foodgeek's diary


Pane al Cioccolato - Italian Chocolate Bread

Posted by foodgeek on March 29, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Thank you Jude, the blogger of, for sharing the recipe! This particular bread will definitely be baked again in my kitchen! I stumbled upon the recipe at months ago, and you'd think, as much as I love chocolate that I would have made it right away! For some reason or another I kept putting it off and putting it off until I finally found the time to make it this weekend. I am a major dark chocolate fanatic so you can just assume that this one is tops on my list of favorite breads. It was quite fun to make! I could smell the cocoa powder and chocolate chips as I was kneading the dough - by hand as my mixer is still not back for repairs :(. The house smelled amazing as it was baking. I followed Jude's recipe exactly as shown on the page above and they turned out beautifully. I only wish I would have doubled the recipe as I would want to share this bread with many of my friends and colleagues. This was the perfect opportunity for me to use my sourdough starter that is growing and growing and about to take over my entire refridgerator! Only thing is that it only needed 1 ounce of the starter...anyone like to to have some of my sourdough starter?


First, you make the "Biga Naturale" or , in English, Wild Yeast Starter:



1 oz / 28 grams starter

1/4 cup / 1.125 oz / 32 grams bread flour

.625 or 18 grams water, at room temperature



In a small bowl, mix the biga naturale ingredients until the ingredients are evenly distributed and cover. Let the wild yeast starter ferment at room temperature for about 8 hours before using in the final dough. I left it on the counter overnight. In the future, I might just use my existing sourdough in the the required total weight to cut down on time.


The biga naturale after mixing...


The biga naturale after fermentation of at least 8 hours:


Next, make the final dough...



all of the biga naturale, cut into small pieces

3 cups / 13.875 oz / 248 grams bread flour

1 1/8 cups / 8.75 oz / 248 grams water

4 tbsp / 2.5 oz / 71 grams honey

1 tbsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp / .875 oz / 25 grams cocoa powder

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 tbsp / .375 oz / 10 grams kosher salt

2.75 oz / 78 grams chocolate chips (added towards the end of kneading)



Mix all of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) until evenly incorporated. Knead for abut 8 to 10 minutes either by hand or using a mixer. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes.


Add the chocolate chips and knead for about another until the chocolate chips are thoroughly

incorporated. This should only take a minute using a mixer, but it took me about 3 minutes doing it by hand. Good exercise!


Let the dough ferment for 2 hours at room temperature in a lightly oiled bowl. It should almost double in size.


before...                                                                          after...



Divide the dough into 2 pieces, about 1 lb/454 grams each or into 4 pieces about 8 oz each. Shape each piece into a light ball and let rest about 20 to 30 minutes.


Shape each piece into a boule or batard and set them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. cover with a lightly oiled plastic wrap and final proof for 3 hours at room temperature.



Preheat the oven to 400ºF/204ºC.


Score the dough with 2 or 3 slashes.



Jude's instructions indicate to place a heavy steam pan (preferably cast iron) filled with 1 cup of boiling water in the oven. I simply sprayed the oven walls with water for steam just before placing the dough into the oven (middle rack).


Bake at 400ºF/204ºC for 20 minutes. Rotate the loaves if necessary and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.


The finished bread out of the oven should have a crust that sounds hollow when you tap it. It should also register at about 200ºF with an instant thermometer.



Cool for about 1 hour..



Had it with some rice milk. It would be great with coffee or chai latte as well. A sperad of Nutella will take it just over the top! Love this bread!!






Categories: Breads

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Reply cakebrain
12:55 AM on May 11, 2010 
This looks so professionally made! it has dark chocolate so it must be yummy! I love the idea of putting chocolate in bread. I remember when I was on my bread kick, keeping alive a starter in my fridge and feeding it regularly. It was like a pet! I have kids now, so bread making isn't happening. I ought to bookmark this though. Looks amazing!
Reply foodgeek
6:05 PM on April 21, 2010 
Thank you, Naomi! Yes, I am having a couple slices as we speak with mochaccino. Chocolate on chocolate...heaven!
Reply Naomi
5:59 PM on April 21, 2010 
Wow. Wow. Love your breads. I am a terrible and bread baker, but I'm going to try this recipe. I love chocolate anything.
Reply foodgeek
8:14 PM on April 19, 2010 
Indeed, mine too! It's a good breakfast bread. Good with coffee or tea. I would make this again.
Reply Trissa
5:52 PM on April 19, 2010 
So this has got cocoa powder AND chocolate chips? A bread after my own heart!