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Cranberry + chocolate sourdough loaf

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Since I have been working with sourdough breads quite a lot in the past few weeks, I thought I would give it a bit of a rest. But like Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Part III, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.
This cranberry chocolate bread is one of the most recent loaves I've made with my starter. After nearly two years, I think the leaven has taken on another level of flavour, which I can't quite place but it's exciting to see the development. I was just reading about this man in America who mixed up a batch of flour and water, travelled to San Francisco and drove around the wharf with the open jar outside the car for an hour to capture the yeast over there. The story doesn't say where he visited from but it would be fun to see how this genuine "dough nut" fares!
Perhaps my sister, who lives half an hour from SF, could do that for me *hint hint* ;-)
Make the dough
The recipe includes a tiny amount of commercial dried yeast in the mix. Because of the chocolate chunks and cranberries, the starter needs some extra help, I suppose, to get the dough to rise
Shape, proof and bake the bread
In hindsight, I probably should have dusted the top of the dough with cocoa powder instead of flour before baking it. Or I should have dusted the flour more evenly. Then the crust would have looked more appealing.
No complaints about the taste though. I just need to be braver with scoring the top. The slash is definitely too shallow.
Studded with cranberries and chocolate chips
Sourdough Cranberry Chocolate Bread 
Based on a recipe from Azelia's Kitchen and instructions from Peter Reinhart
Makes 1 loaf, 10-12 servings

200g white bread flour
50g high-extraction flour (use wholemeal and sieve out the coarse bran)
25g cocoa powder, sifted
Large pinch dried instant yeast
110g sourdough starter (white flour levain at 100% hydration)
150g water, approximate
½ tsp table salt
35g dried cranberries
65g dark chocolate, chopped or chips

Stir the flours, cocoa and yeast in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Incorporate the levain and water just until a shaggy dough forms. Set aside for 5 minutes to hydrate the flour.
After 5 minutes, sprinkle the salt over the mixture and then stir it together. If mixture is dry, add a little leftover starter or water, a tablespoon at a time. Bring it all together into a soft dough. Cover the mixing bowl with a tea towel and set aside for 10 minutes.
Spread out the dough slightly with your fingers and add the cranberries and chocolate bits. Fold them gently into the dough until everything is well distributed. Set aside for 10 minutes.
This next step can be done in the mixing bowl or on a lightly oiled work surface. Stretch and fold the dough, and form into a ball. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Repeat the stretch and fold two more times at 10-minute intervals. The dough will already have puffed up slightly at the last stretch-and-fold.
Cover the mixing bowl with a tea towel and set aside until dough has doubled in size. This may take 45 minutes or 2 hours, depending on room temperature. Alternatively, if you have no time to bake on the same day, place the bowl in a large food-grade plastic bag (or cover with cling film) and refrigerate overnight. If baking the next day, remove dough from the refrigerator 2 hours before baking.
Shape the loaf – either into a freestanding baton on a baking tray heavily sprinkled with semolina or in a lightly greased loaf pan – and place in a large food-grade plastic bag to rise.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C. Just before baking, dust the top of the loaf with flour (or cocoa powder) and score the freestanding loaf. Bake until top is brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30-40 minutes. The internal temperature should be 85°C.


  1. O.M.G! Jane, this loaf looks absolutely gorgeous! Look at that crumb! Never seen such a beautiful loaf, honestly!

  2. wow, hello! How did I not see this beautiful loaf until now!!! I made a chocolate loaf in February and loved it, I definitely need to make another one and this time add some other ingredients in it! Also, happy birthday to your starter! haha, mine turns one in October.


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