In this Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate, I combine the tangy notes of rye sourdough with the sweet balsamic-liquorice-umami addictiveness from the Black Garlic, adding cocoa, which supports the fruity notes and adds depth. The espresso heightens the chocolate flavour even more And a few secret ingredients will give you a crusty, chewie loaf reminding you of the best German artisan bakeries and their “Bauernbrot” with a twist.
Admittedly, thinking about garlic, doesn’t usually bring chocolate to mind, but once you’ve tried Black Garlic, it’s really hard not to think about it. Having the shiny black nuggets in the Fridge brings about the most fun recipes. This started as an experiment after I made my Sourdough Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Black Garlic.
I loved them so much, I needed more Black Garlic with Chocolate recipes. And I wanted to make bread, and in my search I spotted this gem of a recipe, which is a white version with sourdough.
Personally, being German, I much prefer bread with rye, so I adapted it to get closer to my all-time favourite “Bauernbrot”, which has part rye, part white flour, and a more chewie, moist texture than white sourdough loafs. Adding malty notes with the malt extract and powder, which support the Black Garlic flavour and adds crunch to the crust is one of my favourite ways to improve bread recipes. It also keeps for longer in a bread box.
I’m mixing different flours together here, to achieve the flavour and texture I’m aiming for, which is a moister bread with more bite to it than your standard bubbly and open crumbed sourdough. Experimenting over the years, I found the magic happens around the 1/3 rye to 1-part white flour mark. Plus, a bit of wholewheat for nutty flavour.
I’m using rye sourdough starter here, for even more flavour. Though if you have just white, it will work fine.
Cocoa powder and espresso lend a gentle chocolate flavour. But this is not a sweet bread. You could compare it more to the undertones of Mexican mole, which goes fantastic with savoury dishes.
The Black Garlic acts as add-in similar to dried fruit here, but not as sweet, which again means it’s very versatile in what you can use it for.
And while the 2 malty additions of malt sirup and barley malt powder are by no means mandatory, they add lots of flavour to the bread and more crunch and colour to the crust.
The yeast only plays a supporting role here, to give the slightly heavier rye and wholewheat a bit of an extra lift.
What a Difference a Day Makes
If you need to make your first sourdough starter, check this post. If you already made one and are wondering why yours is reacting so differently on different days…I posted a picture of my two fed jars of fed sourdough in it. It was a slightly colder day in the the last post, so they weren’t as active.
On the day of making this Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate though, it was a lot warmer, so they were wildly bubbling. Also: These are the containers I keep them in while in the fridge. Because i can’t be trusted with jars that are moist from the fridge.
Schedule wise, I usually take my starter out of the fridge and feed it by simply doubling the amount I have left (or more if needed) by adding flour and water to equal parts in weight. Roughly. I never weigh it though. I just spoon some flour in, pour filtered water on top, stir. Check if the consistency resembles thick pancake batter/warm peanut butter and add flour or water accordingly if not. Then I let it sit over night. Or, if I forgot in the evening, just for a few hours. Both have worked well for me in the past. Though if you are making this in winter, better find a cosy warm spot for it.
How to make it
Now there are two options here to make this bread: You can follow the instructions below by stretching the dough after it’s first resting period every 30 minutes or so. Or you could simply treat it as no-knead bread, place it in the fridge overnight and only stretch and fold it once in the morning, about 2h before you want to bake. Then give it one final rest while it gets to room temperature.
The results are pretty similar. Check my German Sourdough Rye Beer bread for comparison pictures between the 2 methods.
The Stages of the Dough
As most rye containing doughs, this makes a pretty sticky one. So don’t throw extra flour at it, to get to the more typical smooth white sourdough. It’s supposed to be pretty wet as you can see here.
If you do add too much flour, you’ll end up with “Dwarf Bread”: You always find something better to eat and can use it instead of bricks to smack intruders over the head or build pretty sturdy houses with it. Have a wild guess how I found out…
This is how it looks after a few hours of fermenting.
Since this dough is so sticky, I usually cover a sheet of baking parchment with some semolina. You can use flour, as I did for this particular bread, to make the scoring more visible. Though semolina adds even more crunch, which I love. Your choice really. Then tip the dough out on it with help of a silicone spatula. Wet or flour your hands, then stretch and fold the dough in thirds 3 times, each time turning it by 90 degrees, to create some tension. Use your hands to form a round shape, pushing the dough underneath itself while doing so. The process here will give you that beautiful domed shape and add some rise. Do all of this gently, to not knock too much of the air out of it.
