it is thoroughly combined. Let sit for about half an hour so the dry ingredients can absorb the liquid. Then add the active starter, cocoa powder, honey and sea salt. Knead with wet hands about 5-10 minutes until all the ingredients are well combined. It will be a stiff dough.

Bulk Fermentation

2. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. After 30 minutes, begin a series of coil folds. Perform a total of 4 sets of coil folds – one every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours. Coil folds help to develop the gluten in a gentle manner. To coil fold: gently loosen the edges of the dough by pulling it away from the sides of the bowl. Place your fingertips under the dough so you can pick it up in the middle. Folding the dough into thirds, place one side down into the bowl first, and then the other so it folds like a letter. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat – so you perform 2 folds per set. On the last set of coil folds, add the chocolate chips while you gently fold the dough to disperse them evenly.

*I used a combination of dark chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips because it’s what I had on hand. Any chocolate chips work for this recipe. 

3. Cover with a damp tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it has doubled in size. The amount of time the second rise takes will vary depending on the temperature in your kitchen. A warmer environment will cause the dough to rise much faster than a cooler environment.

chocolate sourdough bread dough in a glass bowl with a white towel draped across it

Shape & Rest

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Tuck the edges underneath the dough ball and gently pull and push it away from you to build tension in the loaf. You want it to stick to your work surface just slightly so there is a little resistance there. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. 

5. Then, shape the dough into a loaf. Gently press the bread dough slightly flat without popping all of the bubbles from the fermentation process. Fold in thirds like an envelope, and then gently roll it up so the seam is hidden. Pinch the seam and sides closed. Place the loaf seam side up into a floured banneton basket. 

chocolate sourdough bread dough with chocolate chips in it sitting in a banneton basket

Cold Proofing

6. Cover the banneton basket with plastic wrap, a shower cap, or a plastic bag tied up. You don’t want the dough to dry out in the fridge. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours. 

Scoring

7. The next day, (or whenever you’re ready to bake your bread), preheat the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Place a dutch oven into the oven to preheat as well. Make sure that the cast iron dutch oven has a tight-fitting lid. After 45 minutes to an hour, remove the hot dutch oven. Turn out the loaf of chocolate sourdough bread dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Lightly flour the top of the dough. This will make your scoring pattern stand out more.

8. To score the dough – use a bread lame, a razor blade or a sharp knife to cut at least one deep cut into the loaf of bread. This can be curved or straight. This is called the expansion score. This is where the bread will expand instead of breaking apart in random places all over the top of the dough. Next, if you’d like to, add smaller cuts to make a pattern or design. These cuts are called the decorative score, and should not be as deep. For this loaf, I made two fairly deep cuts in an X shape.

beautiful rustic loaf of chocolate sourdough bread

baking

9. Place the loaf into a hot dutch oven and bake for 20 minutes. This time of baking at high heat will give the loaf a beautiful oven spring. Oven spring is when the dough hits the hot oven and puffs up in size before the crust starts browning. After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 400, remove the lid and bake another 10 minutes. Because of the chocolate, it’s hard to tell when the crust on this loaf has browned, so don’t leave it in more than 10 minutes after turning the heat down.

10. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy this delicious bread with strawberry cream cheese, peanut/almond butter, or butter!

slices of chocolate sourdough bread laying on a white background, half slice with strawberry cream cheese on it and a bowl of strawberry cream cheese with a spoon in it

how to make homemade strawberry cream cheese

  • 8 oz room temperature cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam

Allow the cream cheese to soften by leaving it at room temperature for a couple of hours. Add the soft cream cheese to a small bowl with the strawberry jam and whisk thoroughly until it is completely mixed together and there are no lumps.

​Enjoy this homemade strawberry cream cheese on chocolate sourdough bread!

close up of a slice of chocolat sourdough bread with strawberry cream cheese on it

​sample baker’s schedule

Day 1:

Evening – Remove sourdough starter from the fridge and feed it 1 part flour and 1 part water, by weight. Leave at room temperature overnight. (Skip this step if your starter is already room temperature.)

Day 2:

8:00 AM – Discard some of the sourdough starter from the night before and feed the remaining starter, 1 part flour and 1 part water, by weight. 

12:00 PM – Mix flour and water.

12:30 PM – Add active sourdough starter, cocoa powder, honey and salt and knead by hand for 5-10 minutes.

