Chocolate Starter Bread Recipe

Rue des Martyrs, a street that shoots up from the 9th into the 18th arrondissement, is one of those typical Paris market streets that seems to defy business logic by offering no fewer than seven bread bakeries, some of them but a block from one another.

Because I live in the neighborhood, I’ve had the opportunity to sample the goods from (almost*) all of them, and I’ve been particularly impressed with the breads I’ve purchased from Maison Landemaine, on the eastern sidewalk: their tourte de meule (a round rustic loaf) and their baguette**, both leavened with their natural starter, are excellent, and they make a very good chocolate bread, too.

In French, the concept of chocolate bread poses a slight semantics problem, because the name pain au chocolat (literally, chocolate bread) is already taken by a much-loved member of the viennoiserie family that involves croissant dough wrapped around one or two sticks of chocolate to form a rectangular little pad. In some parts of France — especially in the south — this is cutely called a chocolatine.

But what we are talking about here is a regular bread dough that is flavored with cocoa powder and studded with small bits of chocolate — an entirely different animal, one that’s more to my taste. And since I’m always looking for new and delicious ideas to keep my natural starter entertained, it wasn’t long before I decided to make my own.

I remembered Nancy Silverton has a recipe for chocolate cherry bread in her sourdough baking book Breads from the La Brea Bakery, so I looked it up, but hers involves sugar and butter — she developed it to please the customers who came in wanting dessert rather than a loaf of bread — and I wanted my dough unenriched.

Instead, I simply elaborated on the recipe I use for my sourdough baguettes, substituting cocoa powder for part of the flour and folding coarsely chopped chocolate into the dough, and making bâtard-shaped loaves. Because Nancy Silverton notes that the cocoa powder hinders the rise of the bread, I followed her lead and added a little fresh yeast to aid the action of the starter.

Aside from this addition of yeast, the technique is very similar to the one I describe in my baguette post, with an overnight fermentation for flavor and flexibility; you can refer to it for pictures of the different steps.

Because it is just bread with cocoa powder and a little dark chocolate, it is neither too rich nor too sweet for breakfast (i.e. no brick feeling in your stomach, and no sugar crash by mid-morning) and it is a luxurious treat to begin the day with, lightly toasted, and spread with butter or almond butter.

The tight crumb makes it ideal for tartines and I probably don’t need to elaborate on the list of things you can spread on chocolate bread, but I will say this: raspberry jam or dulce de leche make it quite irresistible.

I like it like this, with just chopped chocolate folded in, but you could imagine endless variations, incorporating dried fruit (cherry, fig, prune), orange peel (as in this loaf) or nuts (pistachios, almonds, walnuts), or possibly replacing a little of the wheat flour with chestnut or malt flour.

This bread stays fresh for a few days, like most starter-leavened breads, but if the leftovers dry up they’ll make a fine bread pudding or great breadcrumbs; they’re the ones I used for the Noma-style radishes in soil I wrote about recently.

Maison Landemaine
26 rue des Martyrs, Paris 9ème
M° Notre-Dame de Lorette
+33 (0)1 40 16 03 42 / map it!

* A few of them I didn’t bother to visit; sometimes a glance at the bread shelf is all it takes to form an opinion.

** Bruno Verjus shot a few videos of their baguette-making process.

Chocolate Starter Bread

Chocolate Starter Bread Recipe

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 10 hours, 40 minutes

Makes three 380-gram (13-ounce) loaves.

Chocolate Starter Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200 grams (7 ounces) ripe (100% hydration) starter (see note)
  • 540 grams (1 pound 3 ounces) bread flour (I used the French T80, which is partially whole wheat, plus 1 tablespoon wheat gluten)
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) good-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 5 grams (1/6 ounce) fresh yeast, crumbled (substitute 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast)
  • 400 grams (14 ounces) filtered water at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 140 grams (5 ounces) good-quality dark chocolate of your choice (I used one with a 60% cacao content), chopped to chocolate chip size on average (you'll have smaller and larger pieces, that's fine -- use them all)

