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Modthyrth 03-08-2010 11:47 AM

Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
The pastry chef at the Phoenician here in Phoenix used to make absolutely wonderful sourdough breads. They sold them at the resort, and at farmers' markets around town, and extraordinarily reasonable prices. Their star was, by far, a chocolate cherry sourdough bread. They were famous for it.

And then the pastry chef was lured away a few weeks ago to NYC. The Phoenician pulled out of the farmers markets, stopped making the breads (though the chef evidently left his starter for them so they could continue).

I've decided to try to start doing sourdoughs in general, and experiment to replicate this divine bread in particular. I don't have a starter going yet, so this past Wednesday I used retained heat from pizza the night before to make a regular yeast chocolate cherry bread. Here's the recipe I started with:

Pane Alla Cioccolata
Recipe By: Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Maker

1 1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast
2 1/4 cup hard wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoon Dutch process black or natural cocoa, unsweetened
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 1 tbs. water
1 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoon sweet butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, highest quality

Combine all the ingredients in the bread machine pan and process on the regular bake or the light crust cycle.

To make a hand-formed loaf:
Preheat the oven and stone to 450 degrees. Process all ingredients on dough cycle and form a boule by hand. Transfer to stone, spray oven cavity liberally during the first 5 minutes, and reduce heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Makes a 1 pound loaf.

For a 1 1/2 pound loaf use:
2 tsp. yeast
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1 1/8 cups + 1 tbs. water
1 large egg yolk
1 tbs. butter
3/4 cup chips

Add an additional 10 minutes to baking time, checking during the extended time to make sure the crust doesn't burn.

Here are the results:

Yum! But it was definitely missing that complexity that the sourdough added.

My pastry chef mom also noted that based on the sugar content in the formula, she'd recommend using osmotolerant yeast. That's probably going to complicate the sourdough attempts--nothing like jumping in to something new with a really tough goal, kind of like starting masonry with a pizza oven. ;-)

Anyone attempted a chocolate cherry sourdough? Or anything similar? Seen any good recipes in any of the books hanging around hour house or bookmarked on your computer? I'd love some advice!

splatgirl 03-08-2010 09:07 PM

Re: Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
I've done cherry pecan sourdough a couple of times but did not include a significant sugar component nor cocoa/chocolate. I just added the fruit and nuts to my regular sourdough boules. Now that I've read this it's going on the agenda for next weeks' bake!

I seem to remember reading someplace that wild yeast strains present in sourdough culture are more tolerant of sugar than commercial yeast, but I could be wrong on that.

Based on your photos, I think you did just fine with regular yeast anyway...there does not appear to have been any issues with leavening! That is a gorgeous loaf.
I know I have done some fairly sweet doughs just fine as sourdough, but if you try it and it doesn't work you could always try using the sugar more like you'd do cinnamon bread, flattening out the proofed dough, sprinkling it on and rolling it up with the hope that it would have less affect on the beasties that way vs. being mixed into the actual dough. Or roll the loaf in it or sprinkle it on top?

I am constantly baking "regular" bread recipes as sourdough so I guess I'd take the recipe you used to start with. Basically I just use x amount of (100% hydration) starter, subtract that weight from the flour and water called for by the recipe (1/2x flour, 1/2x water) and follow it exactly otherwise minus the yeast. Depending on the state of the starter, 50 or 100g. would be plenty to get a 1lb. loaf where you want it, but that part really doesn't matter as long as the starter hasn't gone past the point of breaking down it's gluten.

If I get around to trying this on the recipe you've posted above, I'll definitely report back!

DrakeRemoray 03-08-2010 10:29 PM

Re: Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
Nancy Silverton has a recipe for Chocolate Sour Cherry Sourdough in her "Breads from the La Bread Bakery" cookbook. I would start with that! The recipe calls for both sourdough and commercial yeast, chocolate and cocoa powder...


Pdiff 03-10-2010 12:34 PM

Re: Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
Wow. That looks great. Me wants! Must try that soon.

The recipe doesn't mention cherries. How much and what did you use? Canned, fresh? Also you mentioned you used retained heat from the night before. Any idea what the temps were? Seems like a sugary dough like that would burn quickly at regular oven times and temps.


Modthyrth 03-10-2010 12:54 PM

Re: Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
Hah--I'd forgotten that the recipe didn't actually have cherries! I threw in a half cup of dried cherries. The dried cherries were incredibly plump and moist, though, almost as though they'd already been rehydrated.

I put the bread in at about 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Pdiff 03-10-2010 01:14 PM

Re: Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
Thanks, Modthyrth. I will definitely give something like this a try.


splatgirl 03-14-2010 01:33 PM

Re: Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
Thanks for the new obsession!
I baked off a loaf this a.m. and have the rest of the batch working now. Thanks to Drake for the heads up about the Nancy Silverton recipe. I poked around online a bit and found it over at the Fresh Loaf website. Chocolate Sourdough Bread Recipes Anyone? | The Fresh Loaf
(I actually tried to buy the La Brea book the other night but could not find it locally...will have to order)
Very similar recipe to what Nikki posted except with the addition of sourdough starter. I had to guess on that part as the recipe does not specify the hydration level of the starter. Mine is 100% and I found I had to add more water than what is called for to get a workable dough. I also used only 1tsp. IDY vs. the 35g. fresh called for. Next time I'm going to omit it entirely and see how that works.

The finished bread is ridiculously addictive just plain, but I'm also thinking it'll make amazing bread pudding if any of it lasts that long.

DrakeRemoray 03-14-2010 10:31 PM

Re: Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
Pretty sure Nancy Silverton's sourdough is 125% hydration...

splatgirl 03-15-2010 05:00 AM

Re: Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
Thanks, Drake. That would be on par with the amount of extra water that I needed to add.

The bread is amazing. Better once it's had a chance to age a bit!

Modthyrth 03-17-2010 09:48 AM

Re: Chocolate Cherry Sourdough Bread
Awesome! I'm so excited to hear that someone's sourdough experiment was a success. I really need to get my starter going!

There used to be a very good local restaurant that bought the Phoenician's bread and made bread pudding. I never got to try it, but it was very well loved around here!

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