1:30 – 3:00 PM – Coil fold the dough every 30ish minutes. Total of 4 coil folds. Add chocolate chips on the last set of folds.

6:00-8:00 PM – Turn the dough out. Form a ball and gently push it away and pull it toward you, building tension. Let rest 15 minutes, then shape the loaf. Place in a banneton basket and cover. Refrigerate overnight. 

(The timing of this step depends on the temperature of your kitchen, a warmer kitchen means your dough will double in size sooner and be ready for this step earlier than a cooler kitchen.) 

Day 3:

Anytime – Preheat a dutch oven in 450 degree oven. Score and bake the bread. Let cool before slicing. 

try these other sourdough favorites!

recipe card for chocolate sourdough bread

Chocolate Sourdough Bread

Chocolate Sourdough Bread

Yield: 1 loaf chocolate sourdough bread
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour

This tasty chocolate sourdough bread is light and chewy, subtly sweet, and full of rich cocoa flavor. Dotted with chocolate chips - it's so good!

Ingredients

Chocolate Sourdough Bread

  • 275 grams organic, all purpose flour
  • 125 grams bread flour
  • 125 grams freshly milled or whole wheat flour
  • 350 grams filtered water
  • 125 grams active sourdough starter, at peak strength
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 40 grams honey
  • 12 grams salt

Homemade Strawberry Cream Cheese

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam

Instructions

  1. Combine flour and water in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon or dough whisk until it is thoroughly combined. Let sit for about half an hour so the dry ingredients can absorb the liquid. Then add the active starter, cocoa powder, honey and sea salt. Knead with wet hands about 5-10 minutes until all the ingredients are well combined. It will be a stiff dough.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. After 30 minutes, begin a series of coil folds. Perform a total of 4 sets of coil folds - one every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours. Coil folds help to develop the gluten in a gentle manner. To coil fold: gently loosen the edges of the dough by pulling it away from the sides of the bowl. Place your fingertips under the dough so you can pick it up in the middle. Supporting the middle, allow the dough to fall on either side of your hands. Place one side down into the bowl first, and then the other so it folds like a letter. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat – so you perform 2 coil folds per set. On the last set of coil folds, add the chocolate chips while you gently fold the dough to disperse them evenly.
  3. Cover with a damp tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it has doubled in size. The amount of time the second rise takes will vary depending on the temperature in your kitchen. A warmer environment will cause the dough to rise much faster than a cooler environment.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Tuck the edges underneath the dough ball and gently pull and push it away from you to build tension in the loaf. You want it to stick to your work surface just slightly so there is a little resistance there. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. 
  5. Then, shape the dough into a loaf. Gently press the bread dough slightly flat without popping all of the bubbles from the fermentation process. Fold in thirds like an envelope, and then gently roll it up so the seam is hidden. Pinch the seam and sides closed. Place the loaf seam side up into a floured banneton basket. 
  6. Cover the banneton basket with plastic wrap, a shower cap, or a plastic bag tied up. You don’t want the dough to dry out in the fridge. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours. 
  7. The next day, (or whenever you’re ready to bake your bread), preheat the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Place a dutch oven into the oven to preheat as well. Make sure that the cast iron dutch oven has a tight-fitting lid. After 45 minutes to an hour, remove the hot dutch oven. Turn out the loaf of chocolate sourdough bread dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Lightly flour the top of the dough. This will make your scoring pattern stand out more. Score the dough.
  8. Place the loaf into a hot dutch oven and bake for 20 minutes. This time of baking at high heat will give the loaf a beautiful oven spring. Oven spring is when the dough hits the hot oven and puffs up in size before the crust starts browning. After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 400, remove the lid and bake another 10 minutes. Because of the chocolate, it's hard to tell when the crust on this loaf has browned, so don't leave it in more than 10 minutes after turning the heat down.
  9. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy this delicious bread with strawberry cream cheese, peanut/almond butter, or butter!
  10. To make the strawberry cream cheese, allow the cream cheese to soften by leaving it at room temperature for a couple of hours. Add the soft cream cheese to a small bowl with the strawberry jam and whisk thoroughly until it is completely mixed together and there are no lumps.

Notes

The cocoa powder tightens up the dough, so this is a stiff dough compared to other sourdough loaves.

I used a combination of dark chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips because it's what I had on hand. Any chocolate chips work for this recipe.

pin this recipe for later

pinterest graphic for chocolate sourdough bread

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