I bake quite a bit, including baking bread every week, so if you don’t bake with yeast a lot I can understand you being a little skeptical of a bread recipe titled ‘easy’ – because of course I would say that wouldn’t I…
But, even though I would (of course) argue that the other bread/yeast recipes I’ve posted are pretty straightforward, this one is different in one important respect – it uses a bread maker. I don’t use our bread maker much now as I prefer the shaping and crust you get from baking in the oven, and it doesn’t fit well with sourdough – though when we were renovating and I had no oven for six months I actually got sourdough (of a sort) to work in the bread maker too. But when Mr GP and I were younger and living in a group house we used it nearly every day, and coming home from work and uni to fresh warm bread is still a great memory!
Now we only really use it for mixing our weekly pizza dough, as it’s usually Mr GP’s job and that’s how he learnt to make it; and for this fruit loaf, which is a recipe my parents came up with when they first got a bread maker. While the basic proportions of flour/water/yeast are pretty fixed when using a bread maker, what makes this bread special is the combination of spices, zest and sesame oil, which give a rich and quite exotic flavour to an otherwise simple bread.
So, to the details… I used a combination of sultanas, currants and raisins for this loaf, but I often add mixed peel (candied citrus) if I have it, and you could also add chopped dried apricots, figs etc, keeping in mind that the fruit needs to go with the sesame/orange flavouring, so I would tend to stick to Mediterranean flavours. You could use any sugar – I used rapadura, and I think some sort of brown sugar is nice, but white is also fine. For the spices, I used a mixture of freshly ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, mace, and cardamom (basically the contents of my spice box!) but for something simpler if you don’t have whole spices you could try the mixed ground spice blend I suggest in hot cross buns.
Spiced fruit bread
- 350mL/g water
- 2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbs vegetable oil (any relatively flavourless oil)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- zest of 2 oranges
- 3 Tbs sugar
- 1 Tbs freshly ground spices
- 2 Tbs powdered milk
- 1 1/2 tsp yeast
- 560g plain flour
- 1 cup dried fruit
The method for this is probably the easiest I’ve ever written! Add all ingredients except fruit to the bread pan in the order your bread maker recommends. Mine suggests starting with water, salt, sugar, flavourings, finishing with flour and yeast, but check your manual in case it differs. Add the dried fruit at the beep, chopped if using larger fruit such as figs and apricots. Bake on the sweet bread and light crust settings if it has them. The sugar and fruit content means it may burn on a normal bread setting.
Once the cycle is finished, remove from the tin quickly and cool on a rack to avoid the crust steaming in the tin. That’s it! The is wonderful just spread with butter when fresh, and makes great toast from the second day. Freeze, sliced, if you won’t eat within a few days as frozen slices still toast well.
Makes one 1kg loaf.
One year ago: Molasses grain bread
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Six months ago: Zucchini and rice stuffed mushrooms