Pane al Cioccolato – Italian Chocolate Bread

Pane al Cioccolate Italian Chocolate Bread

I grinned like an idiot as I lifted the dark brown loaves from the charred baking stone with bare hands. The soft crust smiled back with its wide open slashes, a sight that every bread maker hopes for upon opening the oven door. It didn’t matter that my calloused fingertips started to burn or that hot air threatened to singe my eyebrows into an unnatural curl; the scent of steaming mugs of hot chocolate made the pain strangely comforting.

Half melted chocolate morsels that clung perilously to the crust instead of being safely nestled inside the warm loaf tempted me to pick on it. I decided to wait until the following morning, a cup of freshly brewed coffee in hand.

More importantly, I decided to wait until after taking photos.

If you read this far, two things may seem obvious: the coffee I’m having as I write this is really strong and this semisweet chocolate bread is pure bliss.

Click Crusts - Pane al Cioccolato
Click! Crusts hosted by Jugalbandi

recipe adapted from Michel Suas’ Advanced Bread and Pastry
Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast Blog

Pane al Cioccolato
Italian Chocolate Bread

makes two 375 gram / 13.25 ounce loaves

Pane al Cioccolate Italian Chocolate Bread Chips Dough
Chocolate chips and pane al cioccolato dough.


  • Knead the dough and develop the gluten thoroughly before adding the chocolate chips. Add it towards the final minute of kneading.

For the Biga Naturale / Wild Yeast Starter:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
starter (50% hydration)                           1             28
bread flour                     1/4 cup           1.125         32
water, at room temperature                         .625         18

Mix the biga naturale ingredients until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Place the biga naturale in a bowl and cover. Let the wild yeast starter ferment at room temperature for about 8 hours before using in the final dough.

Final Dough Formula:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
all of the biga naturale, cut into small pieces
bread flour                       3 cups         13.875        393
water                         1 1/8 cups          8.75         248
honey                             4 tbsp          2.5           71
vanilla extract                   1 tbsp
cocoa powder                      4 tbsp           .875         25
instant yeast                   1/4 tsp
kosher salt                       1 tbsp           .375         10

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

Final Dough Instructions:

Mix             Mix all of the ingredients (except the chocolate
                chips) until evenly incorporated.
Knead           8 to 10 minutes

Rest            5 minutes

Knead           Add the chocolate chips and knead for about a
                minute or until the chocolate chips are thoroughly

Pane al Cioccolate Italian Chocolate Bread Kneaded
Kneaded pane al cioccolato dough.

Bulk Ferment    2 hours at room temperature in a lightly oiled bowl

Divide          2 pieces, about 1 lb/454 grams each

Preshape        light ball

Pane al Cioccolate Italian Chocolate Bread Pre-Shaped
Divided and pre-shaped pane al cioccolato dough.

Rest            20 to 30 minutes

Shape           boule or batard

Final Proof     3 hours at room temperature

Preheat Oven    400ºF/204ºC

Score           2 to 3 slashes

Steam           1 cup of boiling water poured in a heavy steam
                pan (preferably cast iron)

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

Cool            At least 1 hour

Pane al Cioccolate Italian Chocolate Bread Cooling
I wonder how much Whole Foods would charge for this?

Pane al Cioccolate Italian Chocolate Bread Crumb
Pane al cioccolato crumb.

To Serve:

Serve during breakfast with coffee or milk or serve as a dessert with fresh fruits.

Do you still have some chocolate sauce left over from making eclairs? Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

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101 Responses to “Pane al Cioccolato – Italian Chocolate Bread”

  1. bee says:

    i’d pay good money for a loaf of that. beautiful pics as usual.

  2. rainbowbrown says:

    Oh heck yeah. Chocolate bread is where it’s at. Heck yeah.

    last blog post: Daring Bakers Éclairs

  3. van says:

    I came here through Food Gawker. I love homemade bread and your place has too many good bread recipes which I really want to try. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I will let you know mine when I baked using your recipes.

  4. Rosa says:

    Wonderful! Those loaves look gorgeous!




