Thursday, August 25, 2011

Deserted Island Chocolate Boule

Roasted chicken is the first of my three deserted island foods. But it has to be roasted already when you drop it from the airplane. You can't expect me to bother with making fire on top of being stranded. I'm stressed out enough already trying to figure out how to crack open coconuts.

Deserted island chocolate boule

The second thing that I will require is chocolate, a ration of both dark and milk please. I'm a complex woman, I'm sure you understand, and my needs are mercurial and utterly kaleidoscopic.

The last item that I should have in abundance, for the record, is dandelion greens.

Deserted island healthy whole wheat boule

Just because one is stranded does not mean that one should neglect one's health. Words of wisdom that I am sure I will regret once I'm actually stranded.

While I'm making this list, I will also need Taye Diggs, oh, and Jude Law (for when Taye gets sleepy), a pair of hip boots (don't ask), and a lifetime supply of TP.

But enough poppycock. Lets talk bread.

I am a huge fan of variety. Probably because I'm American and I'm used to having far too much. If less is more, then dammit, too much is obviously far better.

Which is just what I needed when I turned the Tartine page.

Up next was pain integral, and I have to be honest, I am still trying to shake the solemnity of my polenta bread from two posts back. Today I needed to add a little sweet variety to all of these brass tacks breads up ahead, today I needed something a little more...blithe.

So I decided that I should cash in one of my deserted island things. No, not dandelion greens (remind me why I chose them again), but bitter chocolate,71%, and after all was baked and done, I must say, I don't think that the fellas and I are going to miss civilization at all.

Have a look.

Whole wheat sourdough boules

Gather together the usual suspects in these quantities:

200g levain
800g + 50g h2o
700g KA whole wheat flour
300g KA all purpose flour
20g salt
250g good quality dark chocolate, I used 71%, chopped into chunky pieces

Make the levain:

In a bowl, mix 1 TB of your most active sourdough starter with 100g h2o and 50g each all purpose and whole wheat flours. Leave it on the counter over night. The next morning you will awaken to 200g of a lovely levain.

Make the dough:

Mix together the levain and 800g of the h2o. Add 700g whole wheat flour and 300g all purpose and mix well. Autolyse for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 Freshly mixed dough

Dough after 45 minute autolyse

Add the 20g of salt and additional 50g h2o to the dough and mix with your hand till fully incorporated. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Dough is already elastic after the autolyse

After the dough rests, divide it (if you are adding chocolate to one boule), and perform 4 series of turns at 0, 30, 60, 90 minutes. This is the first 2 hours of your fermentation.

Divided dough with chocolate added. This was taken after the turns were completed

 Whole wheat dough after turns

Pop the dough in the fridge for another two hours. You don't have to refrigerate your dough at this point, but it's been sweltering here, so I have to retard the fermentation or it will over-ferment in an hour and die.

 Both doughs after final 2 hour refrigerated fermentation

Take the dough out of the fridge and scrape it onto a workspace. I don't use flour when shaping my dough into boules.

Shape the dough into nice taut boules. If you added chocolate, be sure to pinch any exposed pieces back into the boule or it will burn later when it's baked.

Chocolate boule with tucked in pieces of chocolate

Whole wheat dough shaped into boule

Get the boules into bowls or bannetons with linens that have been dusted with rice flour.

Whole wheat dough with chocolate

Whole wheat dough

Pop the dough into the fridge and proof for 4 hours. You don't have to refrigerate your dough if it's not hot where you live. But I find that retarding the dough helps build flavor aside from controlling the proofing speed.

Fully proofed whole wheat dough

About 30 minutes before you plan to bake the bread, be sure to preheat your oven to 550 degrees, with your cast iron combo cookers inside. Position your baking stone in the upper third portion of your oven. The bottoms of my loaves burn if the racks are set too low/down toward the broiler.

Invert the dough onto a paddle dusted generously with rice flour so that it does not stick.

Score the dough.

Slide them into your preheated cast iron combo cooker and affix the lid so that the loaves will steam. Turn the heat down to 450 degrees (chad bakes his at 475, but I find that too hot, either that or my oven is really off).

Remove the lids of the combo cookers after 30 minutes.

Whole wheat dough after 30 minute steam

Whole wheat chocolate dough after 30 minute steam

Bake for another 30 minutes or so, or until the internal temp reads about 210 degrees.

Whole wheat sourdough with 71% dark chocolate

Whole wheat soudough, done

After an hour and a half, the chocolate was still gooey, so it smeared the bread. But I'm not complaining.

Whole wheat sourdough with 71% dark chocolate

Whole wheat sourdough


Crust: Thin and brittle. Lovely, really. Crumb: Tender and dense. Not as open as my first whole wheat sourdough boules. Flavor: Good, strong, earthy, wheaty flavor, a lovely complement to the chocolate. This bread would be great with manchego cheese, and it paired well with a fig jam that I recently made. Dough's ease of handling: Very easy. Bench notes: I would increase the hydration of this dough. Maybe in small increments to start, if you wanted to play around with crumb openness. I don't have an issue with a tighter crumb in general, in fact, I welcome it with breads that I want to use for sandwiches or jam. This one, however, I would like to see open up a little more. I also think that the texture could have been chewier, so I think that next time I will increase the fermentation time, and quite possibly the proofing. The longer ferment/proof would probably tame the really strong wheat flavor and add a more sour flavor, which I think that this bread could handle given its high whole wheat flour content.

To the staff of life!

Now off to Wild Yeast Blog's Yeast Spotting!

These loaves were derived from the formula in Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread book which can be purchased here.


  1. that is really funny, I can see you smashing coconuts together to start a fire.

    - oscar

  2. oh, that's right, i should take you with me to the deserted island. i will add you to my list of 'must haves' ; )

  3. WOW!

    Okay, so where does one get a sourdough starter. I am a bread novice....

  4. Zoe, i am writing a post with a photographic journey about starters. posting is dependent upon when it 'grabs hold' and starts flourishing, because i really want everyone to see what they should be looking for through the process. i was so in the dark, because none of the books that i have give day to day pix of how it all comes together. my starter took TWO WEEKS, maybe more, now that i think of it, and i thought i was doing it all wrong, then i made all of these adjustments, and voila! it worked. so, i want to make it concise, and then, i will teach you how to keep it alive, and reveal how small the effort really is for huge results. i love my starter. its like an old friend. and they really are far more forgiving than some people write about.

    stay tuned...

  5. I need to pick up this book again and try this bread! Looks fantastic.

  6. These breads are stunning! I'm probably going to have to come back and study this post (or else just buy the Tartine book!) to internalize all those tips about turning and autolyzing.

    Lovely. Thank you!

  7. Thank you Carissa and Lisa. I encourage the purchase of the book, for certain. And if you ever chance to visit San Francisco, do make the trek to Tartine. I fell in love with Tartine upon first bite. Chad and Elisabeth's energy is palpable in their beautiful establishment. And yes, start making bread! The rewards of so such are incomparable.

  8. This bread looks like bread I've been dreaming of!

  9. your breads are just so effin' great looking. i just ordered a combo cooker on amazon. must try myself to get bread that looks half this great. your dough looks great too, nice and soft and bubbly. makes me realize i'm not letting mine get nearly far enough along before i retard it.

    keep baking and posting great pix!



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