Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Loaves

Orange Chocolate Soft Sourdough Bread

February 27, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Orange Chocolate Soft Sourdough Bread

Orange Chocolate Soft Sourdough Bread

Orange Chocolate Soft Sourdough Bread

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After successfully baking  Orange Cranberry Soft Sourdough Bread using a stiff starter dough  I attempted an Orange Chocolate Bread inspired by the zebra patterned bread by Baking with Gina.  I like the flavours of dark chocolate paired with orange and I thought orange and chocolate may go well together in bread too.    I was a little lazy and just did a simple design hoping it would come out like a checkered design but, it turned out like this. lol...

However, the bread is delicious, soft, fluffy and moist.  It lost a little bit of the moistness the next day but it was still soft.  The pictures taken was on the second day.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

How To Make Orange Chocolate Soft Sourdough Bread

Yields: 1 Loaf


Sweet Stiff Starter:
60g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), preferably use at its peak 
180g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
75g water
30g sugar (light brown sugar)

Main Dough:
140g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All stiff starter (above)
35g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp (20g) milk powder
25g butter, room temperature
45g egg, whisked (from 1 egg)
15g water/milk
50g orange juice (about 1 1/2 medium orange)
Zest from 1 orange (I used 1 1/2 Orange)
5g cocoa powder

Egg Wash:
1 egg + 1 tbsp water

450g loaf pan (21.3 X 12.2 X 11.5 cm  /  8.4" X 4.8" X 4.5")

  1. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. Dilute starter with water, mix in bread flour to become a dough. 
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. 
  2. Kneading Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter and cocoa powder) into the stand mixer bowl. Include all the stiff starter. 
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 1 minute or until all incorporated. This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough. 
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 4 minutes or until the dough comes together. The dough at this stage is sticky and wet.  Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 15 minutes or until dough comes together and reach window pane stage.  During the whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
    4. Once achieved window pane stage, divide the dough into 2 portions: 
      1. Orange Dough (357g - 55%) - Shape into a ball and let it proof in a clean bowl.
      2. Chocolate Dough (293g - 45% - Add cocoa powder and continue kneading with machine until all combined.  Shape into a ball.
  3. First Proofing/Resting The Dough:   
    1. Let the dough proof until it doubles. Usually double proofing dough will yield slightly taller bread because of better oven spring.  My dough doubled in size in 1 hour and 30 minutes in my warm kitchen about 30C. 
  4. To shape (Please watch the video above):
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide Orange dough into 5 equal portions and chocolate dough into 4 equal portions.
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Flatten with rolling pin into a dish.  Roll up the dough like Swiss Roll until a long log is formed.
    3. Arrange all dough in the prepared loaf pan like shown in video.
  5. Final Proofing:
    1. Let it proof at a warm place until the dough reaches the height of the pan.  This one took approximately 3 hours plus at room temperature of 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  6. To bake:
    1. Preheat the oven at 190C (top and bottom heat) or 170 (fan-forced mode) 10 - 15 minutes before baking.
    2. Brush with egg wash (optional).
    3. Bake at preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
    4. Remove bread from oven and let it cool completely on rack before slicing.



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 

If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. How much yeast should I use if I want bake yeasted bread

    1. Hi, Thanks for reading this recipe. Please use my Orange Cranberry Soft Bread using instant yeast to make this bread. Just added cocoa powder and method like this bread.

      Recipe Link:

      Cheers :)

  2. Do you have any tip on getting a good pullman tin?

    1. Hi, Thanks for asking. I used Chefmade Non-stick Loaf Pan. The one I am using is 450g loaf pan. It is very good quality.

      Cheers :)


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