Chocolate Strawberry Sourdough Focaccia

Sourdough focaccia is one of my family’s favorite recipes. The crispy edges, the soft middle, the long fermentation process. We just love everything about it. And because we love it, I knew I needed to try a sweet version and see if it was something that needed to be in regular rotation at our house. No surprise – we all loved it. I think this chocolate strawberry sourdough focaccia bread was gobbled up even faster than it’s savory counterpart. No joke! Sweet strawberries, rich chocolate all nestled in a sweet dough with those same crispy edges and soft middle. If you haven’t tried a sweet sourdough focaccia yet, now’s the time!

Important Ingredients in Chocolate Strawberry Sourdough Focaccia:

  • Sourdough Starter: Use an active/ripe sourdough starter (doubled in size/bubbly/mild sour aroma) to mix the levain.
  • Sugar: This is a sweet focaccia bread. I put sugar in the focaccia dough for added sweetness and add sugar to the freeze-dried strawberries to add during the stretch and folds.
  • Bread Flour: I almost always use a 12.5% protein bread flour for my breads. This focaccia with it’s high water content needs to be paired with a strong flour. If you don’t have bread flour and substitute all purpose, you will need to reduce some of the water in the recipe.
  • Strawberries: This focaccia recipe uses sliced strawberries and FREEZE DRIED strawberries. An entire 1 oz bag of freeze dried strawberries is crushed into a fine powder, mixed with some granulated sugar and added into the dough during the stretch and fold process. This gives the focaccia a sweet strawberry flavor. Sliced strawberries are placed on top of the dough
  • Chocolate Chips: I like semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe. You can substitute for any favorite chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.
  • 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 strawberry 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 to the focaccia after it’s 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.

Sourdough Sample Schedule for Chocolate Strawberry 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 78 degrees F for about 3-4 hours until doubled/bubbly and ripe.
11:30 AMBulk Fermentation Begins
Mix together ripe levain, sugar, water, salt and bread flour
12:00 PMStretch & Fold #1
12:30 PMStretch & Fold #2
Add 1/2 strawberry-sugar mixture
1:00 PMStretch & Fold #3
Add second 1/2 of strawberry-sugar mixture and chocolate chips
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 78-80º F place until the dough is risen, airy, light and jiggly. Do not bake unless the dough is puffed up and aerated.
12:00 PMTop with sliced strawberries and melted butter. 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 before you mix the dough. It should take 3-4 hours to rise and peak if kept at 78-80ºF. Levain is ready when it has at least 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 ripe/mature starter
  • 35 grams warm water
  • 35 grams all purpose or bread flour

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

  • 5 grams of ripe/mature sourdough starter
  • 55 grams water
  • 55 grams all purpose or bread flour

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. Chances are you are going to be somewhere in the ballpark of 5-6 grams of starter, and it will work out just fine. Sourdough doesn’t have to be exact – it’s a method of learning to read your dough and its readiness.

This recipe uses CRUSHED freeze dried strawberries to give color and flavor to the strawberry focaccia dough. Take a 1 oz bag of freeze dried strawberries, leave them in the bag and crush them with a rolling pin (or give them a whirl in a blender) until they form a mostly-fine powder. Mix that powder with 70 grams of sugar to get the strawberry-sugar you will add to the dough.

Mixing Chocolate Strawberry Sourdough Focaccia Dough

Once the levain is ripe, bubbly and at least doubled in size, it’s time to mix the dough. Add the ripe levain, 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. A quick mix is really all it needs as we let the gluten strands form through the long fermentation process. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Bulk Fermentation: Stretch & Folds and Adding Inclusions

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 Inclusions: During the second stretch and fold add in half of the strawberry-sugar mixture, sprinkling it on top of the dough. Stretch and fold the mixture into the dough. Let it rest. On the third stretch and fold, add the other half of the strawberry-sugar mixture and the chocolate chips. Repeat the stretch and folds, mixing the inclusions into the dough. Let the dough rest and repeat the stretch and fold process one more time, incorporating the strawberry mixture and 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 of the pan well – add some melted butter if your pan is not non-stick – 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 strawberries and then bake.

Dimple and Decorate the Sourdough Focaccia Dough

The next day, a few hours before you’re ready to bake your chocolate strawberry sourdough focaccia, 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 sliced strawberries.

