Devonshire Saffron Loaf

Preparation info

  • Makes:

    two 500 g

    loaves
    • Difficulty

      Medium

    • Ready in

      45 min

Appears in

Cakes

Cakes

By Geraldene Holt

Published 2011

  • About

Bright daffodil-yellow saffron with its bewitching scent and taste is characteristic of West Country baking, particularly in yeast-risen bread, buns and cakes. The dried stigmas of the lilac-flowered Crocus sativa, harvested by hand mainly in Spain and Iran, produce the world’s costliest spice. Soak the saffron threads overnight to obtain the deepest flavour and colour. If you prefer to make a plain fruit Devonshire tealoaf, simply omit the saffron from the recipe.

Ingredients

  • ¼ tsp dried saffron threads
  • 60 ml / 2 fl oz warm water
  • 500g / 1 lb 2 oz plain flour
  • 7 g / ¼ oz fast-action dried yeast
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 60 g / 2 oz caster sugar
  • 300 g / 10 oz dried mixed fruit and candied peel
  • 60 g / 2 oz butter
  • 300 ml / 10 fl oz warm milk
  • extra warm water for mixing
  • ½ tsp clear honey

Method

Measure the dried saffron into a cup and add the warm water. Stir well and leave overnight.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, nutmeg, sugar and dried fruit. Melt the butter in the milk and add the saffron liquid with the threads. Pour on to the flour mixture and add enough warm water to mix to a sticky dough. Mix well for 3–4 minutes. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for 1–2 hours or until the mixture has doubled in size.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and knead lightly for 1–2 minutes. Divide in half, knead each piece into an oval shape and place in the prepared loaf tins. Leave the leaves to prove in a warm place for 1 hour or until the tops of the loaves are above the edge of the tins.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and the bottom of each loaf gives a hollow sound when tapped. Cool the loaves on a wire rack and brush the honey over the top crust.