Cocoa sourdough has been quite the hype recently on Instagram. I was intrigued by all the nice loaves and flavor combos that bread enthusiast keep posting everyday. I so wanted to try the cocoa addition, but I has to postpone it as my list of ‘to-be-baked’ has already too long.
I only get to bake a bread once a week now, with a full time job. When I see photos of mini bakeries and people who bake several breads at a time, I actually miss my job in the baking industry. Even though short, about a year and a half, I truly enjoyed baking hundreds of loaves and sometimes just watching the bread being made. I hope to write about that in a separate post, how i decided to switch careers in order to do what I’m passionate about.
Back to cocoa adventure. Having lived in Australia for some-time, long enough I guess, I fell in love with the Jaffa cookies or the flavor to be exact. I think chocolate and orange are a match made in heaven. I have made cakes, cookies, slices, desserts and all sorts of things with this flavor combo. Out of all, chocolate dipped candied orange has got to be my favorite. So this is how the idea of cocoa and orange sourdough came to be.
The basic 50% rye bread recipe is tweaked a little to achieve this. I have added 40 g of unsweetened cocoa tog the chocolate flavor and color. cocoa tend to be a little bit bitter, so to balance that, two table spoons of molasses is added. Zest of two whole oranges is what gives the orange scent. I have upped the water content too as cocoa absorbs moisture.
Also I have added 2 tablespoons of strong coffee, hoping to intensify the chocolate flavor. To be honest, I didn’t think it made a difference, but I can’t really know until I make another one without coffee. So, that to a later date.
I think, you can be creative here and try to incorporate something extra to this bread too. Some ideas would be, orange peel, some dried fruits, or even candied orange pieces. I am planning to redo this recipe with nuts, and if it turned out to be good, the recipe will be shared of course.
Cocoa & orange sourdough
Servings: 1 loaf
220 g active starter
250 g white bread flour
200 g dark rye flour
40 g unsweetened dutch processed cocoa
350 g water (approx.)
10 g oil (I used olive oil)
10 g salt
2 tablespoons of molasses
zest of two oranges
few orange slices to decorate
some sugar to coat the orange slices
As usual, make your starter the day before, if you want more details on how to do that, refer to my post on making and maintaining sourdough starter.
The process of mixing the bread is similar to that of the white sourdough bread. So I will not write details but mention the steps.
Weigh in the dry ingredients in to a bowl and mix.
Weigh the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, mix and add to the dry mix.
Using a spoon or your hand, mix everything until no more dry flour bits are visible. Add more water if the dough is tough.
Let sit for about 15 minutes and mix using hand or mixer for about 5 minutes.
Add the finely grated orange zest and make sure to mix until its nicely and evenly spread across the whole dough.
Let this rest for a 15 minutes more and give a good mix (stretch and fold action)
If you are adding fruits or nuts, now is the time.
Cover the dough and let it bulk proof for 45 minutes – 1 hour give it a fold and repeat this in another 45 minutes.
Let it sit for another 11/2 to 2 hours for the final proofing to happen.
Punch the dough lightly to remove excess air and shape it up to a cobb and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
Shape the dough however you like.
Give it a good dusting of flour before placing upside down in a proofing basket. If you are not using a basket, place the loaf on a tray lined with plastic or a tea towel.
Cover the loaf to prevent it from drying out and place in the fridge. (retarding can be anywhere from 12 hours to 20 hours)
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 500 F (I bake my bread on a cast iron skillet so I preheat the skillet in the oven). Place a tray of boiling water on the bottom rack.
If you are using, dip the orange slices in sugar and set aside. This will draw remove excess water out of the slices.
Once the oven is ready,take the bread out and slash. Decorate with orange slices if you like. (remove excess juices before placing them on the bread)
Place the bread in the oven (on the center rack) and bake 20 minutes. Then, remove the water tray, reduce temperature to 450 F and bake for another 20 minutes.
Once done, cool off on a wire rack before cutting into it.