Instructions

    1. Day One: Prepare the dough.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the starter, flour, cocoa powder, yeast, and water until the mixture forms a shaggy mass and all the flour is incorporated.
  2. Let the mixture sit for 20 to 40 minutes for the autolyse.
  3. Add the salt, and knead with the dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add the chopped chocolate and mix until just incorporated.
  4. 2. Day One to Two: Ferment the dough.
  5. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour. After an hour, fold the dough over itself (as demonstrated in this video) about a dozen times -- this helps give oxygen to the yeasts in the dough, it develops the flavors and builds a well-structured crumb.
  6. Apply a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the dough, and a shower cap around the rim of the bowl. Push the shower cap down until it touches the plastic wrap -- you want the cover to be somewhat airtight -- and place the bowl in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours.
  7. 3. Day Two: Shape the loaves.
  8. Remove the bowl from the fridge; the dough should have about doubled in size.
  9. Remove the plastic wrap and replace it with the kitchen towel. Let the dough come back to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  10. Place a square or rectangular baking stone on the middle rack of your oven and preheat it to 300°C (570°F) or whatever the highest temperature setting is on your oven, for 30 minutes. If you don't have a baking stone, preheat the oven to 240°C (460°C) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  11. Have ready a well floured linen kitchen towel that you will reserve for this use (no need to wash it after baking; the more you flour and use it, the less it will stick).
  12. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface (I dust an old silicone baking mat heavily with flour). Divide it into three pieces of equal size.
  13. Shape each piece into a bâtard -- an oval loaf -- as described here.
  14. After shaping each loaf, place it on the floured kitchen towel and pull the cloth up on each side to form a ridge that will support its shape. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for the remainder of the preheating.
  15. 4. Day Two: Create steam in the oven.
  16. During the last 5 minutes of preheating, insert a rimmed baking sheet in the lowest rack of the oven, underneath the pizza stone. Bring about 360 ml (1 1/2 cups) water to the boil in the kettle.
  17. Just before you're ready to insert the loaves in the oven, make sure you wear something with long sleeves and put on an oven mitt. Using a vessel with a pouring spout (such as a measuring jug), pour half of the boiling water into the rimmed baking sheet -- it will sizzle and steam and it will be a bit scary -- and close the oven door right away.
  18. This is to create a nice, steamy environment, to foster the formation of a nice crust. Be careful not to burn yourself as you do this -- that is what the long sleeve and oven mitt are for -- and keep kids and pets out of the kitchen for this step.
  19. 5. Day Two: Slash and bake the loaves.
  20. If you're using a baking stone, place the loaves on a well-floured pizza peel. Slash each of them 3 times with a baker's blade or a sharp knife, working the blade at a 45° angle. Slide them onto the pizza stone, working quickly to prevent the heat and steam from escaping.
  21. Pour the remaining water into the rimmed baking sheet, and lower the temperature to 220°C (430°F).
  22. If you don't have a baking stone, arrange the loaves on the prepared cookie sheet. Slash them as directed and insert into the middle rack of the oven. Pour the remaining water into the rimmed baking sheet, but don't lower the temperature.
  23. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rearranging them after 30 minutes so the ones at the front of the oven will be in the back and vice versa, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped at the bottom. If you're worried they might color too much but they sound like they could use a little more baking, turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  24. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before eating.

Notes

A 100% hydration starter is fed an equal weight of flour and water at every feeding. To learn more about starters, please refer to my post on natural starter bread.

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Chocolate Starter Bread

  • http://www.joeinvegas.blogspot.com/ joeinvegas

    It sounds so lovely, I will have to get a starter going myself so that I can try these things

  • http://robbplusjessie.com Jessie

    You had me at chocolate. Cannot wait to try this with my happy little starter, Nino. Cheers.

  • Tamsin

    Mmm! I know what I’m baking this weekend; I bet it would be delicious with hazelnut butter. I struggle a little with shaping the dough (and need to invest in a pizza peel and incisette) but practice makes perfect.

