Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fruit Loaf

Now that I have sworn off baking & the making of all things sweet temporarily I managed to sneak in this lovely fruit loaf this weekend telling myself it was bread & not a cake so allowed. I don’t make bread very often but every now & again I get a hankering for it, especially after Megan dropped in for lunch the other day & brought along a fabulous loaf that her husband had baked that morning, very impressive & not something Michael would ever do or most husbands/boyfriends I know of for that matter! The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver Return of the Naked Chef & was delicious, its quite a heavy loaf as I find most fruit breads are, but slathered with a little butter it is perfect for breakfast or a snack & I can imagine in a couple of days will go well in the toaster too, it makes a massive loaf which will last for ages.

Fruit Loaf
30g fresh yeast or 3 x 7g sachets of dried yeast
30g sugar or honey
625ml tepid water
1kg strong bread flour
30g salt
extra flour for dusting
Fruit Mix
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1 clove, ground
200g dried apricots
100g dried dates
200g dried raisins

Firstly you need to get your fruit mix ready. Put all ingredients in a food processor & chop very finely.

Now to make the bread
Stage 1. Dissolve the yeast & sugar in half the tepid water.
Stage 2. On a large clean surface or in a large bowl, make a pile of the flour & salt. With one hand make a well in the centre & pour in all of the dissolved yeast & sugar mixture, with your fingers make circular movements, from the centre working outwards, slowly bringing in the dry ingredients until all yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the other half of the tepid water & the fruit mix into the centre & gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. If needed add a little extra water & also note that you may not need to use all of the water as the dried fruit retains water too, you will have to watch the dough carefully & be the judge. For mine I used the exact quantities.
Stage 3. Knead for 5 minutes & if any sticks to your hands just rub together with a little extra flour.
Stage 4. Flour both hands now & lightly flour the top of the dough. Make into a roundish shape & place on a baking tray. Score the dough with a knife. Leave the dough covered in glad wrap to prove in a warm, moist, draught free place, it needs to double in size, about 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200c.
Stage 5. Take the proved dough & bash the air out, then shape into a round & place on a floured baking tray to double in size again, about 40 minutes.
Stage 6. Bake in a preheated oven for 50 mins to 1 hour. Loaf will be cooked when it sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before eating.


Rosie said...

WOW ange this is one large fruit loaf!! Jamie O has some wonderful recipes and this one looks really fab!! Did it take long to prove? Gosh like you said 'perfect with a spread of butter' slurp, drool ;-)

You have so many beautiful temping recipes on your blog I must give some a whirl very soon!! (If this is fine with you?)

Bye for now & I'll be peeking in again soon!!

Ange said...

Hi Rosie, yes it is a monster, I only proved it for about 40 minutes as suggested each time & that did the trick fine & its not even that warm in my house!

Ali-K said...

Sworn off making all things sweet for a while. Hmm, I've toyed with that idea myself. Instead I've decided to hunt out some low fat recipes that will satisfy my sweet craving at work. Problem is, it's the sugar that's my weakness, not the fat.

I've never made bread before, this might be a good one to start on.