Chocolate Sourdough Focaccia Bread

I am a self-proclaimed chocolate lover. I love almost anything with chocolate, and this chocolate sourdough focaccia is no exception. I’ve been making regular sourdough focaccia for years (my recipe here was a viral hit), but I decided it was time to make a sweet chocolate version. You guys, this does not disappoint! Full of rich chocolate flavor with the crispy texture of focaccia and the soft chocolatey middle, this chocolate sourdough focaccia bread recipe is incredibly decadent and delicious. Toast it for a morning breakfast or enjoy as an after-dinner treat – however you choose to eat it, if you like chocolate, you’re going to love this chocolate sourdough focaccia.

Ingredients in Chocolate Sourdough Focaccia Bread

  • Sourdough Starter: Use an active/ripe sourdough starter (doubled in size/bubbly/mild sour aroma) to mix the levain.
  • Cocoa Powder: This recipe calls for a Dutch-processed cocoa powder or a dark cocoa powder for a rich chocolate flavor.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil makes the crumb of this focaccia bread very soft. Warm the coconut oil and mix the cocoa powder in with it to help bloom the cocoa powder. You can substitute the coconut oil for any neutral-flavored oil.
  • Sugar: This is a sweet focaccia bread. I put sugar in the focaccia dough for added sweetness and to counteract the bitter cocoa powder.
  • Bread Flour: I almost always use a 12.5% protein bread flour for my breads. With its high water content, this focaccia needs to be paired with a strong flour. If you don’t have bread flour and substitute all-purpose, you will need to reduce the amount of water in the recipe.
  • Chocolate Chips: I like semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe, but you can substitute for any favorite chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Milk chocolate would make the focaccia sweeter, while a semi-sweet or dark chocolate would give it a richer taste.
  • Olive Oil & Butter: Typically, focaccia is baked with olive oil drizzled on the bottom of the pan and on top of the focaccia, giving it a crispy crust that tastes delicious. This focaccia uses olive oil on the bottom of the pan and melted butter for the top of the chocolate focaccia dough for a richer flavor. Use unsalted butter and a light-tasting olive oil so the olive flavor does not overpower the focaccia bread.
  • Chocolate Drizzle: Adding a chocolate drizzle after it has baked makes this focaccia extra chocolatey and delicious. This is an optional step. Make a chocolate drizzle from chocolate and heavy cream. Add it to a piping bag and drizzle all over the top of the baked focaccia bread. I do this and love it.

Sourdough Sample Schedule for Chocolate Sourdough Focaccia Bread

A sample baking schedule helps me when baking with sourdough. I’ve been baking sourdough for over a decade and this schedule helps me plan my bake. Please Note: This schedule assumes the dough temperature is 78-80ºF throughout the process.

Day 1Mixing/Bulk Fermentation/Shaping
8:00 AM – 11:30 AMMix Levain. Let sit at 78ºF for about 3-4 hours until doubled/bubbly and ripe
11:00 AMBloom Cocoa Powder
11:30 AMBulk Fermentation begins
Mix together ripe levain, bloomed cocoa powder, sugar, water, salt and bread flour
12:00 PMStretch & Fold #1
12:30 PMStretch & Fold #2
Add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1:00 PMStretch & Fold #3
1:30 PMStretch & Fold #4
1:30 PM4:00 PMBulk Fermentation continued
4:00 PMPlace dough into an oiled pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 48 hours.
Day 2Proof and Bake
8:00 AM – 12:00 PMPull dough out of the refrigerator. Let rest/rise in a warm 78-80ºF place until the dough is risen, airy, light and jiggly.
12:00 PMTop with melted butter and more chocolate. Bake.

Making a Levain

1:1:1 Levain (ready in 3-4 hours/same day): This recipe calls for a levain mixed the same day you mix the dough. It should take 3-4 hours until it’s ready to be mixed with the dough, if you keep the levain temperature at 78ºF. Levain is ready when it has doubled in size, has lots of bubbles, a slightly sour aroma and is just about to start going down from its peak height. Mix together:

  • 35 grams of ripe/mature starter
  • 35 grams of warm water
  • 35 grams of bread flour

If you prefer to mix the levain the night before, you can mix a 1:10:10 Levain that is ready in 10-12 hours or overnight if kept at 78-80ºF. Mix together:

  • 5 grams of ripe/mature sourdough starter
  • 55 grams white bread flour
  • 55 grams water

Note: To make it a true 1:10:10 ratio, it would be 5.5 grams of ripe/mature starter and 55 grams bread flour, 55 grams water. If you use somewhere in the ballpark of 5-6 grams of starter, it will work out just fine. Sourdough doesn’t always have to be exact – it’s a method of learning to read your dough and its readiness.