  • http://www.positivelybeauty.com/ Cristina

    Oh, I shouldn’t look at your blog when I’m hungry…! I’ve never tried chocolate bread, yours looks so yummy it makes me want to make it right now! But I’ll bookmark the recipe for later, it must be absolutely delicious for breakfast. Thanks for the recipe :)

  • http://operagirlcooks.com Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

    That is absolutely gorgeous bread! I have had success with brioche, cinnamon rolls, and pizza dough, but I have not yet branched out to baguettes . . . I keep seeing your beautiful results and slowly building up the courage to try making my own. Thanks for these great baking tutorials!

  • http://theperfectpastry.blogspot.com margie

    This sounds delicious. I love baking bread, but ever since I abandoned my starter (it got pushed to the back of the fridge during a busy time and died a slow, painful death), I have been lazy about baking.

    If you’ve never had Nancy Silverton’s Chocolate Cherry Bread, I recommend that you give it a try. I know it wasn’t what you were looking for at this time, but it really is a delicious bread for dessert or a sweet breakfast.

    I do have some bread flour and wheat germ that need to be used soon – maybe I’ll dust off my starter jar and begin again.

  • http://thehoneyeater.com Naomi

    This looks lovely but you must try Nancy Silverton’s Chocolate Cherry Bread. I used to get in when I lived in L.A. and it is not too sweet, indeed it’s hardly sweet at all and so wonderful.

  • http://blissinthekitchen.typepad.com/ Flo

    Thank you! I have so been awaiting for this post after your pictures on twitter.
    I am definitly going to give it a try, maybe not in baguettes, I haven’t tried them yet and my oven is, a little unreliable for that!

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    This is a true labor of love. I’ve wondered previously why there weren’t more chocolate breads, and you’ve answered my question. This looks like a wonderfully dense bread that would pair well with nutella.

  • http://www.misadventureswithandi.com Andi

    Mon dieu I have to try that bread. I will be visiting Maison Landemaine in October for sure!

  • http://bilingualbutter.blogspot.com Lucie from Bilingual Butter

    Clotilde, this sounds amazing! I’ll definitely be trying this out when I get the time. I really enjoy rue des Martyrs, on weekdays more than weekends–stopping in front the “vitrine” of each bakery is enough to fill me up!

  • http://croquecamille.wordpress.com Camille

    The American in me thinks this would be wonderful with peanut butter and jelly! (Strawberry or raspberry – not grape.)

  • http://www.georgiapellegrini.com Georgia Pellegrini

    I know all too well the pressure of keeping natural starter going. This is a recipe unlike any I have seen before, and I will certainly have to try it soon :)

  • http://lickmyspoon.com Lick My Spoon

    These are so beautiful; as if they were hot off the rack in a charming bakery, only it’s now in your own home. Thank you for sharing!

  • Rachel

    Ah… I’d been hoping you would post this recipe ever since you mentioned it in the radish recipe. Thank you!

    By the way, I blame you for getting me addicted to spreading almond butter on my morning toast. ;)

  • http://rumandreason.com Zoë

    I was just looking at a similar bread (yeast, no starter) in The Baker by Leanne Kitchen which naughtily rolls chopped chocolate bits up in the dough in the final shaping, giving a roulade effect to the final loaf… although perhaps that would be a bit too much for breakfast.

  • http://www.soverydomestic.com Maytina

    Wow. Wow. Wow. That bread look amazing and the recipe reads like I can actually handle it! Thanks!

  • http://www.j3nn.net Jenn (Jenn’s Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

    That looks so decadent and wonderful. I’d love to have a piece with some Nutella. :)

    Jenn

  • http://kissmyspatula.com/ {kms}

    chocolate bread? oui, s’il vous plaît! xo.

  • http://tiffintales.wordpress.com/ Heena

    The minute I saw this, I thought how wonderful it would be slathered with Nutella. And I see many others have had the same idea.
    I have been looking for a good pain au chocolat recipe for some time now since I don’t have the good fortune of living in Paris with seven bakeries in the neighbourhood :) Can you help me with one?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I admit I’m not a big fan of pain au chocolat, I much prefer croissants, but it’s the same basic dough. I’ve made them once using Nancy Silverton’s recipe in the book I mention above, and they were lovely.

      • http://tiffintales.wordpress.com/ Heena

        Thanks Clotilde. I prefer croissants too but I had the most divine pain au chocolat at a bakery in Quebec and never found anything that good again. So I thought I’ll try and replicate it at home.

