Feeling completely unsatisfied with the array of fruit bread on the market, I resolved to make my own. Isn’t that what everyone does?

Swirly whirly bread

So, breaking out the trusty BBA, I proceeded to knead, rise, shape, rise, retard, and then pull it out of the oven just in time to enjoy for breakfast. Perfect.

Well, the 4 hours of mixing, kneading, etc, did take place the night before – I have to confess to not getting up at 4am on a Saturday just so I could have fresh bread for breakfast. Perhaps on another occasion I will, but not this time.

Fruit bread (adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice)

455g bread flour
4 tsp white sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c skim milk, at room temperature
3/4 c water, at room temperature
1 c currants
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c white sugar, extra
2 Tbsp cinnamon, extra

Stir together flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon, then add egg, butter, milk and water. Stir with a large spoon until the ingredients come together and form a ball.

Tip out on to floured bench, and knead for approximately 10 mins, adding flour if necessary to achieve a soft, pliable and tacky texture – not sticky. In the final few minutes, knead in the currants and walnuts, distributing evenly.

Lightly oil a large bowl and roll the dough around to coat in the oil. Cover with Gladwrap, and proof at room temperature until doubled in size, around 2 hours.

Once doubled, divide the dough in 2. Roll each piece out into a rectangle the same width as your loaf pan. Mix extra sugar and cinnamon together, and sprinkle evenly over the entire surface of each piece.

Roll up tightly, and place in oiled loaf pans. Cover with Gladwrap, and proof until the dough crests the top of the pan, around 60-90 mins.

At this stage, I put it in the fridge and went to bed, as it was after 11. On a Friday. Wild child.

Next morning, take the loaves out of the fridge for around an hour to warm up.  If you’re really awesome, you’ll use this time to do several loads of washing and last nights dishes. I did.Preheat oven to 170°C fan-force. Put loaf tins on a tray, not touching, and place in the middle of the oven.

Bake for 20 mins, then rotate and bake another 20 mins, until they’re golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.

Take them out of the tins straight away, and cool for at least an hour before cutting.  If you’re really awesome, you’ll use this time to go for a big early morning walk. I did. It’s pretty much the only way to ensure that you don’t cut too soon.

Enjoy delicious fresh bread with butter, even though it doesn’t need it.

Next time I bake it, I’ll add a lot more cinnamon to the dough, and also some cloves and nutmeg (possibly all spice), just so that it’s really tasty and the whole house smells like christmas while it’s baking. Because that’s what every house should smell like. All the time.