Dates, prunes, apricots, cranberries, raisins…apple rings – whichever you decide is/are your favourites, they all have one…common denominator; to come together to provide you with a deliciously juicy fruit-infused wholemeal fruit loaf. It’s one of those cases where ‘the more, the merrier’ is very true. Grab whatever dried fruit you can, and chuck it in to produce one beautiful handmade loaf.
2 hours 30 minutes
1 loaf of bread
You will need…
💐 500g strong wholemeal flour
💐 40g plant-based butter
💐 2x 7g sachets of fast action dried yeast (14g altogether)
💐 300ml lukewarm water
💐 1-2 tsp sea salt
💐 170~250g of dried fruit, e.g:
💐 – 25g dried apple rings
💐 – 45g dried apricot
💐 – 30g dried prunes
💐 – 30g Californian raisins
💐 – 10g dried cranberries
💐 – 30g dried pitted dates
(Alternate between measurements and fruits, adjust to taste)
💐 (Optional) Extra flour for dusting
💐 (“) Butter for spreading
💐 (“) Maple syrup for drizzling
💐 (“) More fruit for decorating
How to make:
1) Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, along with the butter, salt and yeast (make sure the salt is at one side, and the yeast at the other to ensure the salt doesn’t ‘kill’ the yeast. Either mix with a spoon until combined, or use an electrical mixer, set to ‘min’, and mix for around 30 seconds.
2) Add the 300ml of water gradually; either ‘turn’ the mixture with your fingers until you get a dough consistency, or again, use the mixer until the dough is formed and it starts to come away from the side of the bowl easily. You may need a little more or even less water – aim for a consistency that isn’t too sticky or soggy.
3) Either knead by hand or by mixer. To knead by hand, turn out the mixture onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for around 4 to 5 minutes. If you’re using this method, ensure you fold the edges into the centre to stretch the gluten; keep turning the dough by a quarter and repeating this action. Alternatively, if you’re using a mixer, turn it to a higher speed and leave for 4 to 5 minutes, stopping it every now and then to pull the dough from the hook to help the dough get kneaded properly. Once you can pinch the dough and stretch it as far as around 1 inch, it’s done. If you do use the mixer method, maybe still hand-knead the dough for just a few minutes afterwards (just to make sure technology doesn’t let us down and the bread does actually rise…)
4) Cover the dough with a damp tea-towel in a bowl and leave it to prove for at least 1 hour, until it’s doubled in size.
5) Whilst waiting for the dough to prove, roughly chop up the dried fruit you will use.
6) Once the dough has proved, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and ‘knock’ it back, by using your hands to gently fold and knead in the fruit until fully incorporated. Place the dough on a baking-paper lined tray, and cover with the tea towel – leave to prove once more for around an hour until it’s doubled in size.
7) After about half an hour, preheat your oven to 200°C (fan assisted), and put an empty roasting tray in the bottom of your oven.
8) Once the dough has proved, use a sharp knife to cut about 1cm lines in a diamond pattern on the top of the dough and sprinkle with a little bit more flour. Put it in the oven, pouring water in the empty roasting tin just before you close the door (this will create steam, and steam will help create a nice shiny crust!) Bake for 30 minutes until golden. Leave it on a wire rack to cool, then, use a bread knife to cut in to this fruit-filled delight. Spread with butter and drizzle on maple syrup for an extra-sweet addition.