Fruit Loaf

1 October 2012

Post image for Fruit Loaf

If I had to choose my favourite meal of the day, it might have to be breakfast. But having just said that, those close to me might sneer and jest, for the truth is, I often value sleep too much to be bothered with breakfast. When faced with a busy agenda at the office, I’m often frantically heading out of the door on an empty stomach, only able to face food once I have turned on the computer at work to see what fires I need to extinguish that day. Then it’s a quick dash to the work canteen for a comforting cup of coffee and either a croissant or muffin which I will inevitably finish on the walk back to my office. This is in contrast to my more sensible and calm husband who takes the time each morning to sit down to a large mug of tea, a generous portion of bread with jam or compote, followed by a piece of fruit, all the while (seemingly leisurely) reading the day’s newspaper.

Having recently taken a break from work, I have suddenly discovered how important breakfast is, not just in terms of preparing the body nutritionally for the long day ahead, but also psychologically; when I feel I have eaten well at breakfast, suddenly I am happier and am full of positive energy to face whatever the day brings. Breakfast, for me, was previously a meal which I only embraced on the weekends. But having now learnt the error of my ways, I now find myself planning for breakfast in much the same way as I plan for lunch or dinner. And perhaps what makes breakfast such a nice time of day to sit down and eat is that it seems to be a meal where one can sit down to something sweet and call it a breakfast if a cup of tea or coffee is nearby :-)

Growing up in Australia, a typical breakfast for me before heading to school was either a bowl of Weetbix, some toast smeared with butter and Vegemite, or some toasted fruit bread with a generous slather of butter and perhaps some marmelade. As my parents ran a bakery when I was a child, there was always a loaf of fresh bread at home at breakfast, still warm from the oven which my mother would bring home after her early morning shift, in time to drop me off for the bus to school.

To this day, some toast at breakfast with a large mug of Earl Grey tea is a simple pleasure for me. Add a soft-boiled egg or two and I am in heaven. Or perhaps replace the toast with a croissant or a brioche (or a chocolate-truffle stuffed brioche!) and I am skipping.

When Caroline from The Patterned Plate recently blogged about her favourite recipes from Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra, I was instantly drawn to the Fruit Loaf. Actually, the truth is, I am drawn to EVERYTHING that Caroline makes! She recently asked if I could do a guest post on her blog while she took some time off under the sun in Spain, and I had to confess in that post to almost stalking Caroline at times because her enthusiasm for certain recipes can be infectious! Caroline has been a true champion of Warm Bread and Honey Cake, a book which is full of fantastic baking recipes but which I couldn’t find myself getting into until Caroline gave me the nudge I needed.

And this Fruit Loaf called out to me because, quite frankly, I couldn’t remember the last time I had had toasted fruit bread for breakfast. As with most food memories associated with growing up in Australia, I was excited to try this recipe because sliced fruit bread is hard to find in Switzerland. Well, not the sort that Aussies are used to anyway. The result was a surprisingly easy-to-make loaf of bread which was wonderfully delicious. I’m so happy that my first foray into Warm Bread and Honey Cake was such a success – be prepared for more posts from this beautiful book :-)

Fruit Loaf
Recipe adapted from Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra
Makes 1 loaf

Cook’s Notes

This is a very simple fruit loaf – think white bread studded with dried fruit. But given it’s simplicity, it lends itself well to any personal variations which you desire. In terms of dried fruit, the original recipe calls for:
100 g / 3 1/2 oz currants
55 g / 2 oz sultanas (golden raisins)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon candied orange peel

I like my fruit bread with more bread to dried fruit ratio, so I reduced the quantities of dried fruit in this recipe and restricted it to only raisins and dried apricots the first time I made it. On the second occasion, I added raisins and chopped dried figs. You can also spice up the bread with some ground cinnamon and/or cardamon. Really, the variations are quite up to you.

As with most bread recipes, this particular recipe calls for strong white flour. Strong white flour contains more gluten, giving bread that wonderful elastic texture when baked. However, as you will see from the discussion between some foodie friends on my Facebook page, it seems that normal plain flour (or all-purpose flour) works really well here too.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianne 1 October 2012 at 1:21 am

Yum! I just finished eating some raisin toast and am now finishing the last of my cup of coffee. I think I might have to give this recipe a go later in the week seeing as I’m on holidays. I love fruit toast and your adaptation of this recipe looks lovely! Hold the mixed peel though!

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:12 am

I’m not a fan of mixed peel either! Despite being a bread recipe involving yeast, this was a surprisingly easy bread to make. But as with all recipes working with yeast, you just need to set aside some time for the two stages of proving the dough. So a perfect recipe to try when you are on holidays :-)

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 1 October 2012 at 2:08 am

This loaf is lovely! What a fun recipe!

