I’m obsessed with The Great British Baking Show (or Bake Off if you are in the UK). Its so cheerful, friendly, and fun to watch. I typically can’t stand competition shows of any kind, but GBBO is different. The participants are always nice to each other and supportive and everyone is there because they love to bake. It’s good wholesome entertainment and it gives me warm feelings inside.
Now that I’ve established my love for The Great British Baking Show, enter Chocolate Cherry Bread. This is one of Paul Hollywood’s recipes from the Master Class series. You can still find it on Netflix. I’ve made it 3 or 4 times in the past two years, and I love it!
I want to share this recipe with you all because I’ve added the US baking measurements alongside the ingredients. I usually weigh out my ingredients in grams because that is the standard for most bakers, but my scale broke! Sad. I also realize a lot of people may not use scales and instead stick to the old measuring cups. Measuring cups are okay, but it’s best to be exact when you are baking and grams are a small enough unit of weight that you get a very exact measurement.
Baking nerdism aside, you should make this bread! If bread baking intimidates you, do not fear. This recipe is beginner level. It doesn’t require any overnight proofing, sourdough starters, or extra special equipment. You can even mix it all by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer with the bread hook attachment. I’ve made this recipe by hand, and by machine, and had success with both. One method is just a bit messier than the other…but that’s okay! You’ll still get a beautiful, delicious loaf.
I love toasting a slice and slathering a bit of butter or cream cheese on top. It’s also perfect just by itself. My mouth is watering… Let’s get to the recipe.
Chocolate Cherry Bread
Adapted from Paul Hollywood. Total preparation time: about 2 hours. Total bake time: about 40 minutes
- 500 grams, or 4 cups + 1 tablespoon of Bread Flour ( I use King Arthur bread flour)
- 10 grams, or about 1.5 packets of fast rising yeast
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or light olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 320 ml, or 1 and 1/3 cup water
- 390 grams, or 1 full can dark sweet cherries, drained
- 100 grams, or 2/3 cup white chocolate, cut into chunks
- 100 grams, or 2/3 cup dark chocolate, cut into chunks
* Pro tip, you can get away with adding a bit more chocolate than the recipe calls for and it won’t hurt the final product. Just don’t go too crazy.
- Spoon and level out 4 cups of bread flour + 1 tablespoon in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- Add in the yeast, salt, and oil. Using the bread hook of the stand mixer, stir on low to combine.
- Increase speed of mixer to medium low (speed 2 on my mixer) slowly pour in water.
- Keep mixing until the water is fully combined.
- Stop the mixer and add the drained cherries and chocolates.
- Mix on medium low speed. The mix will look pretty wet from the cherries. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough stops sticking to the edge of the bowl. (I added 3-4 tablespoons more flour to get the consistency right)
- Mix for 4 minutes. (If you are mixing by hand, knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes)
- Remove from stand mixer and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. leave the bowl on the counter for 1 – 1.5 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
- Flour your work bench and scrape the dough out of the bowl. Dust a little more flour on top to keep it from sticking to your hands.
- Divide the dough in two equal pieces. Roll out the pieces into two strands, as if you are rolling out a baguette.
- Braid the two strands, and tuck in the ends to create a uniform looking loaf. I will link a helpful tutorial because I’m not very good at describing the braiding part.
- Place loaf on a baking sheet with parchment. Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap and proof for another 45 minutes to an hour. You can check to see it’s done proofing by lightly touching it. If the dough springs back, it’s ready to go in the oven.
- Set oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.
- Decrease temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and allow the bread to cool completely before enjoying!