  5. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    They would charge so much our eyes would bug out and our teeth drop.
    It’s 3 am and I’d go make coffee if I had a loaf of that! Really gorgeous Jude.

  6. Y says:

    Unbelievable looking bread! I would certainly pay good money to have even just one slice of this!

    last blog post: Daring Bakers Challenge: All because we love.. Chocolate Eclairs

  7. giz says:

    Your bread is beautiful and the tutorial is fabulous. I can’t help but think that with a little tweaking and fun photography you could so make these into fun food faces.

    last blog post: Ribs

  8. linda says:

    The little breads look very pretty and professional!

  9. Caitlin says:

    Okay, two things that I want right now – whatever coffee you’re drinking, and a slice of that bread. So unfair this early in the morning, but those loaves look amazing!

    last blog post: TWD: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

  10. joey says:

    They would charge an arm and a leg for these gorgeous loaves that’s for sure! They look fabulous and I’m sure taste just as good (or even better!) than they look :)

    last blog post: Breakfast #23: Chai Spiced Oatmeal

  11. kat says:

    what an amazing looking treat!

    last blog post: Weekly Menu – 9/1 -9/6/08

  12. Rachel says:

    That looks FABULOUS!!!!

    last blog post: The Ubiquitous Cookies

  13. Fearless Kitchen says:

    Wow. This looks fabulous. I wonder if I can get my husband to make this sometime?

    last blog post: Recipe: Seffa

  14. My Sweet & Saucy says:

    Your bread looks so delicious! I love chocolate and bread mixed together!

  15. Elizabeth - Cake or Death? says:

    Oh my goodness–that bread looks amazing! And as a matter of fact, I DO have a lot of chocolate sauce left over from the eclairs–chocolate on chocolate? Sounds divine!

    last blog post: The Daring Bakers Do Éclairs

  16. grace says:

    i wouldn’t even attempt to wait to dig into this bread. how is it that chocolate can magically improve one’s mood, no matter how bad it might be? :)

  17. Zoë François says:

    Wow, these are so stunning. Just beautiful!

  18. Vera says:

    These are absolutely perfect!

    last blog post: Mocha Éclairs with Espresso Crème Anglaise

  19. Bee – Didn’t cost me more than a buck a loaf, according to my questionable calculations.

    Rainbowbrown – Will throw in random dried fruits with the chocolate next time.

    Van – Thanks for dropping by! Hope the recipes work well for you.

    Rosa – Thanks! Gotta use the leftover chocolate from the eclairs.

    Tanna, Y – I’m just happy it worked out well. 6 hours from kneading is a long time to wait.

    Giz – I thought the visual of chocolate dough devouring chocolate chips would be kind of fun. Should’ve made chocolate faces.

    Caitlin – I needed that coffee… Took a long time to rise this dough.

    Joey – It’s so good with a glass of warm milk.

    Linda, Kat, Rachel – Thanks!

    Jessica – Hope your husband makes it for you (or just do it yourself) :)

    MS & S – It’s good stuff. It might still be chocolatey even without the chips.

    Elizabeth – The chocolate was great as a dipping sauce. Just in small amounts, though or it could get dangerous.

    Grace – It was tough to wait but I just had to… The smell of hot chocolate while baking was so nice.

    Zoe, Vera – Thanks!

  20. Dee says:

    YES! This is my next bread bake, definitely. I have a pear & buckwheat bread in the oven, that I was dying to make for your bake off but never got round to it. I’m going to have that with my coffee in a bit, but I’d rather have some chocolate bread TBH.

    last blog post: The kitchen whore chameleon

  21. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Oh, I’ll be real popular if ever I pull this bread off.

    Wow! Just looking at it is relaxing me, thinking of my cup of coffee with this bread.

    last blog post: Random Facts Meme from Kian

  22. argus says:

    What an unusual and pretty looking bread!
    (I loved your choc eclair pictures, too.)

    last blog post: Wonderful Wales + My first Daring Bakers’ Challenge

  23. noble pig says:

    What a beautiful bread! It’s so unique.

    last blog post: How Much Does It Reflect On Us?

