Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sourdough Pain Noir #BreadBakers

This 100% sourdough Pain Noir is stuffed with chocolate, pecans and dates and baked cloche style for an impossibly crispy crust. It is begging for a smear of jam!

Sourdough Pain Noir

I adore sourdough bread. Given the choice, I would pick a loaf made with wild yeast, carefully cultivated for years and slowly leavening dough far and above the fanciest straight-dough loaf. Even things like cinnamon rolls and Chelsea buns get a boost when a little tang is added to the mix. The only thing I probably like in baking more than sourdough is chocolate. Give me some good dark stuff or a scoop of cocoa powder, and I am a happy, happy woman.

So of course, it was natural for me to want to combine the two for this month's Bread Bakers event! This month, the #BreadBakers were challenged to make a bread with either a sourdough starter, a poolish, a biga, a soaker or tangzhong. Obviously, since I had a good ol' starter hanging out in the fridge, I used that, but 75g each of flour and water, plus a pinch of yeast left overnight at room temperature would likely do the trick nicely too. To fulfill my desire for chocolate, I added not only did cocoa powder and chocolate to my lovely, tart sourdough, but dates and pecans fell into the mix too. While there is some sugar in the loaf (cocoa is bitter after all) the bread is in no way cloyingly sweet or "dessert-y". Rather, those I served it to preferred it with either a smear of cream cheese or tart cherry jam (or both) for breakfast, and toasted with salted butter for a snack. Either way, I was glad that it is baked "cloche-style" (AKA in a Dutch oven), because it kept the smell mediated... until you opened the oven!

If you'd like to create your own sourdough starter, you'll start about a month in advance (mine's been going for 9 years!). Here is a great source to get you going and here's how to keep it going. Now, a biga or poolish is not a sourdough starter, but it's similar in that its a mixture of flour, water, and yeast (in this case it's added, rather than wild, yeast). Like sourdough, it's made in advance to develop flavor. A soaker is typically cereals or rye that is soaked in boiled water a day in advance and then added to the bread, so that they don't break your teeth and insome cases are more nutritious.

The odd one out (and the only one I've never tried) is tangzhong. A tangzhong is a mixture of flour and water that is heated to 64 C, cooled, and added to the dough to soften the dough.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

Here's what our group baked up this month:

Sourdough Pain Noir
Makes one large loaf, 20 - 24 slices
150g recently fed 100% hydration sourdough starter
1 cup lukewarm brewed coffee
1 cup lukewarm water
⅓ cup sugar
1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups white bread flour
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ tbsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp pecan or canola oil
⅓ cup chopped pecans
⅓ cup diced dates
¼ cup cacao nibs
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl, combine the starter, coffee, water, sugar, agave and vanilla.
  2. Stir in the flours and cocoa powder until well combined. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 1 hour.
  3. Add the salt, oil, pecans, dates, cacao nibs and chocolate chips, mixing with your hands or the paddle on a stand mixer until incorporated.
  4. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and let rise 1 hour. Stretch and fold the dough, re-cover and let rise 1 hour.
  5. Repeat stretch-and fold process, then cover and let rise undisturbed for about 4-6 hours, until almost doubled.
  6. Shape into a boule and place dough onto a sheet of parchment, cover with a bowl and let rise 4 hours (up to overnight), until 1 ½ times its size.
  7. Place a cast-iron Dutch oven in the oven and heat to 400F.
  8. When heated, generously coat the inside of the Dutch oven with cooking spray.
  9. Uncover the boule and lower the loaf on the sheet of parchment into the pot.
  10. Bake (with the lid on) for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and bake an additional 40 minutes, until the internal temperature reads about 200 F.
  11. Remove the bread from the oven and cool in the pot for 10 minutes. Remove carefully to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 162.9

  • Total Fat: 4.0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 1.9 mg
  • Total Carbs: 30.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
  • Protein: 4.7 g

Sourdough Pain Noir


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