I’m a sucker for a good fruit bread.
On our recent travels down the south coast of NSW we stopped for a coffee and something to eat at the marvellous Heritage Bakery in Milton. The array of breads and pastries and cakes was magnificent.
I limited myself to only one loaf of something and that something was a fig and cranberry sour dough bread. What a choice it was. It was one of the nicest fruit breads I’ve had in a very long time. Big juicy pieces of fig and little tart cranberries. It was perfect.
No, I haven’t got a recipe for that dreamy fruit loaf, yet…. but I’ll share when I do…
I found this recipe in Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery, which is The Cookbook Guru‘s book of the month.
It’s called Northumbrian Harvest Tea Cake, but once you look at the recipe it’s just a fancy name for Fruit Loaf.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious, but these days we call it fruit loaf and here’s a simple version of the recipe.
For 1 big loaf you’ll need:-
450g bakers’ Flour
1/2 tsp salt
30g castor sugar
15g dried yeast
150g warm milk
75g warm water
60g butter – melted
1 egg – lightly beaten
1 tsp mixed spice or nutmeg
In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, currants and mixed spice.
In a small bowl or jug mix the milk, water and butter together. Make sure it is still warm otherwise the yeast won’t work, then pour into the flour mix with the egg.
Mix until it comes together then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6 – 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Now tip the dough back out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes then divide into three equal pieces.
Roll the pieces into a long thin sausage shapes the same length and lay them side by side. Pinch the tops together firmly then braid the lengths.
Leave on a baking paper lined baking tray in a warm place, loosely covered, for about 40 – 45 minutes.
Bake in a hot 220oC oven for 15 minutes then I found I had to turn the loaf over and cook for another 5 minutes to cook the underside till brown.
Leave to cool for a few minutes before ripping into chunks and devouring.
At least that’s how it went in our house…