For the dough
- 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
Flour is usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As the main…
- 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…
- 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…
Soak the dried fruits in the orange juice for about 30 mins, then sieve, reserving the juice.
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.
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.
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.
Bake for 20 mins, then cool in the tins before turning out and slicing.
Don't have two loaf tins?Just shape the fruit loaf dough into 2 round or oval loaves and sit them on a flour-dusted baking sheet before proving and baking.
More Easter bakingUse the same basic dough to make Chelsea buns and Hot cross buns - see 'Goes well with' recipes.