Cherry & Chocolate Sourdough Bread

Cherry Chocolate sourdough
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Okay, so I have been putting this away for too long for some reason I can’t quite explain. May be my mind adamantly believes that cherry and chocolate belong in the desserts and cake territory. Well my Blueberry Sourdough went quite viral and someone suggested about adding Cherry & Chocolate and I thought it is finally time!

So I went ahead and made one loaf packing as much cherry and chocolate as I could. And boy! it smelled soooo good while baking, like irresistibly & deliciously so good. I couldn’t wait to dig into that!. It came out looking average(hmm..I was skeptical), well some burnt cherries on top and I knew I had cramped up way too many cherries cos the crumb felt bit unstable. Yet, I let it cool down and cut it open anyways!

OMG! the interior looked amazing!! But not in the instagram kind of way (you know what I mean) but it looked warm, fudgy , gooey and somehow very inviting. The gnarly bits of jammy cherry and melted pockets of chocolate reminded me of a black forest cake. Yes! and it tasted even batter. At that moment I wished I had tried this combo sooner because I have been missing out!

cherry chocolate sourdough closeup

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So after a couple of test loaves, I came up with the best way to make this bread. The biggest lesson learned, the cherries will release so much juices and it is going to create a lot of steam creating huge pockets in the crumb and so we’ll have to draw a line on how much cherries to add.

Cherries

You can use any variety of cherry but I guess sweet and black cherries work best. You have to use ripe/soft cherries. Take the pit out and cut the cherries in half (or into quarters if they are huge). Then place them on a paper towel to drain out as much juices as possible.

You can even toss these pieces in some flour before adding to the bread.

black cherries

Chocolate

Use good quality chocolate of course. Semi-sweet cooking chocolate or a mix of 70% and semi-sweet is ideal. Again it is up to you. But I think milk chocolate will be too sweet and they will melt quite easily and make a mess (or disappear into the crumb). Chop the chocolate into big chunks. This way they will still survive the heat in the oven and would leave pockets of melted chocolate.

Apart from these, I also mix some cocoa with 1/3 of the dough to get a marble effect which will make the crumb look even more appetizing.

chocolate

So put your apron on because we are going to get messy

dissolve the starter

start by preparing your levain ahead of time

when you are ready to make the bread, dissolve the active levain in water

mix water and bread

then add that to the flour mixture

mix

mix everything until all the flour is hydrated and let this rest for an hour, covered.

cherry chocolate sourdough
add salt

then add the salt and knead for about 2-3 minutes until a dough is developed. Use slap & fold technique for wet doughs like this one

chocolate

mix the cocoa powder with some water until it becomes a paste.

mix chocolate with dough

take one third (1/3) of the dough and mix it with the chocolate paste until a nice chocolate colored smooth dough is achieved.

kneaded dough

knead the rest of the plain dough until smooth and place the two doughs in separate greased bowls. Let these bulk in a warm place, covered.

Perform 2 coil folds at 45 minute intervals

prepare cherries

pit the cherries and cut them into quarters (or halve them if small enough)

remove moisture

This step is very important!

spread the cherries cut side down on a few laters of paper towel until most of the moisture is removed

chocp the cocolate

In the mean time, chop the chocolate into chunks (about 1cm cubes)

Cherry chocolate sourdough
proofed dough

at the end of the bulk (45 minutes after the 2nd coil fold), the dough will look smoother and puffier

assemble the bread

Stretch the white dough and cocoa dough separately then place place the cocoa dough on top of the white dough. Spread cherries and chocolate evenly

starting from one end roll/fold the dough to trap everything and place in a bowl. Cover and let this proof for another 1-2 hours

roll the dough

the proofed dough is now ready to be shaped. First, pre-shape and leave to rest for about 20 minutes

cherry chocolate sourdough
shaped loaf

shape into a loaf and place in a proofing basket. Cover and refrigerate for several hours (18-24 hours)

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Score the bread and place in the oven.

Use your regular baking method. Use a DO or bake on a steel with convection setting ON.

This is my baking setup. I use a bakingsteel original.

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A pan with boiling water for steam. A little spray and a big ice cube for extra steam.

As soon as you place the bread in, reduce temperature to 450°F. bake for 20 minutes. then remove the pan of water. bake for another 20 minutes. If the loaf is getting too dark, reduce the temperature to 440°F – 430°F.

cherry chocolate sourdough baked

Let this bread cool completely before you slice it. And then you can lightly toast the slices to get that chocolate melted again!

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5 comments

  1. The blueberry sourdough is now a favourite, and this looks great too. But it is the wrong time of year for cherries.
    Do you have any suggestions for an alternative winter fruit to use.
    I have Seville oranges ripening on my tree, and glace citrus peel always goes well with chocolate, but the liquids would have to be adjusted.

    1. Ahh I’m guessing you live in the southern hemisphere. Cherry & Chocolate is a unique combo so I’d only make this with cherries (when in season and right now it’s raining cherries here). But I guess you can use Rhubarb (not sure how it will pair with chocolate). You can always try Orange or mandarine (I have a separate recipe for Orange & Cocoa bread) Also if you must, you can also use canned cherries or even glazed cherries.
      Hope this helps

  2. I made the recipe this weekend! Your instructions were so helpful and I had great success. I could only find frozen cherries which I thawed and fully drained on a paper towel. Worked perfectly. Thank you!

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