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:15 am

Thank you! It was quite fun to make, given how easy the recipe was :-)

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TheSpicySaffron 1 October 2012 at 3:08 am

Awesome pictures!! (especially the risen dough one & the prepared loaf cooling on the rack). I will have to keep coming back to admire them :)
It looks beautifully delicious, I can happily have 3-4 slices of this loaf smeared with marmalade for breakfast and a slice or two with butter during evening tea and one or more slices smeared with nutella for dessert after dinner! How about you?
You are right, this book is an absolute winner, thanks to Caroline for bringing this our notice.

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:17 am

Oh thank you! I like the photo of the risen dough too. I also took a photo once I punched back the dough, but it didn’t look too pretty then ;-)

I have a fairly lengthy list of things to make from this book … hopefully I will get around to it soon! I see you have also had your nose in this book lately :-)

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debjani 1 October 2012 at 3:27 am

How absolutely gorgeous! Nothing like a good fruity loaf hot from the oven.
I love your ingredients shot and the little cups that holds the items.

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:19 am

Thank you! I have an obsession with kitchenware and, thankfully, they’re getting a bit of use now as props in my photos :-)

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thefooddept 1 October 2012 at 4:39 am

What a gorgeous post! This is the perfect recipe to do whilst on holidays.

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:20 am

Thank you! Indeed, holidays mean more time to linger in the kitchen and this fruit loaf is a real treat to make for breakfast the next day.

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Jo 1 October 2012 at 7:19 am

Spooky! I just made this this week Thanh and I’m smitten, as is hubby. I used just raisins, no candied peel and I definitely went with ground cardamom (and orange zest). The result was an almost hot cross bun effect and I am kicking myself for not trying it sooner. I’m thinking I might even make one each week so I can have it for breakfast everyday I love it so much. I love your photos here – the step by steps you do here are my personal favourite ones of yours. :)

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:26 am

Thanks Jo! Perhaps you like these photos because you are quite the keen bread baker yourself? ;-)

I love that this recipe lends itself well to many variations. I think once you add ground cardamom and cinnamon, you have something quite close to a hot cross bun, which is nothing bad at all! On both occasions when I’ve made this bread, I made it on a Friday so that it was ready for the weekend breakfast. I think making it once a week sounds like an idea because it is rather quick and easy (if you manage to plan the proving times well).

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Melange 1 October 2012 at 7:28 am

What a stunning post ! It’s made my day..I love to always READ you.And today’s reading made me realize how we women folks miss this fabulous meal of the Day ! Even when we are aware of the magic it brings…You are absolutely right.
And the loaf,It’s just PERFECT !

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:28 am

I’m happy to hear that my post gave you a good start to the day :-) You so often hear how busy people tend to miss the most important meal of the day, but I never really stopped to think *why* it was the most important meal of the day. In such a short time, breakfast went from being non-existent for me during the week to my favourite meal :-)

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manu 1 October 2012 at 8:13 am

I like it!!! It’s perfect for breakfast!!
Happy Monday ;-)

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:29 am

Hi Manu! Yes, this is definitely a bread which is perfect for breakfast, but I wouldn’t say no to a slice for afternoon tea, either :-)

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Caroline 1 October 2012 at 10:11 am

Gorgeous pictures as usual! I don’t like fruit in my bread but yours looks so nice that I would give it a try (that says a lot for me!). Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day too even though I tend to eat the same thing every morning: toasted slices of my own bread (that I make using the no-knead recipe) with a bit of butter and cenovis (the local Vegemite)..yum, sooo good! If I feel fancy, I will replace the butter and cenovis with slices of avocado, a poached egg and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar..very delicious too.

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:33 am

I don’t normally like dried fruit. In fact, I detest fruit cake of most sorts. But fruit bread seems to be something quite different for me, provided that it is not too dense with dried fruit. So the great thing about making your own fruit bread is adding as little or as much dried fruit as you like, and also using whatever dried fruit you like.

You sound so virtuous to have homemade bread everyday! I wish I could have the same!

So Cenovis is Swiss Vegemite?? I never knew that … I really ought to try it!

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Caroline 1 October 2012 at 2:10 pm

Yes, Cenovis is a Swiss vegemite-like paste and it’s very popular in the French-speaking part of Switzerland (much less so in the rest of the country from what I noticed). I made a taste comparison with the British version (Marmite) and Cenovis was the clear winner :) Not sure how different it is from Vegemite but you should definitely try it. It can be found in all Coop and Migros stores (most have at least the tube version, bigger stores also carry the small tub version which I prefer since it lasts me a lot longer and costs less).
Most people think it involves a lot of time to enjoy homemade bread every day but actually it doesn’t at all. I bake one loaf a week (usually on Sunday), slice it, wrap a couple of slices separately in foil and freeze. Every morning I just throw my still frozen slices in the toaster and voila, delicious breakfast in seconds!

