This sourdough chocolate bread tastes like a fudgy brownie and cake combined, deliciously moist with depths of chocolate in every bite. The fermentation process gives the bread a great flavor depth heightening the chocolate with the perfect balance of sweet that had my kids devouring it one day, you might want to double the recipe!
This recipe took a few go-rounds, the first time I made, I didn't have the ratio of sourdough starter to flour quite right and it ended up being too gooey in the center… like the loaf fell apart when I removed it from the pan. Don't worry, I ate it with a spoon like a chocolate bread pudding (which definitely is on my list of sourdough recipes to develop), none went to waste!
However, I wanted to create a fully fermented sourdough chocolate bread for all the fabulous health benefits but I didn't want it to taste sour, which can be tricky when doing fully fermented recipes. Especially if you have kids with taste buds on high alert for any sourness, so I kept tweaking this bad boy until we reached as close to perfection as possible.
When I first started with sourdough I had no idea that the WAY I was feeding and maintaining my starter was the reason it was SOOO sour. If you want to create a sourdough starter that isn't too sour (or make one from scratch for the first time) head on over to my free sourdough video series here!
If you're not worried about fully fermenting your recipe, you just want all this delicious in your mouth pronto, then skip the soaking phase and mix ‘er up.
What does Chocolate Sourdough Bread Taste Like?
I know, chocolate sourdough, it seems, well kind of weird, like maybe they shouldn't go together. But oh my friend, sourdough somehow transforms chocolate recipes into a whole nother realm of amazingness.
Even with less sugar than most sweetbreads and semi-sweet chocolate chips, this is a dark chocolate sourdough bread that tastes like a fudgy brownie with the height of quick bread. In other words, more deliciousness in your mouth. If you love chocolate zucchini bread (I used my double chocolate zucchini bread recipe as the base for this one) then you will want to dive taste buds first into this recipe. With pockets of melted chocolate chips, it feels like a sinful dessert. A sinful dessert with only a scant 1/2 cup of sugar for the ENTIRE recipe and no dutch oven needed!
Tips for Making Sourdough Chocolate Bread:
- If you want a fully fermented bread recipe, mix the starter and flour 8 to 12 hours before you want to bake the bread (if you want to bake in the morning, do it the night before, if you want to bake it warm for supper, then mix the starter and flour in the morning). Don't let it form a hard crust. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel to keep the top of the dough from drying out during the bulk ferment.
- Your sourdough starter doesn't have to be in an active state or mature for this bread recipe. You can absolutely use discard (and us sourdough peeps all need more sourdough discard recipes)! If you're not sure what any of those terms mean, go through my FREE sourdough video series here!
- If your batter feels too thick (see the video so you can see what my batter looks like when I pour it into the cast iron loaf pan but think a thick pancake batter, thicker than cake batter) add a small amount of brewed coffee or espresso for extra liquid. You won't taste the coffee but it's your secret weapon to making any chocolate cake or bread taste more chocolatey!
- Want dried cherry chocolate chip bread? Add in 1/2 cup of dried cherries with the chocolate chips
Tools You May Need:
- Danish dough whish (you'll never have a kitchen without one once you use it!)
- Cast Iron loaf pan (you guys, this is the ONLY bread pan you'll ever use, no need to use parchment paper… I need to get a second one because I can't bring myself to use my other metal pans after using cast iron)
- Large mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons
- Grain mill if you're using fresh ground flour (everything you need to know in my guide about grinding your own flour and home milling)
- Silicone spatula
Sourdough Chocolate Bread Ingredients
- Sourdough starter. I keep my sourdough starter at 100% hydration and room temperature for this recipe, which means equal parts flour and water by weight, if your sourdough starter is runny, you will need to adjust and add a bit more flour so it's stiffer. Learn how to make your own sourdough starter from scratch here
- Flour. This recipe is versatile, you can use all-purpose or Spelt. You really don't need bread flour as we're not developing the gluten in this loaf. I used fresh ground Spelt for this bread (which does well when in a pan as Spelt has a tendency to spread out instead of up). Spelt is one of my favorite grains to use as a pastry or cake flour due to it's lower gluten level. Learn how to pick the best flour for recipes here in my Best Flour for Baking- Home Baker’s Flour Guide 101
- Cocoa powder. I user organic raw cocoa powder and buy it in bulk (in case you didn't notice, we're huge chocolate fans on the homestead). Raw cocoa powder is nutrient-dense and non-alkalinized (which means more of the good stuff our bodies need!). I purchase this brand in 5-pound bags, but you can get it in smaller amounts as well.
- Vanilla extract. Such a tiny ingredient but really adds to the flavor of baked goods. I haven't used store-bought vanilla extract in YEARS. It's so simple to make and homemade has so much more flavor. Here's my easy tutorial to make homemade vanilla extract.
- Applesauce. I adore recipes that use my home-canned items. One of the beautiful things about canning your own applesauce is I control the amount of sugar that goes in I rarely add any sugar to my applesauce. The applesauce in this recipe not only adds natural sweetness but also contributes to the moisture of the bread as it bakes. Want to learn how to can? I have a free online canning class here
See the notes section for tips on knowing when your bread is done (we don't want a raw middle or overbaked and dry).
Let me know if you enjoy this recipe for sourdough chocolate bread, it's decadent enough to have as a dessert but we also love it as a quick breakfast!
Sourdough Chocolate Bread From Scratch
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 3/4 cup fresh ground Spelt flour
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup raw cocoa powder
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup brewed coffee or espresso *
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Mix together sourdough starter and flour (*if using fresh ground spelt increase to 3/4 cup). For fully fermented allow to soak for 8 to 12 hours.
- Grease your 9×5 loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a separate bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.
- Add in cocoa powder, applesauce, salt, sourdough and flour. Mix until fully combined.
- *If dough is stiff, add in brewed coffee/espresso.
- Add baking powder, baking soda and 3/4 cup of your chocolate chips (reserve a 1/4 to sprinkle on top of loaf), fold in until just combined, don't overmix.
- Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in pan, then remove to cooling rack.
- Don't over bake. Each oven bakes slightly different, check your bread at 45 minutes. The two ways to tell if it's done, one is when a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, the second is when the bread begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Full fermentation. If you want a fully fermented bread, mix the starter and flour 8 to 12 hours before you want to bake the bread (if you want to bake in the morning, do it the night before, if you want to bake it warm for supper, then mix the starter and flour in the morning).
- Don't add the baking powder and soda with other dry ingredients. When working with sourdough remember it is acidic so DON'T add your baking powder or soda until right before pouring into pan so the bread rises in the oven as it's baking, not while you're incorporating other ingredients into the dough.
- If experiencing unincorporated bits of dough from full ferment, add more water to starter and flour so it's wetter and easier to incorporate into liquids when making up the full recipe to avoid any flour spots inside the baked bread.