  • http://www.whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com Gaelle@whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com

    You got me to start a natural starter with your baguettes and crumpets. Now that’s something different and I,m sure that my children would love it for their gouter!

  • http://www.foodexpressed.com Val

    That looks absolutely phenomenal. The idea of chocolate bread has never really done it for me but your photos are making me think otherwise.

    The minute I get into bread making and have a starter of my own I think this just might be the first thing I make!

  • Friday’s Mom

    One of my local bakeries in Minneapolis, MN has been making this for years. It’s such a surprise to bite in and not have it taste sweet. It makes lovely sandwiches and the toast, pain perdue and bread pudding made with it are outstanding.

  • Barbara

    Clotilde,
    The chocolate bread, Pane alla Cioccolata, in Patricia Field’s “The Italian Baker” is excellent, though not made with a starter. She suggests eating it with marscapone!

  • Marie

    I always find it interesting how you have some inspiraion, you do some research, you head to the kitchen, and voila – you have a great recipe to write about.

    Do they always come out so good? Or are their failed attempts in between that we don’t hear about?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It’s rare that I have utter failures in the kitchen (famous last words!) but it can take a few tries before I get a recipe with which I’m happy enough to share it.

  • http://tastycolours.blogspot.com/ Magdalena

    My husband loves chocolate and bread. He is able to eat bread with a piece of chocolate on top. Instead, I could make this bread for him – great idea !

  • http://www.cupandtable.blogspot.com gretchen

    i’ve been looking for a recipe like this for years, ever since i first tasted a similar loaf a friend had baked in baking class. i didn’t think it so rare at the time that i needed to get the recipe. little did i know my search would take years. many thanks clotilde!

  • http://sophie.over-blog;com Sophie

    Il est magnifique !! C’est très tentant !!

  • http://bewitchingkitchen.com SallyBR

    Very very interesting recipe, Clotilde.

    I am not too fond of chocolate croissant either (I know, what is wrong with us?) – but if you say you liked this, maybe I would too. I know “someone” in my home would go nuts, my husband is a chocoholic all the way

    Plus, this recipe uses sourdough starter, which is always a plus for me, put my babies to use in different ways

    Thank you for posting…

  • http://www.goscentyourself.com Join Scentsy

    My wife made muffins last night.

    I think we have this on the menu!

  • http://lincolnslunch.blogspot.com/ The History Chef!

    Looks great! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Tamsin

    This is a fantastic recipe. I baked my loaves this morning and have just tried a slice with raspberry jam – delicious! I like the way the bread isn’t sweet and has a lovely light texture. I can see this becoming a regular treat! The leftover chocolate and cocoa have gone into chocolate sorbet which is also yummy.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      So glad you had success with this recipe, Tamsin — I expected no less from Pantoufle. :)

  • http://thecrabbycook.com TheCrabbyCook

    Gotta make these for my chocoholic husband, if he ever recovers from the July 4th brownie abuse…

  • http://moodyfoodreviews.blogspot.com/ Moody Food Reviews

    Oh this looks so good! I will be trying this soon!

  • http://smilinggreenmom.com smilinggreenmom

    Mmmm, chocolate bread! Our kids would love this. It sounds so hard and time-consuming but I bet it is worth it! I love Kamut Khorasan Wheat and have been wanting to make some homemade bread with it! Thanks!

  • NicM

    This sounds fabulous! One of my strongest memories of Paris was snubbing the hotel breakfast and walking across the street to a great patisserie for a different, usually chocolate containing, treat every morning.

  • http://play-with-food.blogspot.com Deborah Dowd

    Bread and chocolate- what could be better? This looksamazing and totally worth the trouble of baking bread. And I keep thinking of an amazing bread pudding or french toast with the leftovers!

  • http://www.butterbakery.wordpress.com Cat @ ButteryBakery

    I have never heard of a chocolate starter but your loaves look delish! I would love to make this.

  • Kristin

    Hello Clotilde,

    Your pain au chocolat looks wonderful! This week-end, inspired by your blog, I made my first loaves of bread based on natural starter (which I made from scratch – I call the “father” Oskar), and this version is something I’ll need to try!

