The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cherry and Chocolate Sourdough Boule

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

Cherry and Chocolate Sourdough Boule

My first blog post here.  :)

This loaf is a modification of the Tartine bakery formula and method.  I wish I could figure out a way to prevent solids added to the dough from popping out after shaping.  The cherries on the surface charred a bit much but the rest of the bread is so nice that I can overlook that fault.  Lovely untoasted with butter.

Cherry and Chocolate Sourdough Boule 


100 g. leaven

375 g. water

500 g. unbleached organic white flour

10 g. sea salt

100 g. dried Montmorency cherries

50 g. dark chocolate, broken in pieces


Mix 100% hydration starter with equal amounts of water and flour to yield enough for 100 g. of leaven plus extra if needed to store (i.e. 40 g. starter, 40 g. water, 40 g. flour).  Allow to rise to peak.  Mix 100 g. leaven with 350 g. water, add flour, and mix with hands.  Autolyse for 45 minutes.  Add remaining 25 g. water and salt.  Mix with hands.  Fold in chocolate and cherries.  Do stretch and folds in bowl every 30 minutes for 2 1/2 hours.  Pre-shape and rest for 20 minutes.  Shape and put in floured banetton.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pre-heat dutch oven at 550F.  Place boule in dutch oven and slash.  Reduce oven temperature to 450F and bake covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for 25 minutes.

 Crumb shot:




Bashert's picture

I'm a new poster, too... welcome! Your bread looks great! I have been wanting to try a bread with chocolate...

Darwin's picture

I like it, congratulations & welcome. 

CAphyl's picture

Looks wonderful.  Would like to try this recipe.  Thanks. 

Floydm's picture

Beautiful loaf and great post.  Welcome!

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

Thanks for the welcoming messages and compliments.  Much appreciated.  :)

Skibum's picture

I LOVE IT! I also must try it and my to bake list is beginning to get out of hand. Welcome! Brian

isand66's picture

Very nice looking bake.  Welcome aboard!

breadbythecreek's picture

Add cocoa to the dough.  Amazing toasted with vanilla icecream.  here's details if you want to try it.

Chocolate Cherry Loaf1st Starter Build

15g, Hungry starter 100% Hydration, 6%
30g Bread flour, 11%
23g Water, 9%

2nd Levain Build

68g Hungry starter (from above), 25%
68g Bread flour, 25%
51g Water, 19%

Final Dough

187g Well Fed Starter (2 hours old, from above), 69%
162g Bread flour, 60%
108g Water, 40%
25g Cocoa Powder, 9%
22g Honey or Agave Nectar, 8%
1/2 Vanilla pod seeds only
5g salt, 9%
36g Chocolate, chunks ¼ inch, 13%
36g Dried sour cherries, 13%

I took my cues from Shiao-Ping’s Chocolate Sourdough at the fresh loaf,, but altered both her recipe and technique just a bit.

For the chocolate loaf, I took 15 grams of hungry starter and fed it 30g bread flour and 23g water (about 75% hydration except my hungry starter was at 100%. This was stirred up and placed covered in the cooler (54*F) overnight.

The next morning, around 7AM, a dab of starter was floating happily in the glass, I added 68g bread flour and 51g water. Stirring, covered and let rest for two hours at room temperature until the float test was passed.

Here, I opted to combine the starter (all 187g of it) with 162g bread flour and 108g water. I added the water first to the starter and made sure it was all but dissolved before I added the bread flour. This was mixed by hand and left to rest for ½ hour. In the meantime I stirred together 25g Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, 22g agave nectar (I didn’t have any honey), the seeds from ½ of a vanilla bean pod and 5 grams of salt.