Bloom the Cocoa Powder

“Blooming” cocoa powder in this recipe is a process of mixing hot oil with cocoa powder before adding it to the recipe. This process helps the cocoa powder release its full flavor potential. It deepens the flavor and makes the chocolate flavor more intense. I use this method in my chocolate sourdough artisan bread which is a true fan favorite recipe, and it works well in this chocolate focaccia too. About an hour before mixing the dough, warm the coconut oil and cocoa powder together over the stove or in the microwave. It doesn’t need to come to a boil, but should be fairly warm. Stir together until it forms a liquid and let cool completely before using in the recipe.

Mixing the Chocolate Sourdough Focaccia Dough

Once the levain is ready, it’s time to mix the dough. Add the ripe levain, cooled bloomed cocoa mixture, water, sugar, salt and bread flour to a bowl. Mix together with a dough whisk or your fingers until a sticky dough forms. Remember, this is a higher hydration recipe (over 80%), so it’s going to be fairly sticky. It is also a dough that rises in a pan and doesn’t need a whole lot of extra strengthening, so a quick mix is all it really needs as we let the gluten strands form through the long fermentation process. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Bulk Fermentation: Stretch & Folds, Adding in Chocolate

Stretch and Folds: Over the course of the next 2 hours, perform sets of “stretch and folds”. Stretch and folds are what we do to a high hydration dough instead of kneading it. It helps the gluten strands align in a gentle way. To stretch and fold, wet your hand (so it doesn’t stick to the dough). Reach down to the bottom of the bowl of dough and pull the dough up and over the top of the dough. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the stretch and fold. Turn another quarter turn and repeat. Perform one more quarter turn with stretching and folding the dough. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. You will repeat this process a total of 4 times over a 2 hour period. You can watch a video of how to stretch and fold here.

Adding Chocolate Chips: During the second stretch and fold is when I like to add in the chocolate chips. Before stretching and folding the dough, add the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate on top of the dough. Stretch and fold the dough as you would, letting the chocolate start to incorporate into the dough. Let the dough rest and repeat the stretch and fold process another two times, resting and folding after each set. This process will incorporate the chocolate into the dough.

Bulk Fermentation: Rise & Shape

Let the dough rise in a warm 78-80ºF place until it is puffed up, jiggly, has a few bubbles around the edges and is doming toward the center of the bowl. The dough should have risen about 30-40%. At that time you can shape it and place it into your baking pan. Oil the bottom well and then stretch your dough into the pan. It’s okay if it doesn’t stretch out and fill the pan right away. Give it a little rest and then stretch it some more. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an overnight cold fermentation. If you have trouble with the dough sticking to the plastic wrap, add a little bit of oil to the top of the dough before covering it. The cold fermentation brings flavor, color and helps you plan your bake. I’ve also found it makes the texture even more soft and fluffy.

If you prefer to bake the focaccia the same day without an overnight rise, let the dough continue to rise in the pan for 3-4 hours at a warm temperature. Once it’s risen, aerated and very jiggly, that is when you want to dimple the dough, top it with melted butter and more chocolate and bake it.

Dimple and Decorate Focaccia Dough

The next day, a few hours before you’re ready to bake your chocolate focaccia bread, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Place it in a warm spot (78-mid 80ºF) and let the dough rise until puffed up, aerated and jiggly. The key to a light, airy and bubbly focaccia is letting the dough rise long enough to have large air bubbles in it. This will take more or less time depending on the temperature of your dough as it’s rising. Once it’s risen, spread the top with some melted butter. Dimple the dough with your fingers and top with good-quality chopped or shaved chocolate.

