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Cherry chocolate bread

Updated: Tue, 3 October, 2023

What a delightful breakfast idea: sweet brioche filled with a mix of white chocolate chips, glace cherries and almond flakes. This is brioche made with sourdough starter but just as easy and equally delicious when leavened with baker’s yeast.

cherry chocolate bread

Hit and miss, but I love it

Bread making is funny: it seems like a complete black magic and hocus-pocus when uninitiated.

But once you know your way around the starters, levains (and learn how to pronounce them) or ferments, you find you can experiment, ad lib and succeed.

Of course sometimes you will follow a ten times tried and twenty times tested recipe and it will result in a cannonball-textured pancake, but that’s precisely what makes it interesting.

I’ve been obsessed with those YouTube videos showing bread making. It’s thoroughly fascinating to watch enormous amounts of dough being kneaded, flipped this way and that, rolled and unrolled, stretched and twisted, going for a ride on conveyor belts or twirling and swirling in gigantic vats.

The one that inspired this recipe was from a bakery in Anchorage, Alaska, with bread dough rising magically from the worktops. Completely enthralling.

cherry and chocolate brioche

Sourdough or yeast?

This is a recipe using a sourdough starter but – unless you’re a sourdough fanatic – it’s easy to adapt it for commercial yeast.

I’m convinced the taste isn’t affected – though to be honest I’ve not tried both versions side by side, as there’s no other way of properly comparing the two. As much as sourdough bread is unparalleled in flavour, sweet dough or tea cakes just need to be airy and tasty.

I have a strong suspicion that there’s a lot of snobbery going on in the sourdough world.

brioche roll with cherries and chocolate chips

How to swap sourdough for yeast?

How to adapt this and other formulae for yeasted versions? Easy: sourdough starter is usually half liquid half flour so increase those ingredients amounts accordingly.

My cherry bread calls for 150g of starter so you will need 75g more flour and 75g liquid – buttermilk in this instance, but water would be fine too. How much yeast?

For sweet dough it will normally be about 10g fresh or a teaspoon of instant yeast per 250g of flour, increased for very rich dough like panettone.

How to make the rich brioche dough

Whether you use a recently refreshed sourdough starter or just want to use yeast, stir either into buttermilk brought to room temperature, with some honey.

The liquid should then be mixed into the flours, the combination of which, plain and strong, is to make it more similar to French, finely milled patisserie flour #45.

Having mixed the rough dough with your hands or with the help of a standing mixer, let it rest a while before adding salt and a little warm milk, to help the salt distribute evenly in the dough.

The development of gluten structure in this instance is done through stretching and folding of the dough, four or five stints at half an hour intervals. At the end of this stage the dough should be pillowy and increased in volume by at least thirty percent.

brioche dough

Filling for the chocolate bread

The combination I use is the best: glace cherry chunks, white chocolate chips and flaked almonds. But that’s of course just my opinion: if your preference is for chopped apricots and dark chocolate, absolutely go for it. Any dried fruit though will benefit from being tossed in some flour, to stop it from clumping.

Other variants of this brioche-bread might include a jam filling – though the dough layers tend to split and separate around jam filling – or Nutella or a similar spread.

How to fill the dough

After all the stretching and folding the dough needs to rest in order to relax before being rolled out to a large rectangle.

rolling out brioche dough

The filling should be scattered over it evenly and generously, and the dough rolled up with the filling into a tight, fat log, the seam secured by pinching. You can also drop the log into a large loaf tin brushed with butter.

proofing chocolate bread

The final proof or rising takes about an hour and the chocolate bread bakes for about forty minutes. It’s absolutely divine when warm, fresh out of the oven, just cooled slightly so you don’t get burnt with hot filling.

It will keep quite well for a few days and can be refreshed in slices, on top of a toaster or in a warm oven.

baking chocolate bread

More brioche recipes

Buttery and barely sweet brioche, home baked breakfast fit for a king. Paper-thin glossy crust and the softest, meltiest crumb hiding inside, waiting only for a lick of good jam.

Chocolate braided bread, made from two-coloured dough. This braided chocolate brioche is very much like chocolate babka, braided and cut to reveal the coloured swirl. Chocolate brioche braid can be baked into a wreath as well.

Soft and rich brioche base with plums and cinnamon crumble topping. It means brioche is not just for breakfast. It means turning bread into cake!

More sweet bread recipes

Yorkshire teacakes, with raisins or currants, toasted and buttered are the best tea time treat. And they are really easy to make.

Pompe à huile, sweet olive oil brioche traditionally served in Provence, South-East France, at Christmas. With orange flavour and a strange name (‘oil pump’), it’s one of 13 Provençal Christmas desserts.

Boller are Norwegian breakfast buns with cardamom flavour and a shiny glaze. Easy to make, they are gorgeous warm but as lovely toasted and buttered.

white chocolate bread

Cherry chocolate bread

Servings: 12-14Time: 5 hours


  • 150g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
  • 230g buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 30g honey
  • 230g strong white bread flour
  • 200g plain flour
  • 3g fine salt
  • 30g warm whole milk
  • 100g glace cherries, quartered
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  • 100g flaked almonds


1. Disperse the starter in the buttermilk; add the honey and stir to dissolve. Add both flours and mix with your hands, a dough whisk or in a standing mixer briefly, just until the dry flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.

2. Add the salt and milk to the dough and knead or mix in a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment until the dough is smooth and elastic, it clears the sides of the bowl and stops sticking to your hands. Cover with the a towel and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

3. Lightly oil your hands and fold dough by grabbing the underside of the dough at one quadrant and stretching it up over the rest of the dough. Repeat this action 3 more times, rotating bowl a quarter turn for each fold. Do this every half an hour 4 times more. By then the dough should increase in volume about 30 percent.

4. In the meantime prepare the cherry chunks by dusting them with the 1 tsp of flour in a small bowl. Add the chocolate chips and almonds and mix together.

5. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and shape into a tight ball. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for another 30 minutes.

6. Now roll it out to a rough rectangle 20 x 30cm and sprinkle the chocolate-cherry mix all over. Roll it up along the shorter edge into fat tight sausage. Place it, seam down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Cover and leave for 1 hour in a warm place to rise.

7. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Score the top of the bread lightly and bake for 35-40 minutes, lowering the oven temperature to 190C/374F after 30 minutes. Cool the bread on a wire rack before slicing, but it’s the best still slightly warm.

Originally published: Mon, 2 October, 2017

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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