These rolls combine the tangy flavor of sourdough with the rich, velvety goodness of chocolate. Ribbons of indulgent chocolate and fluffy sweet dough topped with a smooth chocolate frosting makes these sourdough chocolate rolls perfect for the chocolate lover in your life.
These sourdough chocolate rolls are everything you love about sourdough cinnamon rolls, but better. Ribbons of sweet sourdough pastry, rich chocolate filling studded with chocolate chips, and a chocolate drizzle frosting make these a a must-try sourdough dessert for any chocolate lover. These rolls make an extra special breakfast treat or dessert.
This dough for the recipe is leavened using sourdough starter. If you’re not sure what sourdough starter is, check out my How to Make a Sourdough Starter post to learn all about it.
Sourdough Chocolate Roll Ingredients
Sweet Dough Ingredients
- Whole Milk – Incorporating milk adds moisture, replacing the need for water. It also adds fat to enrich the dough, making these rolls soft and fluffy.
- Sourdough Starter – This recipe uses Sourdough Starter to make the dough rise instead of baker’s yeast. Make sure your starter is fed the night before you plan to bake, so it is active and bubbly when you mix the dough.
- Sugar – Sugar gives the wild yeast in your starter a boost, helping the dough to rise, and also makes it sweet. I use raw organic cane sugar when baking, but any sugar will work.
- Egg – Egg plays a crucial role in enriching the dough and providing these rolls with a light and tender texture. For best results, use a room temperature egg when making the dough.
- Bread Flour – For this recipe, I used organic bread flour. Bread flour will give these sourdough rolls the best rise and the softest crumb. If using all-purpose flour, you may need to increase the amount of flour called for in this recipe.
- Salt – Salt is added to enhance flavor without making these rolls salty. It also acts to strengthen the dough.
- Butter – Butter enriches this dough making these rolls soft and tender. I use unsalted butter when baking, but you can use salted by omitting the salt in this recipe.
Chocolate Filling Ingredients
- Butter – Use room temperature butter when making the filling for these rolls. You can test your butter to make sure it is soft enough by pressing on it. If you can push all the way through without resistance, the butter is ready.
- Sugar – Cane sugar makes the filling extra sweet.
- Cocoa Powder – The star ingredient here is chocolate! For the best results, opt for unsweetened non-dutch cocoa powder.
- Chocolate Chips – Chocolate chips add an extra burst of chocolaty goodness to these rolls. Depending on your personal preference, you can use either milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips as a substitution.
Chocolate Frosting Ingredients
- Milk – Adding milk helps to thin it out the frosting, making it pourable.
- Powdered Sugar – I use organic powdered sugar when I make frosting. Organic powdered sugar is lumpier than conventional powdered sugar, so it will need to be sifted first.
- Cocoa Powder – Cocoa powder makes this frosting rich and chocolaty.
- Vanilla – A little vanilla adds a lovely depth of flavor to the chocolate frosting.
How to Make Sourdough Chocolate Rolls
Tip: Sourdough baked goods have a long rise time. Take a look at my Sample Bakers Schedule before you begin so you have a better idea on when to start and how to plan ahead.
Step 1: Mix the Dough
In a large bowl, whisk together the active sourdough starter and milk until the starter is fully dissolved. Next, whisk in the sugar and room temperature egg until well incorporated.
Sift the flour and salt into the bowl, stirring until a shaggy dough begins to form. Then, add the room temperature butter, mixing either by hand or with a stand mixer until fully incorporated. It is important to use room temperature butter or this step will be difficult. You can test the butter’s softness by pressing your finger into it. If you can easily push all the way through without resistance, then the butter is ready.
Step 2: Strengthen the Dough
After mixing, cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.
Uncover the dough and knead it on medium speed with a dough hook attachment for approximately 12 minutes. The dough is ready when it becomes smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If working without a stand mixer strengthen the dough by hand. To do this perform three sets of stretch and folds.
How to Stretch and Fold:
- To prevent sticking, lightly wet your hands before handling the dough.
- Start by scooping up an edge of the dough and gently pulling it upwards.
- Continue pulling the dough until you reach a point where it resists being stretched, then fold it over itself.
- Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat this stretching and folding motion.