Bake the Chocolate Sourdough Focaccia Bread

Bake this chocolate sourdough focaccia bread in a pre-heated 425ºF oven for 25-30 minutes. Because this focaccia is darker in color thanks to the cocoa powder, it may be more difficult to see when it’s browned and finished, so watch carefully. The bottom of the focaccia should be cooked completely (crispy and not at all gummy). If it’s not, let it bake a little bit longer. After the focaccia is baked all the way through, let it sit in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Let the focaccia cool a little before slicing and serving. I like to drizzle an optional chocolate drizzle on top of the focaccia before serving for an extra chocolate flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover chocolate focaccia bread?

Slice focaccia into individual portion-sized pieces. Freeze in an air-tight container or ziplock bag for 1-2 months. When you want a piece, toast it or warm it up a little bit to get the chocolate melty before enjoying.

The focaccia bread stuck to the bottom of the pan. Help!

Make sure you’re using a good-quality non-stick metal pan. I’ve been using the same USA pans for years and love them. If your pan is not non-stick, try adding some melted butter in with the olive oil on the bottom of the pan. This can help grease your pan appropriately so it won’t stick. Another option is to add some parchment paper to the bottom of your pan. Top the parchment with the olive oil, then put the focaccia dough on top of that.

My focaccia wasn’t baked on the bottom. What did I do wrong?

This can happen from uneven baking and not using the right pan. Make sure you use a metal, non-stick pan and increase the baking time a little. Make sure nothing is blocking the heat coming from the bottom of the oven. This is not the time to use a baking stone or baking sheet to stop the bottom from burning. You want a crispy focaccia bread – not a soft bottom. If you don’t use a metal pan, you may need to increase the heat or bake the focaccia bread for a longer period of time.

How sweet is this sourdough chocolate focaccia recipe?

This is a sweet recipe. I don’t think it’s overly sweet, but it is meant to be eaten as a sweet breakfast option or even served with dessert. If you use milk chocolate, your focaccia will turn out sweeter. With dark chocolate, it will taste more rich and less sweet. You can adjust the sweetness based on the chocolate you use.

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Chocolate Sourdough Focaccia Bread

Amy
Full of rich chocolate flavor, chocolate sourdough focaccia bread has the same crispy texture with a soft chocolatey middle. Don't let the long fermentation process scare you off, this chocolate focaccia bread is easy to make and incredibly decadent and delicious.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Fermentation Time 1 day 4 hours
Total Time 1 day 4 hours 55 minutes
Course Focaccia Bread
Cuisine Italian/American
Servings 1 9 by 13 pan of focaccia

Ingredients
  

Levain (1:1:1 about 3-4 hours at 78ºF)

  • 35 grams sourdough starter ripe, bubbly, active
  • 35 grams all-purpose flour
  • 35 grams water

Chocolate Focaccia Dough

  • 20 grams cocoa powder see recipe notes
  • 20 grams coconut oil see recipe notes
  • 100 grams levain ripe, bubbly, active
  • 40 grams granulated sugar
  • 420 grams water
  • 10 grams salt
  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 175 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate see recipe notes

Proofing and Topping the Dough

  • 50 grams olive oil light flavored, see recipe notes
  • 30 grams unsalted butter melted for the top
  • 60 grams chopped chocolate for topping the dough

Chocolate Drizzle (if desired)

  • 40 grams chocolate chips or chopped chocolate about 1/4 cup
  • 20 grams heavy cream about 1 Tablespoon

Instructions
 

Day 1 Mix Levain (1:1:1 about 3-4 hours at 78ºF)

  • Mix together 35 grams ripe sourdough starter with 35 grams water and 35 grams flour. Cover and let sit for 3-4 hours at 78ºF until doubled in size, bubbly and active.