Once you are happy with the shape, you can either put it in a well floured bread basket or leave it on the parchment and transfer it back into it’s bowl. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel for its final 2h rest.
Now it’s finally time to bake! The reward is near.
Preheat your oven to it’s highest temperature. Add your cast iron pot/dutch oven, so it can preheat too.
Why Cast Iron Pot?
To get that perfect crunchy, but not too hard crust, you need steam. And since very few people I know have a professional convection oven that can produce steam on command (including me), I’m using my dutch oven/ Cast Iron pot for this. The lid keeps the moisture in and transforms it into steam for the first 20-30 minutes, which gives us the moisture we need. Then, taking the lid off, your bread will develop the beautiful crunchy sourdough crust we want.
How to Serve
This is an incredibly versatile bread, despite the unusual ingredients. I adore it with fresh, cold unsalted butter, when it’s still slightly warm. I know, I know, we are always told to let sourdough bread cool completely, but I’m not one to follow rules very well. So warm bread it is for me.
I also had it with a bit of apricot jam on top, which was a great contrast. And, oddly enough, a nutty gruyere and some blue cheese, both working incredibly well with the Black Garlic. Oh and, my all-time favourite “Grafschafter Goldsaft”. This is a German sugar beet sirup, which has similar fruity-umami notes to Black Garlic and goes fantastic with any slightly darker bread.
Note: None of the links in this post is sponsored or affiliated in any way. I just share what I use and like here.
Now excuse me while I go and research how to make proper German “Schwarzbrot”, which I’m dearly missing since more than 15 years. And I finally found a fantastic company in Ireland that has Emmer and Spelt berries! Their name is “Riot Rye” which in itself was enough reason to order from them. I’m so excited!
Before I forget it! Please let me know in the comments of you made this and how you liked it.
If this Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate seems to be a bit too “out there” due to the combination, try my German Sourdough Rye Beer Bread as an easy beginner sourdough recipe. It’s incredibly forgiving in its preparation and utterly delicious.
Black Garlic Sourdough Bread with Chocolate
- Dutch Oven/Cast Iron Pot with Lid
- 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast
- 1 cup + 3tbsp room temperature water
- 1.5 cup + 3 tbsp strong white flour
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp rye flour
- ¼ cup strong wholewheat flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp malt extract or honey
- 1 tsp malt powder optional. Gives a lovely crust and flavour
- 4 tbsp strong coffee or espresso
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- ½-1 cup peeled black garlic cloves depending on how much black garlic you have and like in your bread
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, instant dry yeast, malt extract (or honey), malt powder (if using) and room temperature water. Mix until well incorporated.
- Add the strong white flour, rye flour, and whole wheat flour to the bowl. Mix until you get a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. This resting period is called autolyze and helps develop the gluten.
- After 30 minutes, add the cocoa powder, and strong coffee or espresso to the dough. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Now, add the kosher salt and peeled black garlic cloves to the dough. Knead the dough until the salt and black garlic are well incorporated. You can do this by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
- Cover the dough again and let it ferment at room temperature for about 4 to 6 hours, or until it has doubled in size. During this time, perform a series of stretch-and-fold techniques every 30 minutes to strengthen the dough.
- Alternatively, you can cover the dough and leave it in the fridge overnight, without the stretches. That’s what I do most of the time and the bread comes out perfectly.
- After the fermentation period, gently shape the dough into a round loaf. Place it in a well-floured proofing basket or a lined bowl, seam side down. Cover the dough and let it proof for another 2 to 4 hours, or until it has visibly risen and feels airy.
- While the dough is in the final stages of proofing, preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) with a Dutch oven or a lidded oven-safe pot inside.
- Once the dough has finished proofing, carefully transfer it to the preheated Dutch oven or pot. You can do this by inverting the proofing basket onto a piece of parchment paper and gently sliding the dough into the hot pot. Alternatively, you can place the dough on parchment paper and lift the whole thing into the pot.
- Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife or razor to allow for controlled expansion during baking.
- Cover the Dutch oven or pot with its lid and place it in the preheated oven. Bake the bread for 20 minutes with the lid on.
- After 20 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread has a deep brown crust and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Once baked, remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.
Calories: Approximately 100-110
Fat: Approximately 0.5-1 gram
Protein: Approximately 3-4 grams
Carbohydrates: Approximately 21-22 grams
Fiber: Approximately 2-3 grams
Sugar: Approximately 0-1 gram