    One question, though: How come you use fresh yeast in addition to the natural starter? Do you always do this, or does it depend on what other things you put into the dough? What, do you think, are the negative consequences if you don’t use additional yeast in a natural starter bread?

    Kind regards,
    Kristin,
    Norway

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Congrats on getting your own starter, and long live Oskar!

      Regarding the yeast, I explained in the post above that “because Nancy Silverton notes that the cocoa powder hinders the rise of the bread, I followed her lead and added a little fresh yeast to aid the action of the starter.”

      I don’t normally add fresh yeast to my sourdough-leavened breads, unless the dough is enriched in some way (such as with cocoa here, or with butter, or sugar). I’m fairly sure you could make this one without any fresh yeast, but the crumb would probably be tighter. Will you let me know if you try it?

      • Kristin

        oops, sorry…that afternoon I only read the recipe, having read the intro earlier. Bad memory:p I will let you know when I have tried the yeast-free version(-which will be soon, hopefully! I have prepared Oskar to perform tonight;))

  • Madonna

    That bread looks wonderful. I’m getting ready to order starter from King Arthur, so I can see this bread being my next experiment in the kitchen. I love chocolate and raspberries. We have wild black raspberries growing by our lake, and they’re now at the perfect stage for picking. So my next thought is about making some beautiful raspberry preserves to spead over the bread.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Lucky you to have access to wild black raspberries, and a lake! Such an inspiring evocation of summer…

  • Madonna

    I do love summer and all its delicious bounty.

    The raspberries and the lake were two of this house’s biggest selling points, along with a huge kitchen that has a fireplace and a view of the lake.

    In addition to the berries, I have a very nice collection of herbs growing in pots on our deck and a garden filled with all sorts of unusual and colorful vegetables, along with a couple of melon plants.

    The garden includes 10 types of heirloom tomatoes; 5 different varieties of cherry tomatoes; Roma and Principe Borghese tomatoes for sauce and drying; green and purple di milpa tomatillos; 5 types of summer squash; lemon and diva cucumbers; Fairytale, Hansel, and Gretel eggplants; green, red, yellow, orange, lilac, and chocolate bell peppers; sweet banana peppers; Jimmy Nardello frying peppers; jalapeno, opera, and poblano chiles; Fin de Bagnol, soleil, and royal burgundy beans; okra; Swiss chard; arugula; several types of lettuce; Charentais and Noir des Carmes melons, which just started blooming; and the tons of sorrel I mentioned on one of your recent blogs. Everything’s organic, too.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Can I move in with you? Pretty please? :)

      • http://www.kitchentravels.com Dawn (KitchenTravels)

        Bring me along, too! ;)

      • Madonna

        Sure. It’s a big house, and I love to share my kitchen with other people who share my love of food, wine, and cooking.

    • Tony

      Wow, you could supply a restaurant with that garden – or start a vegan place of your own! Quite the bounty.

  • sarah

    i’m new to bread baking but my first try at sourdough was delicious – it disappeared very quickly!

    this recipe looks great :)
    hope to try making it sometime.

  • Mimmi

    I worked at la Maison Landemaine for two weeks, I haven’t eaten bread since!
    But that cocoa bread is actually really good!

  • Kristin

    Success, without yeast!! I modified the recipe and the process a bit, though, mixing it with one from the Swedish blog Pain de Martin..but I didn’t use yeast. The bâtards are airy, the crust crunchy..so here’s what I did:

    Step 1: Evening.
    200 g starter
    400 g water
    300 g wheat flour
    100 g rye flour

    Mixed in a bowl, let rest in the kithchen ’til morning.

    Step 2: “Morning” (11.30 a.m.)
    The “batter/dough” was split in half; from one half I made spelt bread with sunflower seeds; the other half turned into pain au chocolat, by adding:

    150/170 g wheat flour
    30 g coacoa powder
    50 g water

    I folded the dough a few times, then let it rest, before adding a bit of salt. Then I let it rest for about one hour, before folding it again. Then I left it alone for about..4 hours (?)-it’s a hot day, so I guess that’s why it didn’t take longer for the dough to rise and double in size.

