Cherry & Chocolate Soda Bread

My wife had invited a friend with her 7 year old son for Saturday morning breakfast, so I grabbed the opportunity to “knock up” a quick soda bread loaf to share, but “what flavour?” I asked myself. Cherry and white chocolate came to mind, but it didn’t quite work out as I’d planned. (Well, there wasn’t really much of a plan. It was one of those “chuck it in and see what happens” type of recipe. Read on and see what actually did happen. Thankfully, it’s a story with a happy ending.

But first, I must point out that the poor photos are due to a damaged camera. The actual loaf looked a lot more appetizing than these pics indicate. The bread does NOT turn out blue as it appears below, I promise!

Makes: 1 medium loaf

Time: 45 – 60 minutes

Level: Nice and easy

Need: A baking tray or a baking stone


  • 275g/9½oz plain white flour
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 75g/2½oz caster sugar (White or golden)
  • Zest from half an orange *
  • 85g/3oz cherries, halved or quartered*
  • 85g/3oz white chocolate chips*
  • 45g/1½oz butter, melted
  • 150ml/5½oz  buttermilk*

* We only had satsumas, which are useless for zesting. Instead I peeled one and dropped the peel into a dish of just boiled water. After a minute it was easy to scrape off the unpleasant white pith and cut the outer peel into small strips.

* I used frozen cherries. I expect fresh (de-stoned) cherries would work OK too; I’m not sure about glace though.

* I wanted to use white chocolate chips, but only had about 35g, so I added 50g of dark chocolate pieces. Take your pick, both taste good.

* If you don’t have any buttermilk just measure out about 130ml of milk and stir in about 20ml lemon juice. Give it a few minutes, stir again then use it the same as buttermilk. I’ve also used natural yogurt to replace buttermilk.


1. Turn oven on to heat up to 220C / fan 200C / 425F / Gas 7. Put the baking tray or stone in the oven to heat up. Place a piece of parchment nearby. (This will be lifted onto the hot baking sheet with your unbaked loaf before going in the oven to be baked.)

2. Put flour, bicarb. soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix together.

3. Stir in the zest, cherries and chocolate.

4. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Gradually mix the melted butter and buttermilk into the dry mixture and mix to form a soft dough. (You may not need all the buttermilk, so put it in gradually.)

5. Tip or scrape the mixture out onto the floured surface and knead briefly for a few minutes only. Shape into a domed circle and place on the parchment. Gently flatten the circle and cut a cross in the top. (Use either a sharp knife or a metal dough scraper. Whichever you use, dip it in flour first.)        

6. Lift the parchment and unbaked loaf onto the heated baking sheet and return to the oven. Bake for about 27 – 30 minutes, until browned and hollow sounding when tapped underneath. 

7. Cool on a wire rack. (Don’t slice soda bread too soon; it will be very crumbly until fully cooled.)

I had to make a few adaptions along the way, but the end product was lovely. It was still cooling when our guests arrived and I had to go out. Fortunately, I reserved a slice or two, but the rest had been gobbled up by the time I returned – probably before it had even cooled.

For more of bread recipes (with better photos) click here. If you’d like to make a comment, ask a question or buy me a new camera, please go to the contact page.

Happy Baking