Spiced fruit loaf

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 20 mins Plus soaking, rising and proving

More effort

Makes 2 x 2lb loaves, each cuts into 8 slices
A treat when freshly baked and spread with butter, then try it toasted for breakfast the next day

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per slice

  • kcal190
  • fat4g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs36g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre2g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.35g
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    For the dough

    • 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting



      Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

    • 2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast



      Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

    • 50g caster sugar
    • 150ml warm milk



      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

    • 1 egg, beaten



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

    • 50g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
    • oil, for greasing

    For the spices

    • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground ginger

    For the dried fruit

    • 50g dried apricot, chopped
    • 50g dried fig, chopped



      Although not juicy, the fig is an incredibly luscious fruit, with a delicate aroma and sweet…

    • 50g pitted date, chopped



      Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits - it's thought that they were a staple part of…

    • 50g sultana
    • 50g glacé cherry, chopped
    • juice 1 orange



      One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…


    1. Soak the dried fruits in the orange juice for about 30 mins, then sieve, reserving the juice.

    2. Put the flour, yeast, caster sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the spices and soaked fruit and mix well. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, reserved orange juice, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Mix everything together to form a dough – start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water; if it’s too wet, add more flour.

    3. Knead in the bowl or on a floured surface until the dough becomes smooth and springy. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in size – this will take about 1 hr depending on how warm the room is.

    4. Knock the dough back by kneading for a few secs. Dust 2 x 2lb loaf tins with flour. Halve the dough. Use a little flour to help you shape each half into a smooth oval, then pop them into the tins. Cover both loosely with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for about 20 mins. Meanwhile, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

    5. Bake for 20 mins, then cool in the tins before turning out and slicing.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    Comments (21)

    Paul Melton Harvey's picture

    Seriously - make this fruit loaf and you will never want to buy one again.
    Yes I found that it does take longer to rise than it states in the method (more about this later) but the extra wait is well worth it.
    As mentioned in some other comments I too thought that there wasn't enough liquid but don't be tempted to add more as the fruit is very wet after being soaked in the orange juice.
    I used packet dried mixed fruit instead of individual fruits as in the recipe and it works just fine.
    I left the first rise for one and a half hours at 35 degrees in the proving oven. Most modern ovens have this temperature control facility built in.
    After needing lightly before the second rise I split the dough in half and used one half for the loaf which I put into a one pound loaf tin and I divided the second half into 6 pieces and made them into buns and set them on a flat baking tray.
    I left all this to prove again as before for one and a half hours then baked them for 20 minutes (buns) and 25 minutes for the loaf.
    These are superb eaten as they are or even better lightly toasted and spread with real butter.

    Whica's picture

    Just made the loaf and mine did not rise either. Why is there only 150 ml of warm milk? Every loaf I have made over the years it is 300 ml of water to 450 gram of flour? The recipe also says it makes 2 one pound loaves?

    jenclews's picture

    The reason this loaf takes so long to rise/doesn't rise is the method is really NOT allowing the yeast to do its work. I would be making the dough first (yeast, sugar, flour, liquid) then allowing the dough to prove properly, then add the fruit (gently, it's always a bit tricky doing this.) Then shape the loaves, put in tins and allow to prove. Use the timings as a guide, if the dough hasn't almost doubled in size, leave it until it has.

    David N's picture

    1. Don't forget the salt - included in description but not in ingredients.
    2. This has made the best fruit loaf for me ever. I used a Lidl bread machine all ingredients (not halved) in machine directly. Set at 1250grms, max browning, programme three -whole meal bread. Aroma whilst baking wonderful. It made a fluffy light juicy fruit loaf (not dry) fully baked no part uncooked.
    3. Reading some of the reviews here, having started the machine made me wonder if I should have chosen another recipe as some are rather off putting but for me and my machine it was perfect and recipe will be used again

    Jemma-LouLou's picture

    I too struggled to get the dough to rise. I had it sat in the tins overnight for the second prove and it barely made the top of the tins. I also found that the 20 minutes wasn't long enough, though the top browned well in that time, the bread is very doughy. One loaf is still in the oven, the test loaf will unfortunately go to waste :(

    mariawebber's picture

    Just made this for the first time. Had 2lb & 1lb tins so tried half in each. Came out better in smaller tin. Baked for 30 mins in fan oven. Tastes delicious. Will use same recipe to make tea cakes.