    Finally, I split the dough in three, adding chopped dark chocolate (70 %) whilst fashioning the parts into “bâtards”. The oven was preheated to 270 degrees C beforehand, and I put in some icecubes on the bottom a second before putting in the loaves (I don’t have a baking stone, so I just let the baking pan sit in the oven whilst preheating it). About 20 minutes,and they where done! (Oh, and I moved them from the middle to the lowest part of the oven after ten minutes.)

    Though I am very pleased with Oskar’s offspring, this was a long and intuitive process for me, a bit hard to recount in few words, so feel free to edit this comment, Clotilde;) Enjoy summer!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks so much for reporting back, Kristin, and for sharing your adaptation!

      • Kristin

        Thank YOU, for all your inspiring recipes:)

  • http://www.ladymyx.info/ myx

    hmmmmmmmm!! i love chocolates! i better try this one :) looks so yummy! :D

  • Alison

    Ooooooo! Thank you! Have recently started making my own bread, am looking forward to trying out this one!

  • http://mangemonblog.com/making-homemade-bread-with-a-bread-maker/ Corey

    I can only imagine the type of amazing sandwiches that could be made with this bread! Yum!

  • http://kidscooking.about.com Stephanie

    Delicious – this would be perfect with a smear of peanut butter. Mmmm…

  • http://www.eyepreferparis.com eye prefer paris

    sounds yum. is that the boulangerie that won the prize for best baguette in 2007?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      No, that was Arnaud Delmontel, a couple of blocks north on that same street!

  • Tony

    Wow – eating this straight from the oven with fresh butter and homemade strawberry jam would be outstanding! Sounds like a Saturday project!

    I had what was labled as a “chocolate croissant” at a bakery in the Dominica Republic a few years ago – it was actually a sweet briche with a layer of chocolate on the bottom. That was very good.

  • Emily S.

    Wow, Clotilde, this recipe excites me a great deal. I can already picture a toasted slice with a smear of ricotta on top…

  • http://www.buttercupdays.wordpress.com Liana @ femme fraiche

    Beautiful! This may be the recipe I go to for my first attempt at bread making..chocolate and carbs is the key to my heart

  • http://coloredgrains.wordpress.com Kausambi (ColoredGrains)

    Bellissimo!

    -Kausambi

  • maureen

    i was so excited to make this, and must have done something wrong! i have made sourdough from starter regularly by hand–but i just got a stand mixer and decided to try this recipe in it. the dough was just starting to pull away from the bowl when i left it to autolyse. i added the salt and set it to knead on low, turned by back to chop the chocolate, and when i returned the dough had become quite slack, puddling at the bottom of the bowl instead of clinging to the dough hook.

    any idea what might have happened?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It’s very hard to say without being in the kitchen with you, but I should note that this is a (relatively) high-hydration dough that is not firm enough to cling to the dough hook, so I’m not alarmed by what happened. Did you forge on with the recipe?

  • maureen

    yes, i did! the loaves were a little…how do you say…blob-like. and it’s got a strong sourdough flavor that overpowers the chocolate, but it’s not bad for a first try. i was reducing your recipe and i think i may have added a little too much starter.

    next time i’ll know better!

  • julie

    Thanks for all the great recipes! Just to add that instead of dealing with the boiling water and steam, one can bake this bread and any other in a covered iron pot for the first half of the baking time, then with the lid removed for the remainder. The covered pot and a slightly shaggy dough create the same French bread oven “steam” and beautiful crusts. Check out Bittman’s explanation of this.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Yes! It is the method I use in my basic natural starter bread recipe and I recommend it for beginners, but I find the limitation of that method is that you can’t play much with the shape of the bread.

  • Viviane

    Clotilde,
    my very first visit to Paris, I stayed in a hotel in the Rue des Martyrs and was overcome by the number of bakeries!! My friends and i practically lived on the bread and goodies we sampled there. this brings back very fond memories and the recipe looks fabulous…a must try, especially because it’s chocolate! xo

  • http://www.just1crumb.blogspot.com Marcy

    If it wasn’t eighty-five degrees out and what feels like ninety-one in my house I would be making this right now.
    It sounds wonderful and I cannot wait to make this.