 For the chocolate loaf after the ½ hour rest, I took the cocoa mixture and blended that into the dough. Since this was a fairly stiff 75% dough, it was a job, and since I was using the special dark cocoa it was a messy job at that. Squeezing, kneading, folding, cursing, and finally adding another splash of water, we got ‘er done and very little if any of the original white dough was visible. It was interesting how plastic the cocoa powder made the dough feel – must be the cocoa butter that changes the texture. I gave it its first fold and into the bowl, always seam side up, covered and rested for ½ hour. This marks the beginning of the bulk fermentation stage, lasting a total of four hours. (9:35AM – 1:35PM)

On the countertop, I spread in about a 12X12 square a mixture of 18g  semi sweet chocolate chunks and 18g  dried sour cherries. This was topped with the dough stretched out to about ¼ inch. On top of this, an equal amount of the chocolate cherry mix was spread evenly on top. Pressing down to make everything stick, and then folding up like a letter, and then a square and back into the bowl. Covered and rested for 45 minutes. 

Do a stretch and fold in the bowl (10-15 times) so that all of the dough is fully stretched and folded back onto itself. Cover and rest 45 minutes, repeat again. Then rest undisturbed for two hours.

Preshaping.  We are working with a single loaf. Dump each out of the bowl onto an unfloured counter so that the bottoms of the dough are facing up. Flour the surface lightly, then turn them over. Pinch the unfloured sides together in rough round. Flip over, flour side up and rotate on the counter with both hands and a little downward pressure to tighten into boule shape. Let rest 20 minutes right on the counter before final shaping. Cover with the upended bowl.

Final shaping
Lightly pat round lightly out into rectangular shape. Fold the bottom thirds towards the center. Stretch the right side out as far as it will without tearing and fold to center. Repeat same on left side and top side. Take the bottom third again and fold it down so that it completely meets the counter surface. Pinch to close and gently round into boule shape. Place seam side up in banneton lined with a linen napkin well rubbed with rice flour.  Cover with plastic wrap (I use a standard hotel-issue shower cap). Leave shaped loaves out on the counter for 2 hours. After two hours, I placed it in a big ziplock, banneton and all, in the refrigerator (40*F) for overnight. 

The following morning,  preheat the oven and the mini combo cooker to just 380*F. When it was up to temperature, I took the banneton out of the fridge, where it was not at all more risen than when I left it, and I dumped it onto a square of parchment. Scoring was way easy with this cold of a loaf, and into the hot combo-cooker. Covered and placed into the 380*F oven. After 15 minutes I took the top off the cooker. After another 10 minutes, I checked on it, it was a almost completely round, sphere – wonderful bubbly cherry chocolate juices oozing.. After a full hour it was finally at 207*F and done. Well worth the wait.




Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

Thanks so much for sharing this with me.  Your loaf looks fantastic and I can imagine it tastes great.  I have more of the dried tart cherries so I shall have to try this.  :)  

I'm glad you linked to Shiao-Ping's post which I hadn't seen before.  I'm pretty much a novice so there is a lot for me to learn by reading the details in her post as well as yours.  

isand66's picture

This looks fantastic and must have tasted great.  I can imagine it would make some great French Toast.

I love to use cherries in my breads as well.  Check out one of my favorites on my blog

Let me know what you think.

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

That looks fab.  I think I'll borrow your idea of using the cherry iced tea (if I can find it locally) for my next cherry loaf.  I'll also try your method of adding the cherries after the stretch & folds and using an extended bulk ferment in fridge rather than retarding the already shapes loaf.  Thanks for sharing your post.  :)

isand66's picture

You are most welcome.  Look forward to seeing what you come up with.


dabrownman's picture

Tartine'  Don't worry about the cherries popping out.  It makes the outside of the bread look fantastic and doesn;t hurt the inside one bit.  Has to taste great.  Very well done and welcome!

Happy Baking

Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

Thanks for the reassurance.  I'm glad to know that the loaf still looks good even with the charred cherries.

ElPanadero's picture

looking loaf.  Looks very tasty indeed.  I love the fact that it looks reminiscent of a tennis ball !  Well done.

Janetcook's picture

Aaaah - a Shaio Ping loaf.  I have baked hers too but not with the cherries added.  Now I have another ingredient I can add when it comes up on my 'to bake' list again.

Lovely bread and photographs.

Thanks for posting.


Julie McLeod's picture
Julie McLeod

This has got to be one of the nicest and most supportive forums around.  Thank you all for the kind comments!

breadsong's picture

Hi Julie,
I love your bread, and your photography!
:^) breadsong