Amazing Fruit Loaf Recipe – Perfect Bread For Tea

This British fruit loaf is always a success! It stems from a traditional Lancashire plumbed fruit loaf. This bread is “jam packed” with fruit. There’s so much fruit in it eating a slice of this bread probably contains 1 of your 5 a day!

Packed full with sweet ingredients, these fruit breads are just amazing when toasted and smothered with butter. It’s a true British tea time delight, that is partnered perfectly with a cup of tea! We use a fruit soaker to moisten the fruit and bring out its flavour. I’ll also show you how to incorporate delicate ingredients into the dough.

This recipe makes 3 small loaves, any extras can be frozen or given as gifts! Allow around 3 – 4 hours to make this bread.

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You can divide smaller pieces to make rolls from this recipe! Plus, for more indulgence, top with white icing for the ultimate fruited, sweet buns! Amazing…

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What you need to make a fruit bread

To make a plumbed fruit loaf, you’ll need the following equipment:

Using a thermometer will help you with controlling proofing times. For accurate dough temperature readings try this thermometer from Gdealer. Aim for dough temperature between 26C and 30C (79-86F).

What if I don’t have a baking stone?

A baking stone conducts heat into the loaf. Using one increases the height of the oven spring and helps to give an even bake on the base of the loaf. If you don’t have a baking stone, preheat the thickest baking sheet that you have.

Can I use a dutch oven to make this recipe?

Yes, but you shouldn’t need to. This recipe does not need a moist oven when baked. If want to use a dutch oven, you can but you should remove the lid. If you are looking to get a dutch oven, I recommend getting this one from Challenger.

Plumbed fruit loaf recipe


For the fruit soaker:

  • 40g  Brandy or rum
  • 150g Sultanas
  • 150g  Currants
  • 150g  Glace cherries
  • 50g  Mixed peel
  • 125g  Flaked Almonds

For the dough:

  • 500g  White bread flour 
  • 250g  Fresh whole milk (or 230g semi-skimmed and 20g double cream)
  • 15g  Fresh yeast (8g active-dried)
  • 9g  Salt
  • 40g  Caster sugar
  • 150g  Egg (3 medium)
  • 60g  Butter, softened

For the eggwash:

  • 1  egg
  • A pinch of salt

Dried and instant yeast conversion

If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and use the same method as fresh yeast. Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm the milk using 10 second bursts in the microwave until it reaches 35C (95F) – no higher. Add the dried yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to the milk, whisk and leave for 10 minutes to bloom. Add the yeasty milk to the recipe.

Changing the size of the recipe

This recipe makes 3 small-sized loaves and 2 rolls. I prefer to make a batch of 3 and then pop any spare in the freezer. They freeze really well. If you like you could slice them before freezing and toast them from frozen. To change the size of the batch, use the bakers formula.

Method to make fruit loaves

1) Toast the almonds

Select a baking tray, pour the almonds in it and spread them out so they are evenly distributed. Toast the almond flakes under the grill for a couple of minutes, be careful to prevent them from burning.

2) Prepare the fruit soaker

Take a small mixing bowl and add the dried fruit and most of the almonds (leave a few to top the loaves with) to a bowl. Chuck in the brandy or rum, stir with a spoon, cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight (10-16 hours).

3) Weigh the ingredients and get ready!

The next day weigh the remaining ingredients. If you are using dried yeast, follow the instructions below. Otherwise, first weigh the milk and the yeast, combine in a bowl and whisk until there are no lumps. Except the butter and the dried fruit soaker, put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl or dough mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.

4) Slowly knead the ingredients

By hand:

Set a 6 minute timer and use a dough scraper to gently combine the ingredients. When the bowl is starting to hinder the kneading technique, remove the dough onto a workbench. Slow kneading using a slow, stretching technique until the timer sounds.

Dough mixer:

Mix at a slow speed for 7 minutes and skip step 5.

5) Rest in the refrigerator

Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover and put in the fridge for 10 minutes.

