River Cottage Soda Bread with Blackberries & Apple

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River Cottage Soda Bread with Blackberries + Apple

Cast your minds back, if you will, to last September, where I spent a dream day at River Cottage, with some other bloggers as a fun blog camp day, where we got to learn new things, do some cooking, eat a delicious lunch, and explore River Cottage HQ. I really hope to be able to go back to River Cottage soon, as I need a slice of the idyllic again!

I promised, all the way back then, that I would share the soda bread recipe, so [finally] here it is! I’m also adding how to make your own butter, which is something else we made that day. YES, you can make butter at home using just double cream. And wow, was it some good butter!

First order, before preparing the bread, was to go out to the hedgerow, and pick some blackberries, which was to be one of the ingredients.

Then back into the kitchen with Gill Mellor, who demonstrated how to make the bread, then left us to our own devices to make ours. I’ve made plain soda bread in the past and it is so quick and easy to make, but adding some tasty, seasonal ingredients, brought it up to a completely different level.

Now me, like a fool, like a fool, didn’t write down quantities of things like flour, (we used spelt) and buttermilk… BUT, other than those exact ingredients, it was a toss anything in recipe… my kind of cooking! So I’ve just used my soda bread recipe, and the added ingredients for you. I’m pretty sure the results will be just as awesome.

Soda Bread with Blackberries & Apple

So, the flour goes into a mixing bowl, with some salt, and bicarbonate of soda. Followed by some [freshly picked] blackberries, cubed apple, some fresh thyme, cheese, and honey. It is then brought together into a dough using the buttermilk, which was the by-product of our butter making earlier on.

The dough is then formed into a round, and placed on a greased baking tray. A cross is cut across the top of the loaf, some flour is sprinkled on, and some extra cheese, because cheese topped bread is the best of course. Then into the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes – or more like 40 for mine!

Full printable recipe card at the end of this post.

River Cottage HQ

The River Cottage soda bread was so delicious. I had to hold restraint and not eat it all before driving back home (ended up being 5+ hours) to share with Steve, my husband. Now of course, to go with that yummy bread, you need equally yummy butter, and that is easier to make than you think!

River Cottage HQ

Homemade Butter


  • 500ml double cream
  • Sea salt flakes


  1. Place the cream into a bowl, and whisk with an electric whisk (we started with a balloon whisk… nope… hard work!) until the cream starts to split and it resembles scrambled egg.
  2. Then start to beat with a wooden spoon or spatula, pressing it against the sides of the bowl, until you’ve got butter, and buttermilk.
  3. You then need to squeeze the rest of the butter with your hands. Ideally they should be cool. If you find the butter is getting too soft, pop it in the fridge before continuing.
  4. Form into a ball, and then wash in ice cold water to prolong the shelf life of it.
  5. Press the butter into a rough rectangle on a sheet of greaseproof paper and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Roll up, Swiss roll style, and twist the ends of the greaseproof paper to form a cracker.
  7. Place in the fridge to firm up… or just use it right away on that warm soda bread!

Some bloggers added herbs and edible flowers to their butter. There were some very pretty butters made that day I can tell you!

River Cottage HQ

Soda Bread with Blackberries & Apple
  • 150g wholemeal flour
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½tsp salt
  • Small handful of blackberries
  • 1 small apple, cubed
  • Small handful grated cheese (Cheddar, or goat cheese)
  • Fresh thyme – leaves picked off
  • Honey
  • 200 – 250ml buttermilk
  • Extra cheese (optional) and flour for sprinkling
  1. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7
  2. Grease a baking sheet with some butter
  3. Sieve the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a mixing bowl. Tip the remaining wholemeal husks left in the sieve into the bowl as well.
  4. Add the blackberries, apple, cheese, herbs, and a drizzle of honey, and stir gently together.
  5. Add the buttermilk and combine until everything comes to a dough. Use less milk first, and add as required.
  6. Form into a round and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Slash a cross on the top of the bread with a knife.
  8. Sprinkle some flour, and extra cheese if desired.
  9. Bake for 25 to 40 minutes until golden and it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom of the bread.

River Cottage Soda Bread with Blackberries + Apple

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