Fruit loaf

This is a loaf that gets made again and again in this house.  Ingredients wise it’s not too different from the hot cross buns or the spiced fruit buns that I have posted about before.  I think, though, that this loaf is perhaps a little quicker to make as you add marmalade and so there is no need to zest and squeeze fruit. There is also something very satisfying about having a loaf that you can keep going back to and cutting a bit more off. It is lovely when it’s still vaguely warm from the oven, spread with butter, but it’s just as nice toasted the next day for breakfast ( or mid morning, or lunch, or all three).

The recipe is an adaptation of the Raisin Bread recipe in The River Cottage Family Cookbook (ISBN 0 340 82636 3).  You can use any combination of dried fruit that you like or have available as long as it totals 150g.

500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp mixed spice
7g easy action yeast
2 scant teaspoons fine salt
40g cranberries
40g currants
40g dried blueberries
30g sultanas
1 egg
125 ml warm water
125ml warm milk ( I tend to use just boiled water on top of the cold milk and that gets the temperature about right, you want it hand hot)
2 tbsp marmalade

For the glaze:
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
(Or you could glaze with a couple of tablespoons of warmed honey)


If you have a freestanding mixer then all you do is put all of the ingredients into the bowl and using the dough hook mix on speed 2 for two minutes.  Turn it out of the bowl and manhandle into a ball.  Place back in the bowl and cover with a large plastic bag for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours until it has doubled in size.

If you are mixing by hand, then put the flour, yeast, dried fruit, mixed spice and salt into a bowl.  Measure the milk and water in a jug and beat in the egg.  Add the liquid and the marmalade to the flour and using a flat knife such as a pallette  knife, begin to mix together.  When it is all combined, tip it out onto a lightly floured worktop and begin to knead.  To do this you hold half the dough down with one fist and stretch the other half away from you with the heel of your other hand.  Fold the dough back onto itself, turn and repeat the process for about ten minutes or until your arms fall off, whichever is the soonest. Make it into a ball shape and place into a bowl and cover with a large plastic bag until doubled in size.

Grease a loaf tin with butter. Take off the plastic bag and gently press the air out of the dough using your fingertips.  Lift the dough out of the bowl and shape into a log shape by stretching and folding.  Be gentle though. Place the dough into the loaf tin and cover again for 20-30 minutes until it has risen by about half its size again.

Place in preheated oven at 220°c, gas mark 7 or the Roasting Oven of the Aga for about twenty – thirty minutes until golden and sounds hollow when turned out and tapped on its base. Take the loaf out of its tin and place on a wire rack.

Just before the end of the cooking time, put the sugar and water for the glaze in a small pan over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat.  Brush the glaze over the loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven and is sitting on the wire rack.

Allow to cool before taking your first slice.

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42 thoughts on “Fruit loaf”

  1. Pingback: Fruit loaf bread pudding | The Ordinary Cook

    1. Hi David,
      Fast action yeast would be just fine to use, but you will need to allow it to prove before you cook it or it will be as flat as a pancake. This is more of a bread than a cake. Hope you try it, it’s worth the wait. Kath

  2. Hi David,
    If your kitchen is warm, then the first proving in a bowl should take about an hour. Then you will need to knock the air out gently, shape it, place it in a buttered tin and cover again and leave again for 2o mins or until it has almost doubled in size again and then put it into the preheated oven. If your kitchen is cool then the proving will take longer.
    Hope it works well for you.

      1. Ooh Haunted Blood, that loaf looks good and I love the way that it fills the house with that fruity spicy scent too. I haven’t made this for ages. Something that needs to change. You have inspired me.

  3. Great recipe I make my own bread but never have been successful with fruit bread up until I found your recipe turned out great taste great to many thanks .

  4. Made this today, didn’t have any mamalade so used bit of maple syrup,took out 50g of white flour & substituted it with wholemeal, only been making my own bread for a week & this is my fav loaf so far, will be making this a lot, went down really well, thank you.

    1. Hi Maggie, the marmalade replaces the sugar in this recipe. If you want to replace the marmalade with sugar then I would suggest 50g of caster sugar instead. Apologies for not including the dried fruit in the list for the hand method and thank you for drawing my attention to this. I add it with the rest of the ingredients at the start. However, if you would prefer to knead a smooth dough you can add them after you have done most of the kneading. To do this I would flatten the dough into a rectangle and sprinkle the fruit over. Gather the dough back into a ball and knead for a minute or two to spread the fruit through the dough. Let me know how you get on.

  5. Just wanted to say that I’ve now made this umpteen times with different fruit/spice/flour variations and it’s a fab recipe base, thank you!

  6. Lovely recipe and I won the homemade bread by hand category at our local Horticultural Show with this loaf! Will make it always.

  7. Just made this can’t leave it be,lovely toasted with butter ,marmalade,just wondering what’s the best way to store without going too dry .i intend making several thanks in abvace

    1. It’s one of my favourites. I wrap all of my bread in a clean cloth or cotton bag. That way the loaf stays fresh without going mouldy. You can freeze it once cooked too. It takes a while to thaw a whole loaf so I recommend slicing it and wrapping how ever many slices you think you will eat each time. That way you can toast from frozen too. Enjoy!

  8. Made this today – despite following instructions to the letter (with fresh yeast) the time in the oven (25min) left the loaf raw dough in the middle? We tried to slice it and toast it but it was inedible much to my daughters upset.

    1. Apologies for the late reply. I am sorry to hear that you didn’t have success with this loaf. Please try it again as it really is good. Every oven is different so next time give it a bit longer. It should feel fairly light and sound hollow when tapped. You can also use a probe thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread. If it reaches 90 degrees centigrade and it looks and feels baked then is is done. I have edited the post to advise that you leave to cool completely before cutting into it. I have learned a lot more about bread making since I published the post and I know now that you need to leave bread to cool completely as this finishes the cooking process. If you slice into it warm it will be a bit doughy.

  9. The first time I made this loaf it was perfect, it proved well, rose beautifully during cooking, and tasted scrummy. Alas since then 2 attempts have failed dismally, the dough isn’t proving well and the finished loaf is stodgy. The only thing that is different is that I’m using a different marmalade (finshed the jar I used in the first loaf!). Any ideas please?

    1. I am sorry I have only just seen this comment. I am not sure what is going wrong for you. Are you using the same yeast? Is the yeast still in date? Has it been open in the cupboard for a long time? Other than that, the marmalade may be a lot higher in sugar than your last jar and this will slow the yeast down. Maybe reduce the amount of marmalade that you use and see if that helps. Let me know how you get on and apologies again for the delay in replying.

  10. I am in the process of making this and the dough is quite wet, I’ve just had to peel it off my fingers to get it in the loaf tin. Is this right or have I over done the liquid (I put in what it said)? Bit of a novice at this bread baking malarkey.

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