Chocolate Sourdough Discard Rolls

As always, I was on a hunt to find new things to do with my sourdough discard and came across this recipe on my Instagram feed. This recipe is from @bakingwithgina, a home based baker from Singapore! Gina is lovely and I’ve been following her account for a couple months. Her recipes are always beautiful and absolutely mouthwatering! At first, I thought that her account only showed bread recipes that used active sourdough starter until I came across these rolls! I was overjoyed! The first time I made it, I followed her recipe exactly. It didn’t come out as nice as I wanted but my boyfriend enjoyed the whole loaf regardless! I prefer the rolls which are really yummy as sweet breakfast treats. I’m still looking for some sort of filling, maybe with candied orange peel or orange marmalade so that might be added to this page as I continue to experiment with this recipe.

My second time trying this recipe went much better! I added another third of a cup of flour and an egg. By enriching the dough, I made a more American bread, one that is sweeter and has a longer shelf life. As a college student, I usually can’t eat my baked goods within the week unless I give a few away first! So baking these as pull apart rolls made more sense for me. You can shape it into a traditional sandwich loaf and it will rise just as well. The first time I made this dough, I also didn’t realize that yeast should be added if your discard is a little old. I keep my discard in the refrigerator for up to three weeks because I think it stays good for that long. Scientifically, you should use it within three to five days according to King Arthur Flour so take my word with a grain of salt! Discard that is older can be added to almost any recipe to add flavor and just a tablespoon or two can go into most recipes without a problem. Lately, I’ve been using my discard for these rolls or for crumpets (hopefully a blog post will follow about that but I’ve been eating them before I can get a good picture!). Let me know if you have any favorite discard recipes that I haven’t yet featured on the blog and I’ll be sure to check them out! Happy baking!

Chocolate Sourdough Discard Roll Recipe

  • 200 grams (about 1 3/4 cup) sourdough discard
  • 100 grams whole milk
  • 290 grams bread flour
  • 30 grams sugar
  • 3 grams kosher salt
  • Pinch of yeast (about 1 teaspoon instant yeast) (This one depends on the age of your discard, it may need more or less depending on how long it has been sitting in the refrigerator
  • 30 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 40 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips (If you use bittersweet, add some sugar to balance the recipe out)
  • 40 grams whole milk
  • 20 grams cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  1. In a small bowl, melt the chips in the microwave in thirty second increments. Mine took about 1 min 30 seconds to melt fully but I still did it in increments to prevent burning the chocolate. Add the cocoa powder, 40 grams whole milk, and espresso powder and mix to form a paste. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix together the discard, flour, sugar, salt, butter, milk, egg, and the chocolate paste. Knead until smooth. The bread should spring back when touch and the dough should be brown throughout the whole dough, not just marbled in.
  3. Set in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rise 3 hours.
  4. Punch dough down and let rest 15 minutes.
  5. Shape the dough. I made rolls like my other sourdough discard rolls. I rolled all the dough into a log and used unflavored dental floss to cut it into ten. I arranged those on prepared 9 inch cake pans in a circle to make tear apart loaves. This can also be made into a loaf like regular bread.
  6. Cover and let prove 3-3 1/2 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F. Once the dough has doubled and is puffy, bake for 25-30 minutes. If baking a loaf, you may need to bake 35 minutes.
  8. Remove from the tin and let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy some yummy bread!

The Ultimate Challah Recipe

I did it folks!!!! I found the challah of my dreams!! After multiple unsatisfactory attempts, I have found the perfect challah recipe. However, I didn’t do this on my own. After my previous attempts, I sent out a cry for help to my lovely friend Laura and she sent me the challah recipe from her family. So thank you Laura!! This challah recipe is absolute perfection. It creates beautiful, fluffy, and rich bread. One of these rolls was enough to satisfy my appetite! They are pretty simple to make, taking far less time to rise/prove than other recipes. I’ve changed one or two things like proving times within the recipe but otherwise credit goes to the original creator! Now let’s dive into a few technical parts to the bread before we get to the recipe.

This recipe calls for SEVEN egg yolks with an additional egg beaten for the egg wash before baking. Seven eggs is a LOT of eggs but even that number of eggs is not sufficient to make the dough the startling yellow that it is in store bought versions of challah. However, I discovered the dirty secret of commercial challah baking and it is simply food dye. Challah relies on egg yolks for its hallmark richness but the cost of eggs can add up for bakers. To cut down on costs, many commercial bakers use yellow food dye to get the yellow color that most associate with really rich challah. I was a little bummed when I learned this but it also made me set my sights on more realistic expectations for my challah. One issue with using seven egg yolks in a challah recipe is that you have to separate them all out. I would recommend doing the separation while the eggs are cold. Cold eggs have firmer yolks that are easier to separate. There are three methods to do this and I suggest trying all of them to find which one you’re most comfortable with. You should also use at least three bowls while you’re separating egg yolks, one for the current egg that you’re working with, another for the leftover egg whites, and a third for the yolks. Doing it this was makes more dishes but it’ll ensure that you don’t get any cross contamination between the whites and the yolks.

