Chocolate Chip Sourdough
The use of two different chocolates creates a delicate balance between the sweet and the sharp. Serve this up toasted with some salty butter and well, you are in near heaven.
This bread is the result of a brave journey into the world of artisan bread making, the kindness and generosity of a stranger and a few personalized chops and changes to an existing recipe to make it mine.
Sourdough is complex but it doesn't have to be complicated. If you're interested in tackling things like growing and maintaining a starter, understanding rise times, how to shape and score loaves I highly recommend the book "Artisan Sourdough Made Simple" by Emilie Raffa, which has been serving as my survival guide through this process. It is inexpensive, informative and jam packed with simple recipes that you can confidently make as is, or begin to modify when you're starting to feel confident and brave.
Things to note:
The rise times are a guideline. You have to go based on your senses and the reality that is before you. The dough is ready when it looks and feels ready, not when the allotted time has passed. Things like temperature, humidity and flour brands will affect things.
For a primer on sourdough basics I recommend reading this website
This recipe requires a scale. Don't have one? Get one. They are less than $20 and when working with something as temperamental and time intensive as bread you want accurate measurements.
No you don't have to use the combination of chocolates that I have indicated here. Want to try white? Go for it? Fancy a super dark chocolate? Chuck it in. The world, and this bread, is your oyster.
I recommend letting the dough rest in a glass bowl so that you can easily see how it is changing in size, as well as look underneath for bubbles.
50 grams of ready to go starter (active and full of bubbles)
375 grams warm water
500 grams bread flour
9 grams fine sea salt
6 grams cinnamon
6 grams nutmeg
90 grams semi sweet chocolate chips
90 grams milk chocolate chips
MIX IT UP:
To make the dough combine 50 grams starter with 375 grams warm water and whisk to combine.
In another bowl mix the flour, salt and cinnamon.
Add the starter mix to the flour and mix by hand to fully combine. Do not over work the dough, but do ensure that everything is blended well and there are no clumps of dry flour. If there is extra flour at the bottom of the bowl that just wont incorporate add a tiny dash of warm water to it until it does (I do 1/2 a tsp at a time).
Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes.
After the dough has rested, gently knead in the chocolate chips, using your fingers to press them into the dough.
Cover the bowl with your towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size. Depending on the temperature this can take anywhere from 8-10 hours. How you do this is up to you. You can stay close by and check on it now and then, or let it rise on the counter while you sleep.
Once the dough has doubled in size you will see bubble through out the mixture. The top will feel soft and pillow like. Imagine poking the Ghost Busters Marshmallow man.
Gently (very gently!) pull the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured work surface. Pull the dough in to form a circle and let rest for 10 minutes. Line a 10 inch bowl with a towel and place the dough in the bowl, seam side up and let rest 30 min to an hour.
Gently turn the dough out onto the counter top and score a pattern using a sharp knife (this allows air to flow and avoids your bread ripping while baking)
Preheat the oven to 450F
Transfer your shaped and scored dough into a cast iron pot and bake with the lid on for 20 min. Remove the lid and continue to bake for 30 min. Gently lift the bread out of the pot and place directly on the rack to finish baking for a final 10 minutes. The dough is ready when tapping on the bottom creates a hollow sound.
Critical info - the bread has to cool completely before slicing into it. Take it from me, do not rush this process. Best thing to do is let the loaf fully cool and enjoy the next day. Trust me, the wait is worth it :)