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 7:23 pm

You have me all curious about Cenovis! I’ve always seen it at the supermarket but didn’t know what it was. I find it rather interesting that many Coop stores now stock Marmite regularly. If only they knew that Vegemite tastes better ;-) And I’m intrigued that you prefer Cenovis over Marmite!

I love how you make your own bread once a week. I wish I could be as diligent, although my husband and I go through a loaf per day. But you’ve given me the idea of perhaps making this fruit bread and freezing it in slices, ready to toast. We, unfortunately, have one of those teeny tiny bar-fridge freezers so we can’t fit a lot in there, but there’s definitely room for sliced bread. Thanks for the tip!

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thelittleloaf 1 October 2012 at 10:26 am

You’re so right, breakfast is such an important meal and one people completely overlook. This fruit loaf looks absolutely gorgeous – I’d happily eat it for breakfast or smothered in butter for afternoon tea :-)

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:38 am

It’s so easy to skip breakfast, isn’t it? But once I got into the mindset that it doesn’t have to be a leisurely meal like it might be on the weekends, I realised that it was totally doable during the week. Everyone should find at least 5-10 minutes for a quick bite in the morning.

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Joanna Preston 1 October 2012 at 11:16 am

Oh yes – the little people are going to love this. I love the step by step shots, really classy and such a good idea. I picked more artichokes this weekend and am cracking on with your suggestion tomorrow as home alone!!

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 11:38 am

Oh good on you! I love nothing more than a whole artichoke to myself for a solitary meal :-) Enjoy!

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Paula 1 October 2012 at 5:19 pm

I love breakfast so much, but as you, at work-days, I also value more sleep a little more.

I tried to solve this at weekend :P And this bread sounds nice to do it, the toast reminds me when I toast panettone, it has to be delicious!!!

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eat, little bird 1 October 2012 at 7:28 pm

Oh I love toasted panettone! I’m looking forward to Christmas when the shops here are filled with an assortment of panettone. My favourite is one that is soaked with limoncello. It obviously is not one I would toast as it remains rather moist from the alcohol :-) But I think I love toasted panettone because, yes, it does remind of toasted fruit bread too.

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Eileen 2 October 2012 at 12:28 am

Breads stuffed full of fruit like this are one of my favorite breakfasts too. Looks wonderful!

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Anna 2 October 2012 at 6:19 am

Hi Thanh!
I love fruit bread… Normally I just use a hot cross bun recipe done in a loaf tin, but I’ve not tried different fruits before. I think it might be time! And my favourite photo of this post is the 2nd last one :)

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eat, little bird 2 October 2012 at 3:07 pm

Hi Anna!
I’ve also once made a loaf out of a hot cross bun recipe … that is definitely an idea. Would it be wrong to make hot cross buns when it’s not Easter?? This mention of hot cross buns has me craving some all of a sudden! And I fondly remember the chocolate hot cross buns from Brumby’s … mmmm …

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Rushi 2 October 2012 at 11:03 am

Oooooh lovely pics Thanh. I might try this loaf using whole wheat, I’m supposed to stay off white flour and don’t want to miss out all the yummy stuff. I love fruit in my bread, well I love any kind of bread, I could live in a house made of bread :)

I tend to skip breakfast when I’m feeling lazy or just busy but now I’m making smoothies and I make granola bars so that I can have a quick snack. I used to think making bread was so difficult but once you get the hang out it you just can’t stop and the possibilities are endless.

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eat, little bird 2 October 2012 at 3:18 pm

I’m also a big fan of bread :-) Whilst I like nearly all types of bread, I have a soft spot for crusty baguette … if I ever get my hands on one which is fresh from the oven, it takes a lot of willpower to not eat it right away!

You could most definitely substitute the white flour in this recipe for wholemeal or whole wheat. And you are right about how easy it is to make bread. I think once you get the hang of working with yeast, it’s all rather simple. I can’t wait to experiment more.

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Heather Hands 3 October 2012 at 11:19 pm

I agree, breakfast is also my favorite meal. I have made a similar loaf to this, tasted a bit like hot cross buns. Absolutely lovely.

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eat, little bird 7 October 2012 at 8:52 pm

Oh yes, fruit loaf can taste a lot like hot cross buns once you add ground cinnamon, cloves and/or other spices. As I mentioned above, I have a serious craving for hot cross buns now!

