Excellent fruit bread, possibly healthy (probably not though!!)

UnicornWell, for goodness sake. How rubbish at this blogging lark am I. The plan was to bake and blog at least once a week, I think I am managing once a quarter. Hmmmmm, must do better. Hopefully it was worth the wait. Actually one of the reasons I have been slow to bake and blog is I have developed a bit of a passion for all things crochet. Thanks to a very dear friend who showed me how to hold the hook and youtube I am now able to conjure up blankets, baby shoes and as of this week a unicorn, an octopus and a baby owl!!

Right, now to get on with the recipe that I teased you all with in the title. Paul Holywood’s How to bake book has many yummy treats but one that I spotted recently looked especially appealing.  The recipe makes two reasonable sized loaves and to our delight also lasted really well. So often with homemade bread you only have a day or so before it goes stale. This bread lasted beautifully for a couple of days and in fact we were still eating it happily on day three and four (it was a little sturdy by then but still very much in the yummy category).

As ever I tweaked a bit, mainly because the dried fruits I had in the cupboard were not quite but nearly the requested in the recipe below. My version was mainly sultanas, peel and apricots as I had no raisins. As long as you add the recommended amount of dried fruit I see no reason why you can’t play around with this too. I’m going to add dried cranberries next time too. Yum 🙂

Anyway, here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 40g unsalted softened butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • 160 ml warm full fat milk
  • 160 ml cool water
  • 100g sultanas
  • 80g raisins
  • 60g chopped ready to eat dried apricots
  • 60g chopped mixed peel
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Optional icing:

  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Method:

  • If you have a food mixer I would use it. This recipe would be tedious if done completely by hand although not impossible if you are feeling full of energy and not afraid of getting a bit sticky.
  • In your bowl of the mixer, place your flour and put your salt on one side and the yeast in the other. Add the butter, sugar, eggs, milk and half the water and mix on slow speed using the dough hook. Once the dough starts coming together you can slowly add the rest of the water.
  • Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Your dough should be elastic and soft to touch. If not mix it for another two minutes.
  • Add your dried fruit and cinnamon and then mix for a further 2 minutes. I mixed mine for around ten minutes in total in the end to get that dough really elastic and soft.
  • Cover your bowl with a bit of cling film or your handy shower cap (you can pick these up on eBay for a quid or so for ten) Leave to rise for at least an hour probably two though. It wants to be at least double original size.
  • Meanwhile, line a couple of baking trays with baking paper
  • Once your dough is all awesome and huge, tip it out on to your floured surface and gently knock it back by folding it over a few times. Divide into two pieces. Shape each piece into a loaf shape and pop it onto it’s tray. Put these trays into plastic bags and leave them to prove again for an hour so they can double in size.
  • Preheat your oven to 210 degrees C.
  • When your dough has proved itself, pop in the oven for 20 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on their bottoms. My oven is a bit aggressive so I find I need to turn it down to 190. Leave it on a wire rack to cool.
  • Once your bread has cooled a bit but still warm you can top with the icing, simply mix your icing sugar, zest and water together to a smooth batter and then brush this over the warm loaves. Leave to cool.
  • Slice and eat with a lovely cup of tea.

I stored these loaves in a large tupperware box happily for several days. I would think if you choose not to ice both, the second plain one would make gorgeous toast for a delicious breakfast.

Fruit bread and a cuppa

Enjoy,

Lx

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