Busby's Bakery School

Traditional fruit loaf for a perfect British afternoon tea

Amazing Fruit Loaf Recipe -The Best Bread For Afternoon Tea

hard

 3 - 4 hours

uk

This British fruit loaf is always a success! Packed full with many sweet ingredients, these fruit breads are just amazing when toasted and chunks of butter are smothered on top. I use a fruit soaker and show how to incorporate delicate ingredients into bread making.

A proper British tea time bread delight! Makes 3 small loaves, any extras can be frozen or given as gifts!


Ingredients 

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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 (7g dried)


       9g  Salt


     40g  Caster sugar


   150g  Egg (3 medium)


     60g  Butter, softened


1

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

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

The next day weigh the remaining ingredients. If you are using dried yeast, 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.

4

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. 

5

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

6

Remove from the fridge and set the timer for 4 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 on to the table and knead as fast as you can for 2 minutes. 

7

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.

8

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 (78F), 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

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. 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. 

10

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. Pre-shape into balls and leave to bench rest for 10-15 minutes. Lightly grease the baking tins with vegetable oil or butter.

11

Flatten 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.

12

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.

13

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

14

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 tins by turning the breads upside down and allow to cool. 

15

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

Method using a dough mixer


1

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

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

The next day weigh the remaining ingredients. If you are using dried yeast, 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 dough mixer that is fitted with a dough hook attachment. 

4

Mix at a slow speed for 7 minutes, then increase the speed to fast mixing for a further 8-10 minutes. Add the butter a few pieces at a time.

5

Mix till incorporated which should take approx 2 minutes, then drop the mixer to slow speed and add the fruit soaker. Mix this on slow for 1-2 minutes, be careful not to over mix and smash the fruit up, try to get an even distribution of fruit without damaging the fruit.

6

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 (78F), 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.

7

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. 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. 

8

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. Pre-shape into balls and leave to bench rest for 10-15 minutes. Lightly grease the baking tins with vegetable oil or butter.

9

Flatten 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.

10

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.

11

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

12

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 tins by turning the breads upside down and allow to cool. 

13

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

How to make fruit bread with a video tutorial


Top tips for the best British fruit loaf


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.

Make rolls with this recipe also, plus for more indulgence, top with white icing for the ultimate fuited, sweet buns! Amazing...

To make more or less of this bread, use the bakers formula that is found under the ingredients list. This spreadsheet allows you to input the desired amount of dough and works out how much you need of each ingredient! 

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