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Pauline 7 October 2012 at 3:40 am

I like the new format of how you show each step in pictures! My favorite part of yeast baking is watching the dough rise! It’s like pillow magic!

I am of the same opinion: breakfast is the best meal of the day. I look forward to it the moment I fall asleep at night.

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eat, little bird 7 October 2012 at 8:54 pm

Whenever I check on the dough and see that it has risen beautifully, I am first relieved that the yeast is actually active, and then I am in awe because, as you describe, it’s like magic.

You allude to a good point … if breakfast is one’s favourite meal of the day, it makes getting out of bed in the morning much easier :-)

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The Patterned Plate 7 October 2012 at 6:24 pm

Oh bless! Hey, likewise, I’m on here for daily inspiration too!
I just ADORE your stages shots, you really do have a knack for it and the perfect background! The rising loaf looks perfect, so smoooooth! Glad you made it and more importantly, enjoyed it.
I wish I were more of a breakfast person. I suppose I can be, depending on the food! Cereals are an absolute no-no, but a masala dosa and hot chutney will have me running down the stairs in no time!
WBHC is filled with such easy-to-work-with doughs so if anyone is worried or nervous about yeast, it would be the recipes from this book that I would recommend. She is, I think, deliberately unspecific about timing, which I think is an advantage to the home baker, as you have no choice but to lean on instinct. For me, it’s the most satisfying type of baking.

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eat, little bird 7 October 2012 at 9:01 pm

Ooh, an Indian-inspired breakfast would also have me hopping out of bed pronto!

To be honest, I felt a bit in the dark with the lack of timing in this recipe. As someone who only makes bread once in a blue moon, I would have preferred a bit more guidance on how long to knead the dough, roughly how long to wait before the dough has risen, etc.

If this fruit loaf was my first ever attempt at making bread, I think I would have found it really difficult. But because I’ve made bread before, I knew that the dough had to be kneaded for at least 5 minutes or so until it was soft and elastic in texture. Likewise, I knew that dough would require roughly an hour or so to double in size. So I’ve included my own timings in the recipe above, just in case it is helpful to others who are not so familiar when working with bread and yeast. You are perhaps a more instinctual baker than others :-)

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The Patterned Plate 15 February 2013 at 12:42 pm

Hmmm, I haven’t considered that point before! I suppose breads are very much a product of the environment. The quality/activeness (is there such a word??) of the yeast, the temperature of the room etc, not to mention humidity and it all affects the bread. I wonder if that’s why she left out timings. Usually, she explains texture or describes the outcome needed as a guide. The thing is if she mentioned an hour, but it takes upto two in your kitchen, it’s a panic striken extra hour lol! The Duivekaater in the recipe took FOUR hours to rise, something she didn’t mention and I’m quite glad she didn’t cos I know I’d be flapping about the kitchen trying to decide to follow instinct or instruction.

Yes, yes I know, I am extremely biased!!! LOL!

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eat, little bird 17 February 2013 at 1:00 pm

LOL!! As I mentioned before, I think you have better instincts in the kitchen than others ;-) Goodness, if something took 4 hrs to rise and I didn’t know that in advance, I probably would have aborted the recipe. But you are right that there are many variables to take into consideration. As my stepfather is a baker, I’ve always known that bread-making requires a warm room temperature, something which many books don’t mention other than to “let the dough rise in a warm place”. In the absence of knowing this, it could take much longer for a dough to rise in one kitchen compared to another. But you are the real champion of Warm Bread & Honey Cake … I have so many recipes I want to try but so little time at the moment. Thankfully I can drool over your photos instead :-)

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The Patterned Plate 18 February 2013 at 4:36 pm

Haha! Well live vicariously, for the moment :-) Richard Bertinet says the same and has a good, if perhaps wasteful tip (depending on how you use it). He says to get the oven on full whack before you start making the dough. That way, the room heats up to the right temperature (between 20 -24 deg) for proving. Too warm a room, like an airing cupboard, ferments the dough apparently. But I’ve found that it’s the ‘state’ of the dough that counts more than the time really. I do hope you get time to give some more recipes a go but that’s a debatable at present lol! The Appeltaart is gloriously, comfortingly good and oh, you would SO make a beautiful post with it.

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luke 14 January 2013 at 11:40 pm

i doubled up on all the ingredents and made 2, i uesd plain flower and it worked ok. not bad for my first loaf.
thanks

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eat, little bird 24 January 2013 at 9:36 am

You were smart to make two loaves! Happy to hear that it worked out for you :-)

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