The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chocolate sourdough bread - happy accident!

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Chocolate sourdough bread - happy accident!

I've been going through a wing-it phase, experimenting with creating sourdough cakes, brownies and other goodies I'd previously only made using more conventional recipes. I wasn't intending to make chocolate sourdough bread at all, but did so on an impulse when one of my wing-it episodes landed me with a bit too much chocolate and walnut cake mixture.

I just chucked in AP flour, a bit more starter, a bit of salt and enough water to give me a dough of the consistency I like. Random enough beginnings, but the happy accident I referred to in the post title came later. I forgot about the bread after the final proof, and left it sitting on the kitchen bench overnight, rather than retarding fermentation in the fridge (which is my usual modus operandi, partly because I like the flavour imparted by the extended fermentation, and partly to suit my baking schedule). 

This long overnight final proof at room temp can work well if the ambient temps are cool, but this was one of the warmer winter nights - around 21C in the kitchen from memory, maybe warmer. Actually, definitely warmer until we went to bed - we had a fire on.

Anyway, when I got up next morning and opened the fridge to find the dough missing, I realised what had happened. On uncovering the dough, I was annoyed to find it puffed up and bloated to an enormous size. It was literally bursting at the seams! When I slashed it prior to loading, it parted extravagantly. Not the worst sign, I noted with faint hope. I was expecting it to deflate like a pierced football bladder.  Sure it was grossly overproofed nevertheless, I decided to go ahead and bake it anyway on the off-chance that it would somehow turn out edible.

Well, bugger me - what a shock! It was the lightest, softest crumbed sourdough bread I have ever baked!! The pics don't show how big and light this baby was per dough weight (considerably less than my usual bake of around 800-1000g), but do give some indication of the airy crumb. There was no sign of overproofing in the finished product!

And the flavour? Mild chocolate with a hint of sour. Would be nice with maraschino cherry jam, I imagine, but we only tried it with strawberry jam (not bad) and marmalade (better - combined well with the orange tang). All in all, though, it was at its best simply spread with butter.

I'm not into novelty breads so won't be repeating this one in a hurry, but would go down well at a kid's birthday party, I suspect - spread with nutella with hundreds-and-thousands? (erk!)

Cheers all
Ross

 

 

 

Comments

Nate Delage's picture
Nate Delage

Amazing how it survived such a long proof outside the oven! That loaf looks great, though I admit it takes a minute to get over the chocolate color. I'd love to give this a shot one day.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Not only did it survive the long proof - it thrived! This really was the lightest, softest crumb I have encountered in any sourdough bread, including the extra-soft heavily kneaded Japanese style of white SD. It beats me - none of the other SD breads I make would have come out of that final proof at those temps without being flat as a tack. Pity the flavour was not to my taste....and I know what you mean about the colour heh heh!

lumos's picture
lumos

Great accidental success!  The crumb looks really nice and yummy. :)   I love discovering un expected great thing by a pure accident, too. (I'm very accident-prone...) 

I also love adding cocoa powder to my sourdough bread.  It gives such a lovely depth to the flavour, though some chocholic people may say it's not chocolatey enough. :p

Since you' ve discovered the wonderful world of cocoa-flavoured sourdough crumb, you can use the experience to explore a lot of variations. Just as one idea, what about this one?

best wishes,

lumos

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

We don't share the same taste for cocoa-enriched SD bread, I'm afraid!

You're quite right about the chocolate flavour being quite mild. My chocolate cake mix is pretty intense, with not only cocoa but also shaved dark chocolate and strong percolated coffee included, and still the chocolate was present in the flavour profile of the bread only as a minor tone. Definitely there, though.

Yes, I like the addition of cranberries to your cocoa-enriched SD - looks nice.  For me, though, chocolate works better in the more overtly sweet baked goodies such as cakes, brownies, cookies etc, rather than bread. That's the lesson I took out of this experiment, other than having it hammered home, once again, that one is never on top of this game. There are always surprises and there is always more to learn. Which is all part of the romance and mystery of bread...and ain't that just wonderful? :)

lumos's picture
lumos

Even if we don't share the taste for cocoa-enriched SD,

There are always surprises and there is always more to learn. Which is all part of the romance and mystery of bread...and ain't that just wonderful? :)

I second that! :)

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I'm stunned you got such a nice, light, open crumb after that many hours of proofing.  I wonder if chocolate slows fermentation.  Nice looking bread.  Please pass the jam.

Glenn

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Not to have with the choc bread, I hasten to add!

Yeah, been wondering what could have been responsible for this bread working so well despite - or maybe because of(!) - that accidentally very long final proof. Chocolate, butter and milk powder were my main suspects. Think sugar sends leavens nuts, too, but you'd imagine that would hasten fermentation, not slow it.

Cheers!
Ross

ww's picture
ww

Which is all part of the romance and mystery of bread...and ain't that just wonderful? :)

Aye Aye!

do you wonder why it was especially soft and fluffy, even more than so than those very heavily kneaded Japanese-style breads? that's interesting. You say you chucked in some of  your choc and walnut cake mix - what exactly was in that? any milk powder or butter? makes you rethink all that heavy kneading.

And i say get you some maraschino cherry jam.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I more than chucked in some of my choc cake mix - I built the bread around it. So, it was a major component, although how major I can't say because I worked by feel without  weighing anything.