- Keep turning the bowl, performing the stretch and fold technique until you complete a full circle. These four stretch and folds are called a set.
- Repeat the process of allowing the dough to rest and performing the stretch and fold method two more times. In total, you will have completed three sets.
Step 3: Bulk Fermentation
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth to bulk ferment the dough at 72°F(21°C) for 8-9 hours, or overnight. The dough will need to rise until it is double its original size. It’s important to note that rise times can vary based on the temperature in your home, so adjust the time accordingly.
Step 4: Roll Out and Fill the Dough
Before turning out the dough, lightly dust your work surface with flour. Gently pat the dough into a rectangular shape and use a floured rolling pin to roll it out into a 13″x15″ rectangle.
In a bowl, combine the sugar and cocoa powder to create the filling mixture, then set it aside.
Spread the room temperature butter over the sheet of sweet dough, leaving a one-inch margin along the width. This margin will help to seal the rolls when you roll up the dough.
Next, spread the cocoa powder sugar mixture on top of the layer of butter. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of this layer, making sure they are evenly distributed.
Step 5: Roll and Cut
Now that the filling is spread roll the dough up tightly. Start with the end opposite of the margin and roll inwards applying a gentle pressure.
Lightly wet the margin with water before closing, and allow the rolled dough to rest seam side down for a minute to ensure a tight seal. Then, using a non-serrated knife, cut the log into 12 evenly sized rolls.
Tip: Wetting your knife every few cuts will prevent the dough from pulling and give you clean cuts.
Step 6: Second Rise
Arrange the cut rolls in a 9″x13″ pan, ensuring they are evenly spaced apart. Place a cloth or kitchen towel over the rolls, ensuring they are well covered.
Let them rise at a temperature of around 72°F (21°C) for approximately two hours. During this second rise, the rolls will increase in size and become visibly poofy. It’s important to note that rise times can vary based on the temperature in your home, so adjust the time accordingly.
Tip: For a quicker second rise, preheat your oven and place your pan on top of the stove. The heat the oven gives off will allow your rolls to rise much quicker.
Wanting to bake later? Cover the pan of rolls tightly and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, or place them in the freezer for up to a week. When you are ready to bake, allow the rolls to come to room temperature and perform the second rise.
Step 7: Bake and Frost
Position your rolls on the center rack of a 350°F (177°C) preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. Heat milk, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder in a small saucepan on the stove until it reaches a gentle boil. Remove from heat and stir until the mixture begins to thicken.
Once the rolls are out of the oven, allow them to cool for 15 minutes. Then, generously pour the chocolate frosting over top and serve the sourdough chocolate rolls warm.
How to Store Sourdough Chocolate Rolls
Whether you have leftovers from a batch or want to prepare them in advance, here are some tips to help you store sourdough chocolate rolls.
Storing at room temperature: Store leftover sourdough sweet rolls at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When ready to eat the leftover rolls, reheat them individually in the microwave, or warm the entire pan in a 350°F (177°C) preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until heated through.
Storing in the refrigerator: Make sure the rolls are completely cooled and store leftover sourdough chocolate rolls in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. When ready to eat the leftover rolls, reheat them individually in the microwave, or warm the entire pan in a 350°F (177°C) preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until heated through.
To make the rolls and bake later, cover the pan of rolls tightly before second rise and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. The rolls will still rise in the fridge, but at a much slower rate. When you are ready to bake, allow the rolls to come to room temperature and bake as directed.
Storing in the freezer: I don’t recommend freezing pre-baked chocolate rolls. To freeze the rolls and bake them later, cover the pan of rolls tightly before second rise and place them in the freezer for up to a week. When you are ready to bake, allow the rolls to come to room temperature, perform second rise, and bake as directed.
Sample Bakers Schedule
9 AM (day 1): Feed your sourdough starter.
9 PM (day 1): Mix the dough together.
9:30 PM (day 1): Strengthen the dough and cover to bulk ferment overnight.
6:30 AM (day 2): Roll and fill the dough, then cut into 12 rolls.
7 AM (day 2): Arrange the rolls in a 9″x13″ pan and cover for second rise.
9AM (day 2): Bake the chocolate rolls and make the frosting.
9:40 AM (day 2): Frost and serve the rolls.