    jin2057's picture

    My family love this fruit loaf. I have made it many times. It is difficult to get the yeast started, I now make a starter with the warmed milk and half the sugar, add the yeast and wait for 30 mins until it froths.
    It makes 2x2lb loaf tins but not quite as big as a normal loaf.
    Takes 35-40 mins to bake NOT 20mins as stated

    kingtwig's picture

    My dough didn't rise, and I used the breadmaker! Very odd! Also, shouldn't this make 2x1lb loaves, not 2x2lbs??

    constanze's picture

    You might make sure the yeast you are using is fresh. Old yeast is dead yeast and it will not rise. I hope this will help.

    jin2057's picture

    Good recipe, absolutely delicious and freezes well. But the timings are all wrong. I have made it three times now.
    It takes a couple of hours to rise. Apparently a slow rise is quite normal for high sugar recipes. Just give yourself plenty of time.
    More annoying though, it takes 40 minutes to bake, not 20. If in doubt check with a meat thermometer that the centre is above 90 degrees C
    Bearing this in mind it is worth a go.
    Also, it is fine if you just chuck all the ingredients into a Kitchen Aid with a dough hook and mix on slow speed for 5 mins

    chrisa1uk's picture

    Having grumbled above about the bread not being cooked through, I have now discovered the problem was that well-known mistake: Nosy Husband. I can't find a way to delete or edit my comment.

    Nosy Husband has admitted opening and closing the oven door "a couple of times" (yeah), having a good prod and taking the loaves out of the oven. If it were not for Nosy Husband, I am sure the recipe would have been cooked through. As it is, I've told him his bread is in the bin.

    chrisa1uk's picture

    This was easy to prepare, the dough rose (twice) and I took it out of the oven after the 20 minutes indicated. However, when I cut into the loaf it was uncooked in the middle, and by then it was too late to do anything other than throw it into the bin.

    I have a fan oven and used an independent thermometer so I know the oven temperature was spot on; I divided the loaf equally and both were uncooked in the middle.

    I am so disappointed and annoyed at the waste.

    moominbadger's picture

    Took double the stated time...is the temperature right?! Tasty but frustrating trying to cook it properly!

    mistermental's picture

    I followed this exactly, not too sure which of my tins is the 2 pound one, but I put it in the one that fit!
    It has taken all day to prove though! I'm sure that I put the yeast in at the start, but it didn't raise all night, even after the first hour in a 40 degree oven that i usually use for raising loaves.
    I hydrated another 2 tsps of yeast this morning and kneadd it in. It's been 8 hours since then and it's only just made it to the top of the tin.
    Is it the juice slowing things down? most of the rest of these ingredients have been in my bread at some point.

    mscupcake's picture

    Very nice. I need a bit of practice with my breadmaker lol but the half I cooked in the oven was very successful. No figs used but otherwise to the letter. Will make again - nice and simple so a good choice for over Easter.

    mscupcake's picture

    The picture looks good and seems more bread than fruit yet the recipe calls for 250 g fruit, which seems like a lot to me - half the weight of flour in fact. Does it seem very fruity? Will it be too boring if I reduce the amount of fruit, as I am tempted to do? Want to give this a go this w/e and with lots of other rich foods a slightly plainer fruit bread would be preferrable.

    mariab2's picture

    I prefer more of a hot-cross-bun taste so I now make this dough with 2tsp cinnamon, 2tsp mixed spice and 150g dried mixed fruit (not soaking in orange juice though I may try this some time!) - absolutely delicious.

    annpatey's picture

    Made this today using a Magimix for the dough and thought I'd knead in the fruit by hand. Bad idea, maybe 'cos the fruit is wet. So I put dough and fruit back in the mixer and carried on as per the recipe. The fruit didn't get broken down in the mixer as I feared it would and it tastes delicious.

    rosehungate's picture

    does this work well made/baked in a breadmaker?

    lovage's picture

    This turned out to be a lovely light fruity loaf, the orange juice kept it nice and moist the next day.

    I used mixed fruit rather than mix myslef and used the dough setting on the breadmaker to mix and prove. All the family loved it. Will definitely use again.


    Questions (2)

    9erDee's picture

    at what point do you add the spices? and can you use half the ingredients to make half the yield?

    jg61's picture

    Just tried to make this for a second time, with new yeast. Smells lovely but didn't rise at all, really disappointed. :'-( What am I doing wrong?

    Tips (1)

    philipfoxe's picture

    I agree with people about the timing. I have made this a few times and I bake it for 30 minutes. I use white bread flour. Also be careful not to use too much liquid as it will not cook in the middle. Stick with it though, it is really tasty. I use the soft dried fruit from Lidl which is quite soft, especially the apricots.