  • http://www.DeeelishByMish.blogspot.com deeelishbymish

    This looks absolutely amazing! I have been on a chocolate kick and am licking the screen right now! I will put this in my “must make” stack. Thanks!

  • Crissy

    My sisters boyfriend (reluctantly parted with after I begged) gifted me my first sourdough starter last week, I’ve never made bread before (artisan breads, that is) and sleuthing the internet decided to try my hand at this one first thing! I decided to start it that very second, in fact, I was missing a key ingredient (chocolate) and replaced that with dried cranberries– which turned out nicely enough… but I think I would have preferred the chocolate taste, the bread is a little more bittersweet potentially without the flavor of the chocolate saturating it, I think.

    For my first ever bread I am so proud. I referred back to the recipe probably one hundred times… it’s written so clearly!

    [For future beginners somethings I didn't do which aren't explicitly mentioned in this recipe... create a sponge... make sure your cookie sheet has not been left on another planet forcing you to bake on upside down casserole dishes... establishing that your oven can indeed close all the way so you don't have to sit in a chair propped against it the entire time.. and cleaning up as you go...]

    Regardless of mishaps, I feel a special connection to this bread now, thanks for the inadvertent introduction to bread baking!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Congratulations on your first sourdough baking experiment, Crissy — I’m glad you found the recipe helpful and that you had good success with it!

  • http://www.peasepudding.wordpress.com Alli

    OMG, this looks amazing, I have never thought of using cocoa in bread even though I have used chocolate. The colour is gorgeous particularly if you are a chocoholic like me. I like making my own started but the last one died after a month away, your bread has inspired me to get one going again.

  • maria fernanda

    I didn’t make Pain du chocolat but I did go to Maison Lademaine and the bread was amazing, very chocolaty but not too sweet. Merci pour la recommandation!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You’re very welcome. Glad you liked it too!

  • Julieta

    Hi, Clotilde. I have tried both your recipe for chocolate starter bread and this one. This bread is slightly less crusty and a bit sweeter (because of the addition of honey and vanilla extract), I like both versions very much :)

  • ajbw

    could you use this to make bread and butter pudding?

  • http://www.oggipanesalamedomani.it/ sonia monagheddu

    Hi, I’m Sonia, italian foodblogger sorry for my bad english, I want tell you that I have included the link of this recipe (which I liked very much) in the section on my blog dedicated to 10 ways to make (“10 Modi di fare”) aromatic bread.
    I hope not to bother you, have a nice day
    Sonia

  • Shelly

    After three tries I finally pulled it off!! Thanks for the recipe we love this bread!!

  • debbybanksparker

    I am absolutely in love with your recipe. The dough is fabulous. I have been making sourdough bread for years. This is a wonderful variation. I made homemade apricot jam with fresh ginger last summer, and it is so perfect for this bread. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      That is so lovely to hear, thank you! And that jam sounds super special.

  • http://www.jennyandsweet.com Jenny P

    Dear Clotilde, Thank you for the recipe and for the inspiration. I have to share my excitment (with somebody who understands :D). I omitted the yeast and played with it a little bit and it turned out great – the bâtards are airy, the crust crunchy. I am going to play with it a little more and will make it (probably) my go-to “trademark” gift :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thanks for sharing your experience and your excitement! Good to know yours turned out well with no yeast. If you have a picture to share I’d love to see it!

      • http://www.jennyandsweet.com Jenny P

        As a matter of fact, I happen to have some pictures :) Two disclaimers (i) this was my first attempt at a batard shaping and (ii) I have still a lot of room for improvement for my food photography so they do not look as beautiful as yours – both are 280 g loaves.I also included pictures prior and after proofing.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          Beautiful, Jenny, thanks for sharing the pictures!

  • http://limesarebetterthanlemons.tumblr.com/ Limes Are Better Than Lemons

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I LOVE this bread. I’d be happy having it for breakfast for the rest of my life. It’s that good. I posted some pics here: http://limesarebetterthanlemons.tumblr.com/post/92646297792/chocolate-sourdough-bread

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thanks so much for posting about the recipe, I’m delighted you enjoy it so much and had a blast reading your post.

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