Fruited Bun Loaf - BC20 style.

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I'm going back to basics today. 

This is one of a series of bakes that I've called...

It's a simple idea. If you're an inexperienced baker, then there's a recipe for you for the first time you bake this Fruited Bun Loaf. 

After that, adopt the recipe, adapt the ingredients and improve the end product. That's the challenge!

That's what being a good home baker is all about. 

However, as with all things....there's a catch. 

This only works for what I call 'generic bread'. 

That is bread without precise provenance or bread that is closely linked to a specific geographical area, culture or era. 

You can't use this process with, for example, a French Baguette, a Hot Cross bun, Ethiopian injera or a Victorian Bloomer, 

No more than you could make caviar out of a tin of tuna. 

The best we can do to bread that deserves our total respect is to try and make it as authentically as possible. 

So, this is a generic fruit loaf - a bread of my childhood in Lancashire, England and one that has been popular throughout my life. 

The versatility of this formula will become apparent as you read on.

The ingredients are simple and flexible. They allow you to be flexible with your own ingredients and develop a formula that will give you the taste and style that best suits you. 

A note about the ingredients

FLOUR - you can combine strong white and wholemeal in this formula - I'd recommend no less than 70% white and 30% of whatever other flour you choose. 

LIQUID - you can make this, as I do, with a weak solution of Earl or Lady Grey tea. Alternatively, any herbal tea or simply water would be fine. Think about the taste you're trying to achieve. The loaf is set at 79% hydration but the dried fruit will take up quite a bit of that as they begin to absorb moisture.

FRUIT - I'm using a mixed dried fruit selection. I dare say it would be interesting with tropical dried fruit as well. 

SALT - I'm using crushed sea salt. I don't think I'd change that. 

MILK - I use dried milk. I know that this is sometimes not easily available. You can leave the milk out or, alternatively, use 40 gms sole or skimmed liquid milk and deduct it from the total liquid as indicated below. 

SUGAR - try and use a good dark brown sugar or molasses sugar

SUGGESTED INGREDIENTS

500 gms flour (see above) - I'm using 300 gms of strong white and 200 gms wholemeal flour 

390 gms liquid (see above) - I'm using Earl Grey 

1 tablespoon sugar (see above) - I'm using Demerera sugar

2 tablespoons dried milk (see above)

1 teaspoon crushed sea salt

25 gms unsalted melted butter

The chopped rind of half a lemon

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of mixed spice

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon rapid yeast

200 gms dried fruit (see above) 

SUGGESTED METHOD

1. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and spices together.

2. Add the melted butter and the yeast.

3. Add the liquid and bring it together into a sticky dough.

4. Knead on a board until you have a soft and silky dough. 

5. Spread the dough out into a rectangle and spread out the fruit. 

6. Fold into a parcel and then continue to knead until all the fruit is combined.

7. Place into a lightly-oiled bowl, cover and keep in a warm place until it has doubled in size. 

8. Tip out onto a floured board and divide as required.

A note about shaping. 

This formula will lend itself to being shaped in many different ways:

Buns - divide into 100 gms portions, roll as for buns and second proof so that the dough doubles in size. Buns will normally second proof in about 30 - 45 minutes at 24⁰C. Watch the dough...not the clock. 

Tins - prepare 1lb or 2lb tins according to the quantity of dough. The key with loaf tins is to half-fill the dough and then you are ready to bake when the shoulders of the dough reach the top of the tins. 

Tear and share - divide the dough into 80 -100 gms portions and place them around the edge of a round tin with a portion in the middle. Cover and proof until the dough has doubled. 

It's up to you. The only guide is -  

WATCH THE DOUGH, NOT THE CLOCK. 

Here we have 4 x 2lb loaves.
How? Because I've doubled up the ingredients.
Why? Because I can maximise the oven space and save energy. 

9. Once the dough has second proofed, preheat the oven to 190⁰C. 


10. You can now glaze these if you so wish. 


A note about glazing. 

I usually glaze with an egg, milk or milk-egg wash, but you can glaze with a saltwater glaze or just mist with water. 

You can then scatter seeds of your choice.....sesame, poppy, sunflower, pumpkin, chia, linseed....it's up to you. 

11. Bake until golden brown and hollow when tapped on the underneath. Buns will take about 20 - 25 minutes at 190⁰C, loaves a little longer...about 25 - 30 minutes at 190⁰C.



Cool on a rack

Happy baking....Oh if you've never had buttered bun loaf with a slice of good strong Cheddar cheese (or similar)...you don't know what you're missing. Honestly, try it! 

And remember, you've baked it yourself...now make it your own! 





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