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Dark Chocolate Sourdough Bread with Honey and Pecans

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This recipe is perfect for beginners! I love making this decadent honey pecan chocolate sourdough bread all through autumn and winter. This recipe is for a slightly sweet, rich, chocolatey sourdough loaf baked in a Dutch oven. Serve this bread warm with butter and honey drizzled on top.

Ingredients

  • 425 grams organic bread flour
  • 75 grams cacao powder
  • 360 grams filtered water
  • 150 grams sourdough starter
  • 10 grams sea salt
  • 50 grams honey
  • 1/4 cup pecans, crushed
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. It’s best to start the sourdough process before 9 am so you have enough time. Please check the notes section of this recipe for tips.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the starter, flour, cacao, honey, and water. Knead the ingredients together until a uniform dough ball forms.
  3. Let the dough rest for 45 minutes.
  4. Wet your hands, and spray the dough with your water bottle. Sprinkle the salt over the dough, then knead it into the dough. Let rest for 30 more minutes.
  5. Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist your clean countertop. Wet your hands and wet the top of the dough ball with the spray bottle. Turn the dough out onto the wet counter surface. Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl really well. Leave the bowl wet.
  6. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over the top.
  7. Place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  8. Stretch and Fold 1 + adding the pecans and chocolate chips: Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist your clean countertop again. Wet your hands and wet the top of the dough ball with the spray bottle. Turn the dough out onto the wet counter surface.  Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl really well. Leave the bowl wet.
  9. Stretch out the dough into a rectangle, but be gentle and do not break or tear it. Sprinkle the dough with chocolate chips and pecans. For a sweeter loaf, you can also sprinkle a bit of granulated sugar.
  10. Fold the ingredients into the dough, fold the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over top. Then you will knead the dough again, knead it until it is mostly smooth and the pecans are evenly distributed through the dough. It will get sticky and some pecans may tear through the dough, that’s okay. (Please watch the video linked in the blog post if you need more guidance).
  11. Repeat another stretch and fold then place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 1 to 2 hours.
  12. Stretch and Fold 2: Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist your clean countertop again. Wet your hands and wet the top of the dough ball with the spray bottle. Turn the dough out onto the wet counter surface. Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl really well. Leave the bowl wet.
  13. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over top. Place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 2 hours.
  14. Stretch and Fold 3: Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist your clean countertop again. Wet your hands and wet the top of the dough ball with the spray bottle. Turn the dough out onto the wet counter surface. Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl really well. Leave the bowl wet.
  15. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over top.
  16. Place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 1 to 2 hours.
  17. Clean and dry the counter surface you’re working on. Sprinkle some flour on the surface of your counter and coat your hands in a bit of flour. Gently flip the dough out onto the floured surface so that it is seam side up.
  18. Pre-shape: Gently stretch out the dough, and fold it again. Fold side over side and top over bottom. Then flip the dough over so that the seam side is down on the counter. Tuck under any parts of the dough you need to form a nice circular shape.  Leave the dough on the counter,  sprinkle some flour on the top of the dough, and cover with a tea towel.
  19. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.
  20. Sprinkle a little more flour on the top of your pre-shaped dough and on the counter around the dough. With your hands coated in flour, flip the dough over so that the seam side is up again.
    Gently stretch out the dough, and fold it again. Fold side over side and top over bottom. Then flip the dough over so that the seam side is down on the counter. Tuck under any parts of the dough you need to form a nice circular loaf shape. This is the final shaping so take your time with it.
  21. Coat a proofing basket with flour. Be generous, as you do not want it to stick.  You can also use a bowl lined with a towel and a generous amount of flour.
  22. Flour your hands and swiftly pick up and flip your dough into the basket. Smooth side down, seam side up.
  23. Cover and place in the fridge overnight for 8-12 hours.
  24. After 8-12 hours in the fridge, preheat your dutch oven with the lid, in your oven at 450° F. (see notes on temperature)
  25. Once your oven is preheated, carefully remove your dutch oven and place the lid to the side. *Don’t forget that the pot and the lid are both very hot!*
  26. Cut a large square of parchment paper and place it on the counter. Turn your dough out onto the paper so that the seam side is down and touching the parchment paper.
  27. Score the dough using a very sharp knife or a scoring tool.
  28. Picking up all four corners of the parchment paper, move your dough into the dutch oven.
  29. Place the lid on the dutch oven and bake at 450 F for 35 minutes.
  30. After baking covered, remove the lid and bake for another 20-30 minutes at 450 F.
  31. Remove your finished loaf from the dutch oven and allow it to cool for at least 1 hour.

Notes

  • The time you need to wait in between stretch and folds depends on the temperature in your house. If your house is above 75° F, you may be able to reduce the amount of time between stretch and folds to one hour.
  • You can also speed up the time in between stretch and folds by using a bread proofer or heating pad near the dough. Just stretch and fold when the dough has risen a bit and relaxes out into the bottom of the bowl, and make sure you do at least three stretches and folds. Monitor the dough to make sure you do not over-proof.
  • when flouring your proofing basket, it helps to use coarse flour such as rye, masa, or rice flour.
  • Depending on your oven, you can bake at a lower temperature. Some ovens run hotter than others.
  • When baking with the dutch oven lid off, check every few minutes. Some ovens run hotter than others, so check to see when the loaf is golden brown.