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Pane al Cioccolato (or Italian Chocolate Bread)

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This Italian Chocolate Bread (Pane al Cioccolato) is a lovely bread to make – with a slight sourdough tang, a subtle chocolate flavor and a beautiful, open crumb. It is perfect for snacking, making french toast, or sweet sandwiches.

chocolate bread recipe

I’ve decided I have been way too lazy with my photo taking. The majority of the time I am hastily taking two or three photos (on my phone) before we sit down to dinner, so I know those photos are really not at their best. But everything else? I have no reason for slacking off there. I have never claimed to be a “food stylist” and I will honestly probably never buy fancy dishes and props to use. But I can at least try to remember to use the basic photography principles sometimes, and take my camera off of automatic! So, one afternoon, when Ladybug was asleep, I brought out my camera, switched it into manual mode, and starting shooting pictures. I think I did pretty good, what do you think? (hint: say yes!)

three slices of chocolate bread with butter and peanut butter
My friend Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Linedrives was asked to be the host of Bread Baking Day #47, which is awesome for her, because, well, she is awesome. She decided since it is February that she wanted us to combine bread and chocolate this month. What can be better?! And then she had to be a darling and extend me a personal invitation to join in on the fun! Of course I had to say yes! Bread and chocolate and Lisa? Sign me up!

While making this bread, I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to turn out. I didn’t read the recipe close enough before I started and was really disappointed when I read that it needed yeast in it. Sourdough and yeast together? But I went ahead and threw the yeast in, as it was only a tiny amount. Then I was kind of worried when my dough, like, didn’t rise. At all. That usually isn’t a good sign, but I preservered anyway.

three slices of chocolate bread recipe stacked on each other



What does Pane Al Cioccolato taste like?

I was really surprised when I cut into this loaf, it has a nice crumb, and it was really soft!

By itself, the bread isn’t overly chocolate tasting, it has just a tiny hint.

And it isn’t really sourdough tasting, either.

But slathered with a nice layer of nutella, peanut butter, or cream cheese, this bread is heaven on a plate. Or a napkin. Or standing in the corner of the kitchen hoping the toddler doesn’t see you because you don’t feel like sharing.

I  am also submitting this to Yeastspotting!

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Pane Al Cioccolato (Apple Pie, Patis, and Pate)

Yield: 12 servings

Pane al Cioccolato (or Italian Chocolate Bread)

Pane al Cioccolato (or Italian Chocolate Bread)

This Italian Chocolate Bread is lovely bread to make - with a slight sourdough tang, a subtle chocolate flavor and a beautiful, open crumb. It is perfect for snacking, making french toast, or sweet sandwiches.

Prep Time 13 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 14 hours 10 minutes


Biga Naturale (or starter):

  • 28 grams of 50% hydration starter
  • 32 grams (1/4 cup) bread flour
  • 18 grams water, at room temperature

Final Dough:

  • All of the biga naturale
  • 393 grams (3 cups) bread flour
  • 248 grams (1 1/8 cups) water
  • 71 grams (4 TBSP) honey
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 25 grams (4 TBSP) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 10 grams (1 TBSP) kosher salt
  • 78 grams chocolate chips


  1. Mix the ingredients for the biga naturale together in a bowl until everything is evenly distributed.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 hours.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, mix together all the ingredients for the final dough, except for the chocolate chips!
  4. Knead by machine for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead in the chocolate chips by hand, until well incorporated.
  7. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
  8. Shape into either a boule or batard (a round or an oval) and allow to sit at room temperature for 3 hours (covered).
  9. Preheat your oven and baking vessel to 400 F.
  10. Score your bread with a few slashes in whatever pattern you like.
  11. Bake the bread for 20 minutes covered, rotate the loaf, and bake another 15-20 minutes uncovered.
  12. When done, remove bread to a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 1 hour.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 192Total Fat: 2.9gCholesterol: 0.3mgSodium: 336.3mgCarbohydrates: 36.8gSugar: 9gProtein: 5.4g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

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Jenna Morrow

Sunday 16th of February 2014


The first two times I tried this recipe I had the same experience you did - no rising, but a fantastic tasting bread. This week I read that 50% hydration starters take much longer to rise, so I let the bulk fermentation extend to 5 hours and the shaped loaf proofed for nearly 4. During both cycles, to my surprise, it would up doubling! And, the best part was that it had fantastic oven spring once baked.


Tuesday 28th of February 2012

Sounds awesome. Isn't everything smothered with Nutella heaven????

shelley c.

Wednesday 22nd of February 2012

Those pictures look AWESOME. And the bread? YUM!!! I wish I had a slice right about now for an after-breakfast chocolate-y treat!!!


Wednesday 22nd of February 2012

Beautiful photos. Beautiful bread. This looks like a great treat!

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