Fruit loaf

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • For

    6-10

    people

Appears in

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South: The history of British Baking, savoury and sweet

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2020

  • About

This is the kind of fruit loaf I grew up with – more loaf than cake. I remember buying a loaf in one of the oldest bakeries in our town and arriving home with just half a loaf left. My mum and I always ate the other half while we walked as it tastes its sweetest when freshly sliced and eaten straight from the paper bag. What was left was eaten toasted the next day, spread with cold butter as an afternoon treat.

I did the same with my best friend in school and today I cannot walk past that bakery without buying a loaf and sticking my hand in the bag to grab a slice, then another and then some more. I have come to associate the street with the scent and flavour of freshly baked fruit loaf.

Ingredients

  • 175 g (6 oz) currants
  • 60 g ( oz) raisins
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 15 g (½ oz) dried yeast
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) lukewarm milk
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) strong white bread flour
  • 50 g ( oz) raw (demerara) sugar
  • 100 g ( oz) butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 g ( oz) sea salt
  • 35 g ( oz) candied citrus peel
  • butter, for greasing
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp milk, for egg wash

Method

For a loaf tin (900 g/2 lb)

Soak the currants and raisins in the rum for 1 hour, then drain.

Add the yeast to the lukewarm milk to activate it. Put the flour and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix together, then put the butter on top. Pour half of the yeast mixture over the butter and start mixing. When the liquid and butter have been completely incorporated, add the remaining yeast mixture, together with the eggs. Knead for 5 minutes.

Let the dough rest for a few minutes and then add the salt and knead for another 10 minutes until all the dough has come together in a smooth dough that is not too dry. Scrape all of the dough back together.

Cover the dough and set aside for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. Meanwhile, prepare the loaf tin.

Knead the dough for 5 minutes while adding the currants, raisins and candied peel. Shape the dough into a rectangle and place it in the loaf tin. Cover and set aside to rise again for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Brush the top of the loaf with the egg and milk mixture and bake for 30-35 minutes until it is cooked and sounds hollow when you tap on the bottom.