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Just-baked chocolate knots

Sourdough Chocolate Knots

  • Author: Maurizio Leo
  • Prep Time: 28 hours
  • Cook Time: 32 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 hours 32 minutes
  • Yield: 12 chocolate knots
  • Category: Pastry, Dessert
  • Cuisine: American


These naturally leavened sourdough chocolate knots are a delicious little treat perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even dessert after dinner. Inside, they’re filled with rich and delicious Valrhona chocolate.



  • 44g high-protein white flour
  • 44g water
  • 44g ripe sourdough starter, 100% hydration

Main dough

  • 324g high-protein white flour
  • 92g unsalted butter
  • 88g whole milk
  • 51g egg, beaten
  • 18g superfine sugar
  • 88g water
  • 7g fine sea salt


  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 70g Valrhona Carraibe 66% Baking Chocolate
  • 25g Valrhona Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder


One egg, 1 tablespoon whole milk, and a pinch of salt for the egg wash


  1. Levain – 9:00 a.m.
    Mix the levain ingredients in a jar and leave them covered at a warm temperature, 74-76°F (23-24°C), to ripen for 3 hours.
  2. Mix – 12:00 p.m.
    First, cut the butter into 1/2″ pats. Set them on a plate to warm to room temperature. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, water, milk, egg, sugar, salt, and ripe levain. Mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Next, mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes until the dough smooths and begins to cling to the hook. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes. Turn the mixer on low speed and mix for 2 to 4 minutes. Next, with the mixer running, add the room temperature butter, one pat at a time over the course of 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.
  3. Bulk fermentation – 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (4 hours)
    Give the dough one set of gentle slaps and folds during bulk fermentation. After the first hour, gently scrape the dough out to the work surface. Using damp hands, pick up the dough at the sides, slap it gently down on the counter, stretch it back toward your body, and then fold it over. Rotate both your hands, pick up the dough at its sides, and repeat the same gentle slap and fold over. Repeat these slaps and folds a few times until the dough is smooth on the top and holds itself on the counter, after 4 to 5 times. Transfer the dough back to the bulk fermentation container. Let the dough rest, covered for the remainder of bulk fermentation.
  4. Chill dough – 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., next day
    Place the covered bulk fermentation container into the fridge overnight.
  5. Roll, fill, cut, and shape – 9:00 a.m.
    Line two 13 x 18-inch sheet pans with parchment paper. Take out the bulk fermentation container and let it warm for 30 minutes. Prepare the filling: in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the sugar and baking chocolate pieces; stir everything together while the chocolate melts until everything comes together and smooths. Add the cocoa powder and whisk the mixture into an emulsion. Set aside to cool until ready to use. Uncover the dough and liberally flour the top and your work surface. Scrape out the dough to the floured surface, and using a rolling pin, roll out to a rectangle that’s about 12 x 17-inches with the short end nearest your body. Spread a thin layer of the chocolate filling evenly over half of the dough (you may have some chocolate filling leftover). Fold the top half of the dough down over the chocolate. The width of the dough should be 12-inches. Using a knife, cut the dough into twelve 1-inch strips about 8-inches long. Using the knife, start about 1-inch from the end of each strip and cut each in half vertically to make two long strips that are still connected at the far end. Gently twist the strips so the whole thing begins to spiral (the cut will make the two strips twist independently, creating more twists). Once the entire thing is twisted, begin to roll the strip with your far hand around itself to make a snail-looking shape. Once you reach the end, tuck the end under the center, so it stays put. Transfer each piece to a baking sheet, six pieces on each sheet. Cover.
  6. Proof – 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (3 1/2 hours)
    At warm temperature, let the dough rise.
  7. Bake – 1:00 p.m.
    Preheat the oven with one rack in the top third and one in the bottom third to 375°F (190°C) for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together a whole egg, a small pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of whole milk. Uncover the dough and brush on a light layer of the egg wash. Slide the pans into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back halfway during this time. After 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 350°F (175°C) and continue to bake for another 10 to 12 minutes until the tops of the knots are a light golden brown. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.