The ingredients in the choc cake mix that might have had an influence on the way the bread dough behaved were butter, eggs, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, sugar, full cream milk powder and percolated coffee. I've made plenty of spongy soft-crumbed SD bread using only stretch and folds, and the best crumbs seem to have a lot to do with the dough formula and getting the proof time right. Thus, I'm not sure heavy kneading is necessarily a major factor (although in the Japanese style milk bread, it surely is).  Anyway, any theories on what might have worked so well in extending the fermentation of this bread to produce that stunning crumb most welcome. It sure as hell wasn't the skill of the baker!

I say you're right about getting some maraschino cherry jam!

Cheers!
Ross

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I bet the yeastie beasties and enzyme babes are chocoholic, yep, stark raving mad chocos; meaning, they were savoring every bite and probably slowing down fermentation on purpose.  

Actually 21°C is not that warm and...  

...about the taste, try adding a little more salt to a slice and see if it improves.  I suspect the salt amount might have been too low.  What % did you use?  Bitter chocolate would knock up the salt amount to balance the flavor, very tricky to get "just right."   (Recommend tasting the dough as your elves help you "wing it.")

Mini

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

...but you do jest asking about percentages? There was nothing remotely organised about this bread. Everything was done by feel. I only added a couple of pinches of salt from memory - not much anyway. So you're no doubt right that the flavour would have been improved with more. On that, the flavour was actually pretty OK I think - it just wasn't to my taste. As I said, I reckon chocolate is better suited to baked produce where it can be more intense and upfront as a flavour (cakes, cookies etc). But I do confess I am a chocoholic and therefore crave a big hit of choccy flavour.

Yeah, 21C is not exactly warm, but none of my usual bread doughs would have made it through that long overnight proof at that temp and not been markedly overproofed. I don't think I even baked the choc bread until late morning - it was a Saturday (he added hastily).

Good tip about tasting on the wing.

Cheers!
Ross

ww's picture
ww

in my expeirnece, add-ons like sugar, butter, milk powder, etc actually slow down fermentation, not hasten it. The enriched sourdough breads i've made rose a lot more slowly, but surely. Another example is panettones. The baseline is that the starter must be in the pink of health and active, raring to go so to speak. So the fact that you left it out for the night was actually beneficial. Had it been refrigerated, proofing would not have been as complete. Or so I, with my paltry experience, think ...

What i'm surprised abt is that you only did S&F. I don't have any experience doing S&F only with enriched doughs. One has to work the butter in somehow :) so it has always been moderate to heavy kneading for me. This gives me sth to think abt!

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Yeah, my findings are the same as yours on enriched doughs generally, ww. But while I think it likely that butter and milk (though not milk powder) slow down or maybe even inhibit fermentation (as does cinnamon), my understanding is that sugar does the opposite. Could be wrong on this though. Wouldn't be the first time!

Re S&F: I'd already thoroughly mixed the chocolate cake ingredients before I built the bread around them. The butter, which I had melted, was slowly worked into the cake mix before I began the bread.

When working with other enriched doughs, such as SD panettone, like you I do plenty of initial kneading. However, with spicy fruit loaves and hot cross buns I mix everything in together then only stretch and fold, with no kneading, and the results are excellent. I used to knead, but tried leaving this out of the process without detriment, so I don't bother now. Actually, spicy fruit loaves are the other SD goodies I've been experimenting with. I've developed one such loaf to a stage I'm pretty happy with, and that is EASY, with no kneading other than during the initial mix, and then S&Fs. I'll post a recipe in detail soon.

Cheers!
Ross

 

ww's picture
ww

i remember someone on TFL having an obsession with hot cross buns - was that you? in any case, spicy fruit loaves are always welcome at home. look forward to your recipe! Come to think of it, Dan Lepard does all his mixing by hand in the Handmade (duh ;)) Loaf, using S&Fs, and there are enriched breads in there as well.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

ww, is this the post you were referring to?

SD vs yeasted hot cross buns - this year's winner

I don't think I used the word 'obsession' - but I suspect that cap might fit my bonce (but in the case of HCBs, only during the Easter period...have to add that to avoid being labelled seriously weird).

Had a chuckle at your 'duh' insertion re The Handmade Loaf, mostly because I had to think about it before the reason for the insertion dawned! We don't think alike (think about it).

Cheers
Ross

ww's picture
ww

yes, that's the post :)

i figure we're all a bit obsessed here on TFL, chocolate is another of mine. Like you, i never really wanted to make choc bread because i suspect the choc flavour will be frustratingly mild, and then i'll have to immediately go and eat a bar of chocolate  to make up for it. Unless perhaps, i pair it with griottes, which could make me change my mind. See, we do think alike some :)

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

- yes indeed, ww. Actually, I haven't gone a night without chocolate for many, many months now. Ditto wine (only a couple of glasses with the evening meal, but I suppose the every night part is a bit more than the doc ordered - the misery-guts!). What would life be without vices?

Cheers (raising a glass of red...and OK, dinner's long past)
Ross

ww's picture
ww

i just have to say this. At last! I thought i was the only one with the chocolate 'habit'. hahaha, at last i've found someone else too who has his nightly feed. No one else i know seems to love chocolate - aren't they strange.