The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Merlot Cocoa Rouge Sourdough with Havarti Cheese

isand66's picture

Merlot Cocoa Rouge Sourdough with Havarti Cheese

Last weekend I baked a multi-grain bread using white wine with sweet potatoes which came out as good as I could have expected.  This time I wanted to try using a red wine and what goes better with red wine but chocolate and cheese.  I used a cocoa rouge which is a special type of cocoa that has an intense bittersweet character with a rich deep red color and fudge-like flavor.

In my last bake with the white wine you did not really taste the wine due to the fact that i used so many different multi-grains so I wanted to make sure to keep this one a little simpler.  I two of my favorite flours, durum and white spelt added with some European style flour from KAF and some potato flour.

I also tried to make one loaf using a new cat cookie cutter I just bought, but that was probably a mistake.  The cookie cutter ended up leaving too much of an escape hatch for the cheese which ended up splattering all over the front of the bread.  I guess that's not the worse thing that could have happened.

The end result was a nice flavorful dark and rich bread with the added flavor of the Havarti cheese to put it over the top.  The crumb was nice and open and flavorful with a nice chew.

I used a Merlot from another local winery called Duckwalk on the east end of Long Island.

Directions follow below.

AP Starter

227 grams AP Flour

71 grams AP Seed Starter

151 grams Water at Room Temperature (80-90 degrees F.)

Mix ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 8 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed.  You can either mix in final dough or put in refrigerator for at most 1 day before using.  If your kitchen is warmer than mine which is usually about 70-72 degrees with my air-conditioning you can proceed sooner.

Main Dough Ingredients

425 grams Refreshed AP Starter (65% hydration) from above

103 grams White Spelt (KAF brand)

200 grams Durum Flour (KAF brand)

220 European Style Flour from KAF (can substitute Bread Flour)

50 grams Potato Flour

15 grams Cocoa Rouge (KAF, you can substitute any dark cocoa but use a good quality)

16 grams Sea Salt or Table Salt

410 grams Merlot Wine

26 grams Walnut Oil

Havarti Cheese (sorry but I forgot to measure how much cheese I used.  I believe it was probably about 10 ounces)


Mix the flours with the wine leaving 50 grams of wine for later in your mixer or by hand for 1 minute.    Let the dough autolyse for one hour in your bowl and make sure to cover it.  Next add in the salt and the starter with the balance of the wine and mix by hand for 2 minutes until everything is well incorporated.  Mix on speed #1 for 2 minutes and speed #2 for 2 minutes or by hand for 5 minutes.

Next take the dough out of the bowl and place it on your work surface.  Do a stretch and fold and rest the dough uncovered for 10 minutes.  After the rest do another stretch and fold and cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Do one more stretch and fold and put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and let it sit at room temperature covered for 2 hours.  After 2 hours you can put the dough into the refrigerator for 24 hours or up to 2 days before baking.  Feel free to do some additional S & F's if you feel it is necessary.  I baked the bread about 24 hours later.

The next day (or when ready to bake) let the dough sit out at room temperature for  2  hours.

Next, form the dough into your desired shape and put them in floured bannetons, bowls or on a baking sheet and let them rise covered for 2 hours or until they pass the poke test.  If you want to make the pattern on top, press your cookie cutter into the dough and place it good side up in a floured basket to rise.  When ready to bake, score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.

Set your oven for 500 degrees F. at least 30 minutes before ready to bake.  When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees.   The total baking time was around 45 minutes.  When both loaves are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. you can remove them from the oven.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 6 hours or so before eating as desired.

Please visit my other blog at for all of my recipes.

Cosmo resting after a full meal :)


dabrownman's picture

cut down on the number of flours you purposefully limited yourself to 5 different ones this time :-)  When you are used to 8-10 this must have really crimped your style.   The white wine got lost in the last bake's taste profile so you go to a bolder red this time, but no mention as to wether you could taste it as much as you could see it.  No worries!

But then you make up for these small idiosyncrasies, in large margin, by giving us, at no charge whatsoever mind you, a Pre-Halloween Exploding Cheese Boule, that, when cut, is spitting up some Havarti like a really sick kitty or possibly my daughter when she was a baby, still on straight milk and didn't get burped on time.  Shouldn't that cheese be hard once it cools down before being cut?  It's more gooey than a piece of hot pizza!

What is not to like about this bread?  You need to make a video of this!  Pictures just won't do!  We have to make this one - it goes on the bake schedule right after the other stuff gets baked ahead of it.  Just can't figure out what it tastes like.  A white cat stencil with a black outline would be nice for Halloween too.  I've been saving up my 'evil eye' scoring for a bread like this one.

Cosmo looks like he has found a bag he can get into for a quick cat nap after a good feeding.

Nice baking and concoction Ian!

isand66's picture

Thanks DA!  You almost had me choking on a piece of the bread while I was reading your comment!    You can certainly taste the red wine in this one much more than the white.  It's in the background but it adds a nice flavor.  The bread is a little more dense than I would have liked, but tastes real good.  The wine I think did impact the amount this bread expanded in the end, but tastes real good.  I usuallly add the cheese in after the second mix with the preferment, but this time I added it in after it was in the refrigerator before shaping.  I think the cheese didn't get distributed as well this way though.

I hope you give it a try with some of your own twists of course :).

Thanks for the feedback and funny comments.

P.S. we have about 500 cat toys, cat beds, etc. but our cats especially Cosmo love to lay in bags, boxes etc.  We have a box in our bedroom with a rug draped over it that he sleeps on all the time.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I feel a drop in my blood sugar ▼ coming on.   Update later...

The fondue bread looks interesting inspite of the cheese in one spot, wanna slab butter and a thin layer of mustard on it!  The cheese certainly won't fall out, or will it?

edit:  wait a minute... are these both from the same dough?  Man!  - need a second cup of coffee!   

isand66's picture

Thanks Mini....I think ;)

Believe or not they are from the same bake.

This one is real good warmed up or toasted all by itself!



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

sort of had your full moon explode.  Sorry about that, got an idea...  save a little dough on the side when shaping and cut out a dough cookie, paste it on with a dab of water and use some of your cocoa to make a paint to highlight or maybe dust the cat.  (I would love to see the look on Cosmo's face as you do.)  Could work.  As long as the bread tastes good, and it looks tasty, you'll be doing this again.   :) 

isand66's picture

It's funny you mentioned it.  I was actually thinking the same thing!  I guess great minds think alike :).

I will give this a try on one my next bakes.  I have a ton of cookie cutters so this could open up some interesting possibilites.

Thanks for the thought and your advice.  Yes, Cosmo or one of my other cats would not be too happy with being splashed with some flour...but if you left the flour bin open it wouldn't take long before one of them stuck their little faces inside!