Fruit Loaf - Fully Loaded and BreadClub20 style

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There are many differing views about exactly what constitutes a fruit loaf. We all have our own favourite recipes. We all have our own likes and dislikes. We have our own 'must put in's' and 'must leave out's'.

We know that the Romans made fruit cake, adding fruit to a barley mash and then baking it. The Welsh and the English make, what is called, tea loaf. This is sometimes recognisable as a loaf, yet, at other times, it looks more like a cake. The Welsh bara brith is, in our Welsh household, definitely a cake; and we hold on to that principle with a grip of iron.  

You'll find the BreadClub20 recipe for Welsh barabrith here:

Today, we're using my recipe for fully-loaded fruit bread. You'll find the same recipe adapted for fully-loaded fruit baps / rolls here:

The mix gives you a 79% hydration level which is quite a sticky mix and needs longer to develop the gluten network. However, it produces an airy crumb that is light, considering the quantity and nature of the ingredients. If you want a lower hydration level, don't let it drop below 68%. Don't be mean with the liquid. Both the fruit and the seeds (if added) will take up some of it. 

You'll notice that this is NOT an enriched dough. Egg is NOT added, NOR is milk in a liquid form. This is deliberate. Their absence ensures a lighter bread rather than the more 'stodgy' bread which often happens when a dough is enriched.


500 gms of strong white flour 

395 mls of cooled Earl Grey tea (a fairly weak brew)

1 tablespoon of dark muscovado sugar

2 tablespoons of dried milk

1 teaspoon of sea salt

25 gms of unsalted butter

Thinly pared and roughly chopped lemon rind (half a lemon)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Quarter teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon mixed spice

200 gms of mixed dried fruit (your choice here). 

1 teaspoon of instant yeast

Optional (in any combination - or all of them, if you wish):

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

2 tablespoon of sunflower seeds

2 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of brown linseed


Ready to go


To the cooled tea, add the sugar, salt, milk, butter. Then cover with the flour and add the yeast. Keep the yeast away from the salt until it's all been mixed together. 

Add the optional seeds at this stage. 

If you're mixing by hand, bring it all together into a dough adding the fruit as you go. 

If you're mixing by machine, add the mixed fruit after 50 minutes of a 2hr 20 minute basic dough cycle. If you have a basic raisin setting, it will beep after 50 minutes to remind you to add the fruit. 

At the end of the mixing / kneading and 1st rise (nice warm place until doubled) , your dough should look like this:

Weigh the mix and divide into three. You'll also need to grease three 1lb loaf tins. 

Shape the dough into suitably-sized logs and place each portion into separate loaf tins. Cover and place in a warm environment (approximately 23 - 26 degrees C) for about 45 minutes or until they have more or less doubled in size. 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Gently glaze the loaves with an beaten egg yolk mixture and put them in the oven on a low shelf for 30 minutes or until they are baked and sound hollow when tapped on the underneath.

Cool on a rack. 

These loaves freeze very well. 

How to serve them? 

a) sliced with lashings of fresh butter,

b) toasted for breakfast .....with lashings of fresh butter....

(are you seeing a pattern here?)

c) as a sandwich or sliced, filled or accompanied with a strong Cheddar cheese....oh, and a fairly decent amount of fresh butter....

Happy baking....


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