The first method is using your hand. This is a good technique to start with because it doesn’t require a ton of skill and gets you really familiar with the egg and its white. All you have to do is crack the egg over a bowl and put the yolk in the palm of your hand while you sort of jiggle the white into the bowl. The white will slide off and you’ll be left with your yolk. The second method uses the shells. Once you crack the egg (which you should do firmly to give the shells clean edges), you juggle the egg between the shells to get the white to slid off. I would recommend turning to youtube to see how this is done. The third method uses a clean and empty plastic, disposable water bottle. With this method, you crack the egg into a bowl and then use the opening of the empty water bottle to suction up the yolk and transfer it to another bowl. This can take some practice and time but it’s the most fun and cleanest of all the methods. Please save your egg whites once you’ve separated out your yolks. Egg whites will stay good in the refrigerator for three months and can be used in omelets or macarons or many other confections! However, egg yolks will only stay good in the refrigerator for three days and their quality will degrade with each passing day. So if you’re thinking of separating your yolks ahead of time, I beg you to reconsider! Also, I would always recommend having backup eggs around. Even the best pastry chef will puncture an egg yolk or two while separating eggs and it’s best to be prepared for this possibility!

My last few words are about braiding the challah strand. I really like to make knotted challah rolls but I have yet to perfect my knotting method. When I make large loaves, I usually do three or nine strand braids which are not terribly complicated. A three-strand braid is just like doing a regular hair braid while a nine strand braid consists of three separate three-strand braids that are braided together. There are lots of youtube videos on braiding so if you’re itching to get more complicated, the internet can provide guidance! At the moment for my rolls, I do a simple square knot and tuck the ends underneath my rolls. I’m trying to get more complicated but have had issues with the bread bursting through its shape while in its second prove. If anyone has a suggestion, put it in the comments below and I’d be happy to try it! Otherwise, just do what you want to do with the challah. It’s a very forgiving bread and will be tasty regardless of its final form as long as its baked through! Happy baking!

Challah Bread Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon instant or dry active yeast (If you’re really fancy, use SAF gold yeast, it’s for enriched breads like challah)
  • 227 grams (1 cup) warm water (75-95F)
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 40 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I’ve started using flaky kosher salt and have liked the results a lot!)
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil (I used sunflower oil and it also worked great so feel free to substitute!)
  • 1 large egg beaten with a tablespoon of water
  • Black sesame seeds or Demerara (raw) sugar
  1. Combine bread flour, yeast, egg yolks, sugar, salt, oil, and water together. Mix until the dough is almost cohesive then turn out of the bowl onto a kneading surface. Knead for up to five minutes or until the dough is smooth and springs back when poked with a floured finger.
  2. Oil a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover and let rest 1 1/2-2 hours or until it has doubled in volume.
  3. Punch down the dough. Divide into three or nine if you’re making a three or nine strand loaf. For large rolls, divide dough into 10. For smaller rolls divide into 15 or weigh out 45 gram pieces of dough. Cover and let rest 15 minutes.
  4. Once rested, roll dough out with your hands to 12-24 inch strands. For smaller rolls, 12 inches is sufficient but for other braids, 24 inches is needed. Don’t force the dough to stretch, it will shrink back once left alone so decide on the length as you roll out each piece of dough. Shape the dough and place it on the baking sheet where it will be baked.
  5. Once shaped, let rest 1 hour for its final prove.
  6. During its final prove, preheat over to 375F for loaves and 400F for rolls. Prepare the egg wash by beating together an egg and some water to thin out the consistency. Before baking, brush the rolls all over with the egg wash and sprinkle on topping of choice like black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, or Demerara sugar.
  7. Bake. Baking time will vary on the loaf or roll type. Loaves will bake 35-45 minutes and if extremely large, may take 50 minutes and you may need to cover with foil to prevent it burning. Large rolls will take 15-20 minutes to bake while smaller rolls will bake 10-13 minutes. To check for doneness, remove the bread from the oven and roll onto its top. Knock the bottom of the roll or loaf. If you hear a hollow sound, it is done. If no hollow sound is heard, put back into the oven for another five minutes.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

A Post on Challah

I’ve recently become fixated on Challah and this post will contain some pointers and tricks but no actual recipe. I’m still working on finding my favorite challah recipe, I’ve tried two within the past week but I haven’t yet found one with the “egg-y” quality that I adore in challah. My ideal loaf of challah is lightly sweetened but with so many eggs inside that the dough itself is yellow and the crust is hard and beautifully browned. So far, I’ve been able to achieve beautiful puffiness with my challah dough but not that egg-y quality that I want. In my quest for the perfect challah, I’ve tried a recipe from a Le Pain Quotidian cooking class that I took several years ago and one from King Arthur Flour. Next on my list is the “Perfect Challah” recipe from the New York Times and I will let you all know how that one goes! As a baker, I often become fixated on one specific recipe for several days until I believe I have perfected it! One of the most memorable recent occasions of this was my obsession with quiche where I got up at four in the morning to re-do my quiche recipe multiple times. I just have a tendency to want to find ~the recipe~ for something, a recipe that I can count on always. During the semester, I got hung up on baguettes which I’ve made both in Baltimore and home in California to varying degrees of success. I’m still working on that but I took a break to focus on enriched breads which I find are easier to make in a pinch.