Chocolate Focaccia Dough

  • Bloom Cocoa Powder: About an hour before mixing the dough, warm the coconut oil and cocoa powder together over the stove or in the microwave. Let cool completely before using in the recipe.
  • To a bowl add 100 grams ripe and active levain, 40 grams sugar, all of the bloomed cocoa mixture, 420 grams water, 10 grams of salt and 500 grams bread flour. Mix together with a dough whisk or spoon until a sticky dough forms. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Stretch and Fold #1: Uncover the dough and perform a set of stretch and folds. To “stretch and fold,” wet your hand (so it doesn’t stick to the dough). Reach down to the bottom of the bowl of dough and pull the dough up and over the top of the dough. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the stretch and fold. Turn another quarter turn and repeat. Perform one more quarter turn with stretching and folding the dough. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. You can watch a video of the process here. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Stretch and Fold #2: Wet your hands. You will notice the dough is stronger than your first set of folds. Sprinkle chocolate chips or chopped chocolate over the dough. Repeat the stretch and folds, adding in the chocolate chips as you fold. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  • Stretch and Fold #3: Wet your hands. Perform 3-4 stretch and folds, continuing to mix the chocolate into the dough. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  • Stretch and Fold #4: Repeat the last set of stretch and folds. Cover and rest at 78ºF for 1.5-2 hours until the dough has risen, is starting to dome and has a few scattered bubbles around the edges. Note, the dough will not double in size at this point, but it will rise 30-40%.
  • After the long bulk rest, prepare a 9 by 13 metal baking pan (my favorite here, affiliate link) with 1/4-1/3 cup good-quality light olive oil. Pour the oil in the pan and tip the pan around to cover the entire bottom. If your pan has issues with dough sticking, add a little melted butter with the olive oil or put some parchment paper down before the oil.
  • Turn the dough out into the pan and stretch slowly to fill the edges of the pan. Pull up gently on the underside of the dough to stretch it into place. If it doesn't want to stretch, let the dough rest for a minute and then try again.
  • Cover the pan with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge to rest overnight. For a same-day bake, let the focaccia rise in the pan at warm room temperature for a few hours until puffed up, jiggly and risen. Proceed with topping and baking.

Day 2

  • Take the pan of dough out of the refrigerator and set on the counter. Let it come to room temperature and rise (3-5 hours at 78-80ºF). The focaccia dough will begin to bubble up, become light, airy and fill out the pan.
  • Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  • After the dough is puffed up, jiggly and aerated with air bubbles, melt the butter for topping the focaccia. Take 1 Tablespoon of melted butter (about 15 grams) and lightly spread it over the top of your focaccia dough. Take your fingers and gently dimple the dough. Start at one end and work your way across the dough until the entire focaccia is dimpled and bubbly. Sprinkle roughly chopped chocolate from your favorite chocolate bar on top of the dimpled dough.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly, crispy and the baked focaccia registers an internal temperature of 200ºF. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool before slicing.
  • Chocolate Drizzle: If you want even more chocolate flavor in this chocolate focaccia, make a chocolate drizzle. Add chocolate chips and heavy cream to a microwave-safe container. Microwave in 10-20 second increments, stirring in between each time until chocolate and cream are melted and form a smooth ganache. Drizzle ganache over the focaccia and enjoy! If your ganache is too thick, add a little more cream to thin it, until you reach desired texture. This can also be done on a stovetop where you warm the cream and add it to the chocolate, stirring until smooth.

Notes

Sourdough Starter: I make a levain for all of my sourdough recipes because it gives me more consistent results. If you don’t want to use that method, you can substitute ripe, bubbly, active sourdough starter for the same amount of levain.
Bread Flour: This is a high hydration recipe. If you choose to use a flour with a lower protein content than bread flour (lower than 12.5%), you will want to decrease the water in the recipe.
Cocoa Powder and Coconut Oil:Blooming the cocoa powder in warm coconut oil brings out the rich flavor of the cocoa. I recommend a Dutch-processed or a dark cocoa powder in this recipe.
Olive Oil: Choose an olive oil that is light in flavor and taste. An extra-virgin olive oil often has more olive flavor than a light-tasting olive oil which can transfer over to the chocolate focaccia dough.
Chocolate: Use a good quality chopped chocolate or chocolate chips to add into your dough. I like semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can use any chocolate that you prefer.
Find all of the tools I use for making this sourdough focaccia linked on my Amazon storefront.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have been making sourdough for over a year now and I have to say this is one of my top favorite recipes I have come across! The flavor was incredible and the texture was spot on! Thanks so much for great instructions will be trying other recipes!

  2. 5 stars
    This is an amazing chocolate bread! My schedule didn’t let me bake on day two, therefore, I had to bake on day three. It was fabulous. I used black Cocoa and mini semi-sweet chips. My husband was crazy about it!!!