Chocolate Sourdough Bread – The Feathered Nester

Chocolate Sourdough Bread is a delicious sweet bread recipe made with sourdough starter, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips. Make it for the holidays or a special dessert that everyone will love. 

If you want something other than a dessert bread, make our classic Dutch oven sourdough bread. 

Loaf of chocolate sourdough bread in a pot with a white napkin.

Why We Love Chocolate Sourdough Bread

  1. A sweet way to use your sourdough starter.
    Have extra sourdough starter you’re not sure what to do with? Try this sweet version of your favorite bread. You can also try our sourdough cake or sourdough discard cinnamon rolls. 
  2. Kids love it!
    This semi-sweet dessert is perfect for kids in place of a slice of cake or other heavily sweetened option. Plus, they love it! 
  3. Perfect to make ahead.
    Since this bread can take from 4 up to 12 hours to rise, this is a great option for making ahead and eating the next day.  
Sliced chocolate sourdough bread on a cutting board.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions 

  • Sourdough starter: Be sure to feed your sourdough starter 12-24 hours before using it to make this chocolate chip sourdough bread recipe. 
  • Bread flour: You can use all-purpose or whole wheat flour as well. Substitute all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio. Substitute whole wheat flour by replacing ½ the all-purpose with whole wheat.  
  • Brown sugar: Substitute 2 tablespoons of honey for the brown sugar, if desired. 
  • Cocoa powder: We recommend using Dutch process cocoa powder for this sourdough dessert bread. 
  • Chocolate chips: This chocolate bread recipe uses semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can use milk or dark chocolate.  
Ingredients for chocolate sourdough bread in small glass bowls.

Chocolate Sourdough Bread Recipe Tips

  1. Make a shaggy dough.

    You’ll start this cocoa sourdough bread by combining the dry and wet ingredients in a bowl and mixing just until a shaggy dough forms.

    There’s no need to knead the dough at this point. Cover and let it rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten strands to strengthen before moving on.

Gently mixing dough in a bowl.
  1. Don’t knead!

    When working with sourdough starter, instead of kneading the bread as you normally would, you’ll stretch and fold instead.

    To do this, dump the dough onto a floured counter and coat your hands with flour as well.

    Then, stretch one-quarter of the dough and fold it back toward the center. Turn the bread and continue stretching and folding for about 15 seconds. Then return the dough to the bowl and cover for an additional rise.

Stretched and folded dough on a white surface.
  1. Let the dough rise until doubled and bubbly.

    The dough will rise over the course of 4-12 hours until it’s doubled in size and bubbly on top.

    The room temperature and level of humidity will affect the rising time.

    People in dry climates and high elevations should cover the bowl with plastic wrap for the bulk rise. People in cooler climates might want to invest in this warming mat for proofing.

Rising dough ball on a dark surface.
  1. Add the chocolate chips to the dough.

    After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface, fold in the chocolate chips, and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

    If you have trouble folding the chocolate chips into the dough, just tuck them into the dough before you pinch it closed.

Adding chocolate chips and folding into the dough.
  1. Prepare for final rise and baking.

    After adding the chocolate chips, put the dough in a Dutch oven, cover it, and let it rise for another 45 minutes. 

    Bake covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 20 minutes, and then remove the bread from the pan and place it directly on the rack for 5 minutes to crisp up the exterior.

    The bread is done cooking when the internal temperature reaches between 195-205°F.

    If you’re using a Dutch oven with a dark interior, we recommend insulating the bottom with a round silicone baking mat under the parchment paper.

    Or, you can place the pot on a baking sheet before baking. This helps prevent the bottom crust of the bread from becoming too dark.

Ball of dough in a towel lined bowl.

Chocolate Sourdough Bread FAQs 

Why are the chocolate chips melting while folding into the dough?

This happens if the dough is too warm. If you have trouble folding the chocolate chips into the dough, just tuck them into the dough before you pinch it closed.  A little bit of oozing chocolate after baking is normal and to be expected.

I live in a cool environment, how long should I expect it to take for the dough to rise?

Dough rises more quickly in warm and humid environments, but don’t worry, you can still make this chocolate chip bread with yeast. Rising times will vary according to your room temperature and humidity: at 80ºF about 4 hours; at 75ºF about 6 hours; at 70ºF about 8 hours; and at temperatures under the dough 70ºF can take up to 12 hours.

Can I refrigerate chocolate sourdough bread dough?

We don’t recommend refrigerating the dough because this can prevent it from rising enough.


Powdered bread in a white napkin.

Storing and Reheating 

Store sourdough bread at room temperature in a bread bag for up to 5 days, or see our post for other ways to store sourdough bread.

You can also freeze this bread in an airtight container or bag for up to three months. 

To thaw, leave it in the container or bag on the counter overnight or until it’s no longer frozen in the middle.

Baked sourdough bread on a white surface.
Sliced chocolate sourdough bread on a cutting board.

Chocolate Sourdough Bread


Chocolate Sourdough Bread is the perfect option for using leftover sourdough discard. Make this sweet bread recipe for a special occasion.


  • ½ cup (100 grams) sourdough starter fed 12-24 hours ahead
  • 1 ½ cups (350 grams) filtered water about 100º F.
  • 4 cups (500 grams) bread flour *see notes for substitutions
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) packed brown sugar *see notes to use honey
  • ½ cup (50 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (9 grams) coarse salt
  • ½ cup (100 grams) chocolate chips


To substitute honey for brown sugar, use 50 grams (2 tablespoons) of honey.
To substitute all purpose flour for bread flour, use a 1:1 ratio.
To substitute whole wheat flour for up to one half of the total amount of flour, substitute at a 1:1 ratio.

Rising times will vary according to your room temperature and humidity:
80ºF about 4 hours
75ºF about 6 hours
70ºF about 8 hours
Temperatures under 70ºF can take up to 12 hours.

Store bread at room temperature in a bread bag for up to 5 days, or read our post for other ways to store sourdough bread.


Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

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