How to Make Heart-Shape Strawberries: I love making the strawberries on the top of this focaccia into heart shapes for a fun and festive treat. Think: Valentine’s Day, an Anniversary or just anytime you want to show someone you love them. Take a strawberry, slice the top off and then slice the strawberry in half. Cut a v shape out of the top part of the strawberry and then slice the strawberry into thin heart-shaped slices. Spread on top of your strawberry sourdough focaccia.

Baking Chocolate Strawberry Sourdough Focaccia

Bake the strawberry focaccia bread in a hot, pre-heated 425ºF oven for 25-30 minutes. The bottom of the focaccia should be cooked completely (crispy and not at all gummy). If it’s not crispy, let it bake a little bit longer. After the sourdough 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 strawberry sourdough focaccia?

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.

My focaccia stuck to the bottom of the pan. Help!

Make sure you’re use 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.

I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love a sweet sourdough focaccia recipe. But the textures, the flavors, the subtle sweetness – it won me over. This is going to be a family favorite for years to come. I hope you love it too!

Chocolate Strawberry Sourdough Focaccia

Amy
Crispy edges, a soft middle and the long sourdough fermentation process make this chocolate strawberry sourdough focaccia the perfect treat. Enjoy for breakfast or just when you want something sweet – give this 100% sourdough chocolate strawberry focaccia bread a try.
5 from 2 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 American, Italian
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

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

  • 35 grams ripe sourdough starter
  • 35 grams all purpose flour
  • 35 grams water

Strawberry Chocolate Focaccia Dough

  • 100 grams ripe, bubbly levain
  • 40 grams granulated sugar
  • 425 grams water
  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 10 grams salt

Mix In During Stretch and Folds

  • 30 grams freeze-dried strawberries crushed to a fine powder, about a 1 oz bag
  • 70 grams granulated sugar
  • 175 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips

Proofing and Topping the Dough

  • 50 grams olive oil light flavored, see recipe notes
  • 30 grams unsalted butter melted for the top
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sliced strawberries for topping the dough

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 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.

Strawberry Chocolate Focaccia Dough

  • To a bowl add 100 grams levain, 40 grams sugar, 425 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.
  • Prepare the mix-ins. Crush the freeze dried strawberries to a fine powder. Mix 70 grams granulated sugar with the crushed strawberries. Measure 170 grams chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and set aside.
  • Stretch and Fold #2:  Wet your hands. You will notice the dough is stronger than your first set of folds. Sprinkle half of the freeze-dried strawberry/sugar mixture over the top of the dough. Repeat the stretch and folds. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  • Stretch and Fold #3: Wet your hands. Sprinkle the rest of the strawberry/sugar mixture over the top of the dough. Add the chocolate chips. Perform 3-4 stretch and folds, mixing the inclusions 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 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, slice the strawberries and 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 the top and work your way down the dough until the entire focaccia is dimpled and bubbly. Place sliced strawberries on top of the dough and spread the last of the melted butter on top of the strawberries and dough.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly, crispy and light golden brown on top and the baked focaccia registers 200ºF. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Let focaccia cool before slicing.
  • Chocolate Drizzle: Add chocolate chips and heavy cream to a microwave safe container. Microwave in 10-20 second increments, stirring 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 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 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.
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 strawberry focaccia dough.
Strawberry Flavor: This recipe calls for an entire 1 oz package of freeze dried strawberries which you crush into a powder and add into the focaccia. This gives a subtle strawberry flavor to the focaccia. If you want more strawberry flavor, add some diced strawberries into the dough during stretch and folds.
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.
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7 Comments

  1. Hi! Could I let the bread cold ferment longer than overnight? Like if I assemble and stretch and fold and ferment today (Saturday), and then bake Monday morning would that be ok?

  2. I know you have a young family and are super busy, but I would love it so much if you could have just a print format for your recipes. I hate having to scroll through endless ads. I would think there would be more people like me who would gladly even pay to be able to print an actual recipe. I think all of the bakers out there like yourself who gives us these wonderful recipes for free who could make a little money giving us a print version as an option. I’d be glad to pay a few dollars for a recipe!

    1. I have just updated my site and am continuing to work on it. Recipes will have a jump to recipe button at the top so you can skip the extra information if you want to. The recipe card has a print feature you can click to print out the recipe.