My grandmother used to whip up a loaf of fruit bread in her bread maker every few days. I loved it and still have a soft spot for a fruit loaf. Her secret was some ground cardamom.
This loaf is a versatile one! Make it as a loaf for delicious fruit toast, plait it and drizzle with icing for an afternoon treat, or shape into buns for a traditional Easter bun.
¾ cup milk
½ cup boiling water
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp active dried yeast
1 tsp salt
4½ cups high grade flour
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground ginger
1 cup mixed fruit
Place the milk, water, butter and brown sugar in a small bowl and mix. Add the yeast and place in a warm place for 25–35 minutes. The yeast should cause the mixture to foam.
In the bowl of your mixer (with the dough hook attached), place the flour, salt and spices. Mix well before adding the liquid. Knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes. Add the dried fruit and knead in.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl (I do this with hot water, so it retains some of the heat), before lightly greasing it and returning the dough back. Cover with cling film and/or a damp tea towel and place in a warm spot to rise. You want the dough to double in size.
Punch the dough down and shape into buns, place in a large loaf tin, or divide into three and roll and plait. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise again. When doubled again in size, bake in a pre-heated 190°C oven for 25–35 minutes for buns (around 40–50 minutes for a loaf depending on its shape and size). You know it is cooked if you tap it and it sounds hollow.
Remember, resist the temptation to cut into the hot loaf! It needs to cool completely before you make your first slice.