Irish Mist Soaked Sour Cherry Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cocoa Sourdough

Irish Mist Soaked Sour Cherry Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cocoa Sourdough

This is my first time with this recipe I put together.  Based on Dan and JC’s experiences with cocoa sourdough I’m hoping that my formula is a good tasting cocoa bread.  I used the usual 2% salt rather than lowering it because salt had hide bitterness.  I’ve added a bit more honey to try to balance the bitterness of cocoa.  I used a rich Dutch processed cocoa again with the alkalinization to help reduce acidity.  I added semisweet chocolate chunks and I used dried sour cherries that I soaked overnight in Irish Mist liqueur.  For those unfamiliar with Irish Mist it is made from aged Irish whiskeyheather and clover honey, aromatic herbs, and other spirits, blended to an ancient recipe claimed to be 1,000 years old.  The left over soak was so flavorful that I added it back to the bottle of Irish Mist, the sour cherry going so well with this liqueur.

Because the tannins in the cocoa tighten the gluten and increase the elasticity of the dough, I attempted to counter that by adding spelt to the dough and also using a relatively high hydration for a dough with only 20% whole grain.

Despite my alterations to the recipe hoping to increase extensibility the dough proved to be quite elastic.  So much so I was only able to do half coil folds most of the time.  Next bake I would consider using 10% protein all purpose to replace the bread flour, this dough doesn’t require the extra strength of the 13.3% protein bread flour we have here in Canada.


For one 900 g loaf 90% hydration 

300 g white bread flour.              80%

41 g whole spelt flour (for added extensibility)             20% (including levain)

205 g water     (Next time 225 g and hold back water back down to 20 g)

40 g water for mixing later

6.75 g salt  

30 g cocoa powder alkalinized (Dutch Process) 8% cooked with 60 g water to make a syrup, then added 20 g honey to balance the bitterness of the chocolate

70 g levain   


20 g Honey 5.3%

70 g Chopped 60% semi sweet dark chocolate 20%


Total flour 376 g

Total water 320 g for 85% hydration 

Since added 40 g water during bassinage 90% hydration


68 g dried sour cherries 20% soaked in rum (or kirsch or Irish Mist) overnight

34 g toasted hazelnuts chopped 10% (consider dec to 10-15%)


Levain build 1:7:7 for overnight 74ºF


5 g starter + 35 g water + 35 g spelt


Overnight saltolyse


Bulk Fermentation 80-82ºF 

Add levain to dough, pinching along with hold out water, Rubaud for a few minutes then 700 French folds fully develop gluten.  

  1. + 30 min Bench letterfold, set up aliquot jar
  2. + 30 mins Lamination.  Place dough on wet counter and spread out into a large rectangle. Spread walnuts and cranberries on the dough in thirds. 
  3. + 30 min half Coil Fold
  4. + 30 min half Coil Fold
  5. + 30 min Coil Fold
  6. + 30 mins Coil Fold
  7. + 30 mins coil fold
  8. + 45 mins coil fold


End of BF – Shaping aliquot jar 60% or greater – the bench rest until aliquot 70% or greater.


Retard Overnight



Preheat oven 500ºF with dutch oven inside

Once 500ºF remove dough from banneton and score as desired.


Transfer to dutch oven placing the lid on top place in over lower ⅓ of the oven.  Turn oven temperature to 450ºF. Bake for 20 mins.  The drop temperature to 420ºF and continue to bake for 10 mins lid on.  Then remove lid and continue to bake in the dutch oven lid off for 10 mins further.  Remove bread from dutch oven and bake directly on the oven rack for another 10-20 mins until fully baked.




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