  24. Chavi says:

    Hey Jude,
    Absolutely beautiful and creative bread. You’re a genius! In regard to your comment on my blog, you should jump in there and braid dough, it’s so much fun. All it takes is a little practice, and if it doesn’t turn out the way you’d like, just eat it!!

    last blog post: Glorious Apple Pie

  25. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    I think you showed incredible fortitude to wait until morning to tear into this gorgeous bread!

    last blog post: Worst Best Pâte à Choux Ever

  26. Alexa says:

    Jude, What a loaf! It is so beautiful, original and scrumptious looking. I love bread but this one tops them all.

    last blog post: Just Lovely Orange Blueberry Muffins

  27. Tom Aarons says:

    These are just so beautiful! And the idea of having them for breakfast has got my jaw chewing away all on it’s own! :)

    last blog post: Mee Kola – “Burmese” Noodles

  28. Ben says:

    All these bread recipes are being bookmarked for the upcoming cold season. If I gained 15 pounds last one I’ll be a whale after this one. LOL. Great recipes, all of them. And your eclairs look so amazing. I need to make them again.

    last blog post: An anniversary and two winners

  29. Meera says:

    WOW! Beautiful pictures..that is one good looking load!

    last blog post: Sev ni Biranj (Sweet Vermicelli/Sevai)

  30. Madam Chow says:

    I don’t know about Whole Foods, but I can tell you that Wegman’s makes something similar only three months of the year – Jan, Feb, and March – and they charge about $5 or $6 per loaf!

    last blog post: Daring Bakers and TWD

  31. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen says:

    WOW!!!! That looks great! I should so make this to enjoy with my coffee!

    last blog post: New Foodie Blogroll Launch!!!!!!

  32. Maya says:

    I just want to let you know that I ENJOY reading your blog!! I would love to make most of the stuff here….

    last blog post: Peanutty Goodness

  33. sweetbird says:

    Your awesomeness is killing me sir.

    last blog post: Coro Mendocino Wines & Elk Creamery Cheese Workshop

  34. Mike says:

    Everything about those loaves look absolutely fantastic! And talk about a tasty way to start the day. I have to try this

    last blog post: Veal Shoulder Steak with Port Fennel Mushroom Sauce

  35. oggi says:


    last blog post: Homemade Greek-style Yogurt

  36. clumbsycookie says:

    Bread and chocolate are two of my favourite things ever! In fact I love to eat them together. Did you ever had a chocolate candy bar sandwich? So can you imagine how much I’m salivating with the idea of this bread, that combines the 2?

    last blog post: For the Daring Bakers it doens’t matter if you’re Black or White!

  37. YeastSpotting September 5, 2008 | Wild Yeast says:

    [...] Pane al Cioccolato – Italian Chocolate Bread ~ Apple Pie, Patis, and Pâté [...]

  38. Miri says:

    For a while now I’ve been wanting to make this at home, your wonderful photos and the beauty of the loaves helped me decide (quite instantly :) this is the recipe I’m gonna use. Thanks for sharing, and it’s great to discover your beautiful blog!

    last blog post: Red, fruity and Spanish – Sangria

  39. zorra says:

    Yummy, I want to go straight to the kitchen and bake these breads too.

    last blog post: WHB #148: Salsa Andaluza

  40. Aparna says:

    These are great Jude. I love bread and chocolate and this is a “complete” meal for me.:)
    I’ve never baked with a starter before and I’m trying to work up the courage to do so. The chocolate is tempting me very strongly.

  41. coco says:

    The photos are gorgeous, Jude. Wish I could try this though, it’s not easy to find starters here.

    last blog post: Cute looking, tart fruit

  42. Dee – Hope you like the bread recipe!

    js – It’s good stuff. Always a hit with everyone now that I’ve made it a few times.

    Argus – Thanks! Lots of chocolate posts lately

    Noble Pig – I knew I had to try it when I first saw. Never seen it anywhere before.

    Chavi – Will braid eventually. I’ll check out the recipes on your blog.

    Susan – It was tough with the chocolate smell but I just had to click it first

    Alexa – Thanks. Need. more. chocolate. chips.

    Tom – I could use a slice right now.

