Tasty Tuesday - Homemade Fruit Loaf

 Recently I have started learning to make my own bread. It has been a learning experience to say the least and my poor husband has had to endure some interesting outcomes of my baking adventures with bread. Think brick sized loaves and just as hard, and severely over spiced fruit loaf that makes your hair stand on end! My aim eventually is to completely stop buying store brought bread and eat my homemade bread.

I want to do this for a number of reasons -
1. To save money.
I buy bulk lots of bread flour, which helps reduce the cost per loaf. Raisin loaf can cost about $5-$6 a loaf and I can make it for about $3 and a simply white loaf for even cheaper.
2. Healthier eating.
Read the label on your next loaf of bread! A loaf of bread doesn't need that number of ingredients in it and it's not natural to have a loaf stay soft for a week.
3. The challenge
Hey I love a cooking challenge and I wanted to master a good loaf of bread.

With all my misadventures in perfecting a good loaf of bread I eventually baked a GREAT loaf and have not looked back since. It took some time, some patience (on both my behalf and my poor husbands), reading and trying a few different recipes and methods but I got there in the end. The first loaf I got right was a simple white loaf and hubby said it tasted delicious! Kudos to me!

So I then directed my thoughts to trying something different...  Fruit Loaf it was!
Again it took some time and a few different recipes to get the texture and taste of a real fruit loaf. The essence of a good "Fruit Loaf" or "Raisin Toast" as some may call it is:
1. The fruit : I used naturally dried sultanas but you could also use mixed fruit, dates, apricots instead. The possibilities are endless of what you can add.
2. The spice: Not to overpowering but enough to taste it after being slathered in butter and jam!
3. The consistency: It has to have a similar consistency to a hot cross bun - a bit of a cakey feel to it instead of such a bread texture. (If you get what I mean?)

You only need a handful of ingredients such as the suggested in the pictures you have been scrolling through, a few minutes here and there throughout the day and Voila you have your very own Fruit Loaf to call your own. The total mixing, kneading, proving and cooking time would probably be between four and four and a half hours but most of that time you just hide it somewhere to rise and expand. So it really isn't that much hard work.

My Fruitloaf

{Download & Print Recipe}

Makes 1

600g Strong Bread Flour
2 Tsp Bread Improver
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 Tsp Mixed Spice
1 Egg
2 Cups Raisons/Sultana's or Mixed Fruit

1 Tbsp Yeast
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter, Melted
225ml Boiling Water
225ml Milk

Grease a bread tin and set aside. Alternatively set up your bread maker under "dough" setting to mix the dough for you or under bread setting to do the whole process.
In a bowl place the yeast, two teaspoons of the brown sugar, butter, water and milk. Set aside in a warm place for 10 – 15 min until the yeast mixture begins to froth.

In a bowl (or bread mixer bucket) place in this order: salt, flour, bread improver, remaining brown sugar, spices, egg & dried fruit.
Pour over the frothed yeast mixture and mix until a dough forms. (*Alternatively set your bread maker to bread setting and press start).

Frothed Yeast Mixture.....

Knead dough on a floured surface for 5 – 10 min until silky and smooth.
Turn your oven on for 40 sec on high and turn off. 
Place dough in an oiled bowl, place a tea towel over the top and place the bowl into the warmed oven. (*This creates a warm environment for the dough to rise) Leave in the oven for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a floured surface for another 5 min to expel all the air in the dough.
Place the dough into the greased bread tin and place back into the oven uncovered for about an hour or until the dough has risen 2 cm above the tin.

Turn the oven on to about 175 – 180 degrees, fan forced (or 200 – 205 degrees normal oven) Cook for about 40 min or until bread sounds hollow when tapped.
Set tin aside for 5 min to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Leave bread overnight wrapped in a tea towel before slicing the next day.


What cooking challenges have you had in the kitchen lately?


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