6) Knead quickly and add the fat

By hand:

Remove from the fridge and set the timer for 6 minutes. Fast knead using the stretch and slap technique. Once the timer sounds put the dough back in the bowl and add the butter. Mash the dough into the fat with your hand to encourage them to incorporate. When combined, take the dough back onto the table and knead as fast as you can for 2 minutes.

Dough mixer:

increase the speed and mix for a further 4 minutes then add the butter a few pieces at a time. Mix till incorporated which will take around 2 minutes,.

7) Now add the fruit

Put the dough back in the bowl and add the fruit soaker. Gently massage the fruit and dough together with both hands to try and get an even distribution of the fruit.

Dough mixer:

Drop the mixer to slow speed and add the fruit soaker. Mix this on slow for 1-2 minutes until the fruit is distributed fairly. Be careful not to over mix and smash the fruit up.

8) Start the first rise

Using a dough scraper, remove the dough from the mixer and place in a lightly floured bowl. Take a temperature reading of the dough, if the dough temperature is over 26C, place the bowl in the fridge, if the temperature is cooler, it can be left on the worktop. Wherever it goes, cover it with a carrier bag or plastic wrap to stop it drying out.

9) Stretch and fold

After 45 minute, take the dough out of the bowl and drop onto the worktop. Complete a stretch and fold on the dough, or give it a gentle knead with your hands for 30 seconds.

10) Continue the first rise

Pop the dough back in the bowl, take a temperature reading and cover again. Leave to bulk ferment again in either the fridge or the side for another 45 minutes.

11) Dividing

Dust flour on a surface and turn the dough out on it. Using a metal dough scraper and some scale, divide the dough into 485g dough pieces and divide the remaining dough into 2 small balls.

12) Preshaping

Round into balls and leave to bench rest for 10-15 minutes. Lightly grease the baking tins with vegetable oil or butter. The rolls can be rounded and placed straight onto a tray lined with baking paper.

13) Shaping into loaves

Flatten a dough piece to remove some of the gas, tuck the edges in and roll into a cylinder and place in the tins with the seam facing downwards. Now do the same to the others.

14) The final rise

Proof for 2 ½ hours, or until the dough is poking up above the tins and the dough is touching the rim of the tin. Preheat the oven to 230C (450F) with a baking stone.

15) Egg wash

Crack an egg in a bowl and whisk it with a pinch of salt. Use a brush to apply the egg wash on top of the loaves.

16) Oven time!!

Bake in the oven at 220C (430F) for 30 minutes without adding steam. A nice dark colour should appear on the surface. Once baked, remove from the oven using oven gloves. To get the loaves out of the tins, turn them upside down and give a gentle tap.

To bake the rolls, use the same method but reduce the baking time to 15-20 minutes.

17) Glaze

For the glaze, melt some apricot jam in a pan, adding a drop of water to thin it. Quickly, use a pastry brush to paste the glaze over the bread and sprinkle the leftover almonds on top and cool. You can sieve icing sugar over them once they are cool – if you want.

If you do not have a pastry brush, take a piece of kitchen roll and fold over itself a few times. Dip the paper in the glaze and use it to spread it over the bread.
fruit bread recipe

How to make fruit bread with a video tutorial

How To Make A Real Plumb Fruit Loaf
How To Make A Real Plumb Fruit Loaf

Nutritional information per loaf

Calories: 1377kcal | Carbohydrates: 182g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 43g | Calcium: 197mg | Iron: 11mg

Other bread recipes to try:

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  1. Gareth,
    As a novice I appreciate your detailed instructions.
    Can you check the dough weight for the 3 loaves? I tried 485g as in the recipe but it was too little. In the end 1/3 of the dough was more like 570g for me.

  2. Thanks Adrain! Yes, you are correct, there was an issue in my formula which didn’t add up the last 2 rows of ingredients. This recipe makes 3 loaves and 2 small rolls. If you want to tweak the size of the batch, use the bakers formula. I’ve made some amendments to the recipe to compensate. Thank you!

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