Challah is my favorite enriched dough and the only one that I make on a semi-regular basis. Its “enriched” qualities come from the use of oil and eggs as the fat that the yeast feeds on. The dough itself is very light and fluffy and the crust is browned but still soft and often covered with sesame seeds. Challah doesn’t require any special baking equipment, I usually bake mine on two cookie sheets in my oven. Its crust doesn’t need any additional steam and you can use whatever toppings you have on hand. When making challah, I try to have all the ingredients at room temperature. Any dough needs to reach a certain internal temperature before it will start the process of rising and fermenting. However, the internal temperature is especially important for enriched dough because the fats weigh down the dough making a big rise harder to achieve. I also use lukewarm water, around 90F, when making the dough to help with the internal temperature. Looking from the outside, the braiding of challah bread looks incredibly complicated but I’ve found the braiding process soothing and easier than expected. A three or four strand braid is pretty common for challah bread and I usually go with a three or a nine strand braid. For braiding, I handle the dough just like my hair. Actually, for dads trying to learn how to braid, challah dough might provide a good place to practice the more complicated plaits before trying it on your daughter’s head. King Arthur Flour has some great youtube videos on the most basic braids and like any part of baking, your braids will improve with practice. Let me know if you enjoyed this more technical type of post in the comments below. I can’t wait to share my final challah recipe with everyone and until then, Happy Baking!

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

When I first started baking bread, I made artisanal loafs almost exclusively. I felt that they symbolized the essence of bread and that to use a tin to make bread more suited to our modern conveniences was sacrilege. However, some astute comments courtesy of my father made me realize that in order to appeal to a broader audience, my bread had to be in a useful shape to encourage consumption. This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website, one of my favorite places on the internet.

At the beginning of the first proof

I’ve made it with and without the addition of instant yeast to leaven it and while it’s truer to the sourdough title if no additional yeast is used, it’s not as practical for me. I really enjoy a nice big loaf and using instant yeast helps to get there. Using just fed sourdough starter, the rising times double or quadruple depending on the strength of your starter and I’ve had a hard time getting the appropriate volume from my dough. This could also be because the loaf tins that I have are a little larger than the original recipe calls for, 9 inches rather than 8 which is the size of a medium sized-loaf tin. I have grown to love this recipe and it makes two loaves, which freeze really well. I find that freezing freshly baked loaves is a lifesaver in order to have something close to fresh bread around my house every day. I know that the freezer isn’t for everyone but it’s one of the modern conveniences that I believe is essential to the practical and busy baker.

My loaves on their second proof inside the tin

There’s also a few different methods that you can use to shape the actual bread. I use a slightly more complicated method from the King A’s website which involves some weird folding but you can really just roll the dough out in an 8″ by 16″ rectangle and roll it up to fit into the tins. I don’t love the swirl that the simpler method often leaves and you can always just look up how to shape a sandwich loaf. The bread also keeps for up to a week and a half in an airtight plastic container at room temperature. I’ve never refrigerated this loaf after baking so if you do, let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Sourdough Sandwich Bread Recipe

For the Levain: This is an offshoot of your sourdough starter that develops on its own overnight. It needs about 12 hours to fully develop, it should have small holes throughout and then its ready to be used.

  • 128 grams All Purpose Flour (1 cup+ 1 tablespoon)
  • 128 grams cool water (60-70F, 1/2 cup+ 1 tablespoon)
  • 44 grams ripe sourdough starter (3 tablespoons)

For the Dough

  • 631 grams Bread or All Purpose Flour (5 1/4 cups, if using All Purpose, the dough will be much stickier but it gets the job done)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (table salt can be used, personal preference here)
  • 2 teaspoon instant yeast (if omitted, quadruple rising times and plan accordingly)
  • 57 grams unsalted butter at room temperature (1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons)
  • 340 grams milk (70-80F, 1 1/2 cup, can use any percentage milk fat
  • Ripe levain

For the Levain

  1. Mix all ingredients together and place in a covered container to grow. I use a deli container because it allows me to see the rise. Should take about 12 hours to double in size at a room temperature of 70F. It is ripe when there are large bubbles throughout the levain.

For the Dough

  1. Mix and knead all the ingredients to make a smooth and supple dough. Even using AP flour, the dough should not be overly sticky. Takes me about 10 minutes to knead and I check that its ready by seeing if the dough springs back immediately when poked.
  2. Form into a ball and place in a greased container and let sit 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  3. Turn out the dough and divide into two. Using a scale helps here because the dough can trick your eye. Shape the dough into two 8″ logs and place into two greased loaf tins.
  4. Cover the tins with a proofing bag and let rise 2 more hours or until the dough has risen to 1″ above the rim of the tin.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for 30-35 minutes. Once done, immediately turn the dough out of the pans and let cool on a wire rack. Wrap once cool and keep at room temperature in an airtight container or freeze immediately.