Chocolate & Praline Almond Sourdough

shiao-ping's picture

It was my son's 15th birthday last week.  We threw him a surprise party (the ribbons in the pictures below were from his party).  When I made my daughter's [b]17th birthday cake[/b], I had a feeling that the next time when a birthday comes around, I would not want to make another sponge cake.  I asked my son after his party what I could make him.  In his true color, he said[color=blue][b] Chocolate Sourdough[/b][/color]!  Out of all my baking, this was the one that he commented "[b][color=blue]epic[/color][/b]."  Don't you just love the boy's choice of words?  When you get a supportive family member like that, you just want to bake more.  Anyway, with this levain bread, I made two variations from my last try:

  1. I didn't use cocoa powder, so the crumb color was not the usual cocoa color.  On hindsight, it would have been better to use it; the chocolate sourdough doesn't look as decadent without it.   And,
  2. I added Australia-made praline almonds for crunchiness texture.






[color=red][b][u]My formula[/u][/b][/color]

  • 330 g starter @ 75% hydration
  • 825 g bread flour (replace up to 8% of flour with cocoa powder if you wish)
  • 240 g chocolate chips (24% total flour, which is quite a high ratio)
  • 200 g praline almonds (20% total flour)
  • 570 g water
  • 30 g honey
  • 20 g salt

Total dough weight 2.2 kg; overall dough hydration 73%


                                                  [b]dough proving on a thick face towel to absorb moisture[/b]


You will need to line your dough with baking paper when the shaped dough is loaded onto the baking stone or the chocolate will stain the stone.  Expensive chocolate or good quality chocolate chips are not necessary as they melt too easily; cheap cooking chocolate from supermarket works better.  If you are interested in my procedure, please see [b]here[/b].









                                                         [b]My son reluctantly gave one away as present.[/b]



MC 2009 December 2

I love the idea of mixing chocolate with pralines. I'll have to try it, maybe for Xmas brunch?

shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2009 December 2

Remember that chocolate sourdough we had at SFBI's Thorough Bakery in San Francisco?  Theirs is denser but fuller flavor; mine is lighter with higher hydration.  You may like that version better than my version.   I think in both cases, cold retard overnight is key.   (Or, one might say when a sourdough is loaded with chocolate, what retardation is needed?!)   With the two chocolate sourdoughs I have made so far, I like the first one better (the one with cocoa powder). 

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 December 3

That really lives up to its role! No birthday to celebrate (have a 15 yo daughter, *wink*), but, I want to make this!! Tomorrow, it is. Sniff...will have to sub the almond pralines with some plain nuts, though. Your 'light' recipe sounds perfect. Thanks!

MC 2009 December 3



...on SFBI's chocolate roll recipe. I since made the one from Amy's Breads. Totally decadent (and with commercial yeast) but really good! I'll try your version next. Thank you! 

I am sitting on the fence on this issue of using cocoa powder in the dough or not. I agree it gives the bread a more intense flavor, on the other hand I love the contrast between the bits of chocolate and the plain crumb. Maybe because it reminds me of the pieces of baguettes "stuffed" with 4 squares of chocolate that French (or at least Parisian) schoolkids got for a snack when they came home in the afternoon...

shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2009 December 3

... did it without cocoa powder this time - to have the contrast of chocolate chips against a plain crumb!   I am not aware that Amy's Bread has a chocolate bread (or rolls) recipe.  Can you please describe it for me briefly?  Thank you. 

shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2009 December 3

Let us know how you go with this bread.  If you do put in the 3% honey as in my formula, be careful of the oven temperature as the dough burns quite easily.  I used high heat initially to get the crust color I wanted, then turned the heat down after 12 - 15 minutes of baking, and then I still watched it like a hawk for the whole time of baking because my old oven sometimes is unpredictable.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 December 4

my desktop's graphics card has kaput...hubby will get a new one next week.

But, can't wait to rave about the bread. My dough didn't have cocoa in it and for nuts, I used brazil nuts. I split the dough into a big loaf and 2 smaller ones, baked the big guy last night as there wasn't enough fridge space. The crumb is really lovely, soft, moist, deeeelicious. I added 2 vanilla pods (read your blog, shiaoping), though, I have to say I can't really get the vanilla taste. I ate 2 slices without noticing, and, could have gone for the next.  I'll need to discipline myself to wake up earlier and work harder at exercising off* all these indulgences. Thanks, shiaoping! EPIC!! ;)




* have started line-dancing at the park. Never knew it'll be this fun.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2009 December 8

A challenge for me to post pix...with my current computer and line problems....but here it is, my version, not quite epic, but deeeelicious still. 


Line-dancing is where a group of people samba, rumba, cha-cha, country, hip-hop, and, what-have-you in a few lines/rows. Lots of fun if you have a 60-plus yo teacher with a 16 yo's energy and enthusiasm. Great work out.

toni55 2010 November 7

Hi Shiao-Ping,

Beautiful breads! Out of all the things a 16 year old son could ask for, this bread must really be special!

 I have a question about the almonds you used. Do you mean almonds that have a hard candy type coating on  them?



shiao-ping's picture
shiao-ping 2010 November 21

Yes, it is the hard candy type.  You will find that the candy will melt during fermerntation and baking, providing more food for the yeasts. The bread will not taste sweet except for the chocolate chips you put in.  In fact, any almonds will be fine for the recipe. 

Happy baking!



usababyyaya8's picture
usababyyaya8 2012 May 13

Within 2 days I made 3 batches (9 loaves in all) using my Nancy Silverton starter. I made the bread both with and without the almond pralines & it received rave reviews both ways...not a crumb was left! 

Hilaryk 2013 January 28



Your bread looked so good that I planned to make it last weekend.  However, the dough is far from stiff.  It is very glossy and a bit sloppy, although it does seem to have nice holes.  I couldn't do a true fold but I did my best and I did it by hand so I didn't overwork the gluten.    It is possible that I just made a major error in the ingredients but is there anything else that I should have been careful about with this type of loaf?  I have poured it into a loaf tin to continue proofing - I won't let it win!



Hilaryk 2013 January 30

So, my bread did get baked and it seems to taste OK but I still have no idea what I did wrong :-(

Oh dear - I will have to make another. :-)

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