    Ben – I don’t know why I bake so much when it’s still pretty warm out. Can’t help it.

    Meera – Thanks!

    Chow – I think I can make 3 to 4 batches for that much.

    Jenn – Goes great with coffee. Maybe I should put coffee in the dough itself.

    Maya – Thanks! It’s fun to write, cook, and click.

    Sweetbird – I still want some of that mead.

    Mike – It’s good stuff. Triple batch proofing right now ;)

    Oggi – Thanks!

    Clumbsy – Smells so great while baking. Bread AND Hot chocolate? Oh yeah.Never had a chocolate candy bar sandwich, though.

    Miri – Thanks and I hope the recipe works for you!

    Zorra – It’s so good.. Even without the chocolate chips I’ve found (but with chocolate sauce on the side).

    Aparna – This has actually been the complete meal for me tha past few mornings.. With maybe a cup of milk.

    Coco – A small pinch of yeast should do the trick instead of the starter. Try it out!

  43. Natashya says:

    I have heard that Polaine charges upwards of $40 a loaf for some of their breads.
    Yours are so beautiful I would be reluctant to crack them open – but only for so long! They look amazing and I bet they were out of this world.

    last blog post: A Whopping Chocolate Overload

  44. Pane al Cioccolato (Italian Chocolate Bread) « Toxo Bread says:

    [...] The components for the starter were mixed, and added to the bread flour and water to form a biga naturale. I followed the rest of the directions for pane al cioccolato as posted by Jude here. [...]

  45. Eggy says:

    I must say this bread looks delicious! It’s been tempting me for the past few weeks whenever I visit your blog, and last night I decided to make it. The only change I made was that I had some left over whole-grain spelt flour (not much) that I added and I used pieces of a bitter 85% chocolate bar instead of semisweet chips.

    Needless to say it turned out delicious! It was torture waiting an hour for the bread to cool off outside on the front porch. X3 I even had some hot milk to dip it in.

  46. latifa says:

    WOW…….I can smell the aroma of the freshly baked chocolate bread.

    Looks profetional as usual.
    Great Job!

  47. jugalbandi » CLICK: Crusts. The winners are … says:

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  48. can’t help but make it again « Toxo Bread says:

    [...] Adapted from Jude’s post here [...]

  49. elra says:

    dear Jude,
    I’d like to let you know how pleased I am with the result of this recipe of yours. I’ve made it successfully and I didn’t change anything for your recipe. Thank you for posting it, and I am totally addicted to Pane Al Cioccolato!

  50. April says:

    Oh my goodness! I cannot wait to make this bread! We go to this great little bakery in San Diego when we’re there and they make this every Saturday morning…it is the most amazing thing. And your recipe looks exactly like it, when I googled ‘chocolate bread recipe’ I never really thought I would find a Pane al Cioccolato recipe. Thank you!!

  51. Judy says:

    What is the recipe for the starter? Thank you.. i dont even know what that is

  52. maribel says:

    Made this twice already. Love it! With coffee or chai tea…delisioso! Thank you for sharing.

  53. Gebacken: Pane al Cioccolato – Italienisches Schokoladenbrot « Plötzblog says:

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  54. Ana says:

    “It didn’t matter that my calloused fingertips started to burn or that hot air threatened to singe my eyebrows into an unnatural curl; ” Who wrote this? :D I must say I chuckled

    OMG if you put it that way, I think I want that chocolate bread!!! and I need to curl my eyelashes :D
    Oh lord I can almost taste it :(

  55. MJ says:

    Oh my goodness! That looks sensational. I can’t wait to make it. Gorgeous pictures! Thanx for the easy to follow recipe!

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  57. Pane al Cioccolato – Italienisches Schokoladenbrot – Plötzblog says:

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  58. Normandy Apple Bread & Italian Chocolate Bread « Bao/Bread says:

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    I tried this at a bakery and was eager to make this, but just never got around to do this. I have been in a bread-making frenzy lately, and I stumbled across this recipe. All my family can say is, “THIS IS GOOD…” I was a little nervous about it, especially since I used 1/2 whole wheat flour, but like everyone has been saying, it is a good recipe… Thanks for sharing!

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