To enjoy Mark’s lovely, dark rich bread at its best, eat it within a day or so of baking. Making your own chilli butter is optional, of course, but a sure way to impress your guests.
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.
Place the butter, honey and sugar into a small pan and place it over a low heat, stirring regularly until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the stout. Leave to cool.
Place the flours, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir in the chocolate chunks. Stir in the stout mixture and the buttermilk and keep stirring until it starts to come together to a soft, slightly sticky dough. Then, place the dough on a lightly floured worktop and shape it into a round loaf, taking care not to overwork it.
Place the loaf on a baking sheet and, using a sharp knife, cut a deep cross in the top. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
While the bread is baking, make the butter. Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on a medium speed until the cream curdles, the butter solidifies on the whisk, and the buttermilk separates from the fat.
Place the butter inside the muslin-lined sieve over a bowl. Gather up the muslin and squeeze gently to remove the excess buttermilk, then place the butter in a separate bowl. Mix through the salt and the chilli and serve in a small bowl alongside the soda bread.