Cranberry & Apricot Fruit Bread

Fruit bread makes a quick, easy and tasty breakfast, it is especially tasty when smothered with butter or coconut oil and honey. Mmm, delicious!

The problem I face is I can’t eat commercial baker’s yeast and that more or less rules out being able to eat bought fruit bread. Luckily, I love cooking and cooking new things I haven’t tried to make before.

The first step in cooking fruit bread is that same as any other bread – make the sponge. Mix 1.5 cups sourdough start, 1.5 cups warm water, 2 cups plain flour. Make the sponge in the morning and leave it to develop in a warm sport during the day.

01 sponge

The fruit you use in your bread is entirely up to you. I chose apricots, dates and cranberries, half a cup of each. I also added fresh ginger (chopped one tablespoon), sunflower seeds and pumpkin (pepita) seeds (2 tablespoons each), as well as a few random odds and ends which needed using up (goji berries, cocoa nibs and shredded coconut).

Soak the fruit and seeds in hot water for one hour, then drain.02 fruit

To turn the sponge in to fruit bread dough add 2 cups flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar and one teaspoon of each nutmeg, cinnamon and mixed spice. Knead with bread hooks for 25 minutes or until elastic and glossy.

03 doughOnce the dough is glossy, turn it out onto a well floured bench and knead until the dough stops absorbing flour. Flatten the bread into a rectangle about an inch thick. Spread a handful of fruit on the dough, fold it on itself and repeat until all the fruit is incorporated into the dough.

This was a bit messy and the squelching and squishing noises the fruit laden dough made was rather amusing.

Put the dough in a lined and oiled bread tin and leave over night to prove. My dough overflowed from the container!

04 riseBake the dough at 170 degrees Celsius for about an hour. Once the bread has cooled slice and eat!

05 bread

Outcome: The smell of fruit bread filled the house while the dough was baking -it was delightful. The bread was tasty and I have been enjoying it at work for breakfast.

Next time: I think this bread can be improved by using half plain and half wholemeal flour. I would also soak the fruit for the one hour mentioned in this post rather than the 3 hours I did soak them for. I would also add more brown sugar and spices.

06 bread2Ingredients: 1.5 cups sourdough starter, 1.5 cups warm water, 4 cups plain flour (plus more for the bench), cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg, brown sugar, dried fruit and seeds (I used cranberries, dates, apricots, sunflower and pepita seeds).

Equipment: bowl (x2), sieve/strainer, measuring cup, electric bread hooks, bread tin, greaseproof paper, oven

Steps:

  1. Make the sponge – mix 1.5 cups sourdough starter, 1.5 cups warm water, 2 cups flour. Leave for 6 hours to rest and grow
  2. Soak the fruit – soak 1.5 cups of dried fruit and seeds in hot water for one hour then drain
  3. Make the dough – To the sponge add 1/3 cup sugar and one teaspoon of each cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg. Knead with dough hooks for 25 minutes until glossy and elastic. Turn the dough out on to a well-floured bench and knead until the dough stops absorbing flour.
  4. Add the fruit – flatten the dough into a rectangle about an inch thick, spread a handful of fruit on the dough. Fold the dough over itself. Repeat until all the fruit is incorporated into the dough.
  5. Put the dough into a lined and oiled baking tin and leave overnight to prove.
  6. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for about an hour.
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