Wednesday 28 September 2011

Fruit bread

For a long time I have wanted to try my hand at fruit bread.  The yeasted kind!  Ashley's Freshly Fruited Yeast Bread appealed to me.  It was an opportunity to use up a black banana (that had caused my mum to comment that I must be rich to let bananas get into such a state when they are so expensive) and an apple that had been forgotten at the bottom of my bag. It was absolutely delicious.

I was also inspired to make it because my oven had just been fixed.  I wanted to try something special to celebrate.  Honey, yeast and dried fruit were the perfect combination.  I used a bit less fruit, less honey and consequently less flour but that just meant it fitted in my bread tin easily.  The bread took quite a bit of patience.  I started in the afternoon, made lasagne and the finished the bread in the evening.  I am learning to take my time with bread.  Time for the sponge, to knead, to prove and bake.

Another lesson with this bread was to beware the dried fruit mixture.  It seemed an ideal recipe to use up a some of the dried peel hanging around the pantry.  Unfortunately Sylvia loved the bread but spat out any piece with peel.  I ended up spending time at breakfast chiseling out pieces of peel with a sharp knife.

I also learning to beware tins of apricot nectar and to become more familiar with my recipe books.  The recipe called for orange juice but I had some apricot nectar that I decided to use.  Only when I got out the tin to measure out some nectar, did I see the ingredients.  It was mostly sugar.  I was disappointed.  I thought I had bought thicker nectar in the past that wasn't so thin and sugary.  Sigh! 

My other query was the oven temperature.  180 C seemed low for bread.  I have been baking with yeast enough recently to know that it loves a hot oven.  It was only after the bread was baked and I was wishing that I had baked it at a higher temperature, that I noticed the recipe came from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, a book that I own.  I checked the recipe and found that it was written in an odd way.  Mollie Katzen (bless her) had written one long method for how to bake bread and then had a few recipes with different ingredients that all referred to the same method.  I understand that once we find a good method, we like to stick to it, but I think it is good to acknowledge slight differences in each recipe.  In this case Mollie had generally said to bake bread at 425 F (I think this is 210 C) but Ashley used a newer edition of the book so maybe it had changed in her version.

Quibbles aside, this was a fantastic bread.  I just loved its fruity fragrance.  A couple of days later I was eating an apple and I actually recognised that the aroma was part of what I could smell in the bread.  This is truly fruity bread with the inclusion of both the fresh and the dried varieties.  It was also quite dense, which I loved - once I had got over all the kneading.  It lasted about a week.  I ate it mainly for breakfasts, often with cheese.  But it was just as good slathered with butter.

I am sending this bread to Susan at Yeastspotting, the weekly round up of bread baking bloggers.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Orange and Almond Cake
This time two years ago: Roasted Beetroot Tofu Burgers

Freshly Fruited Yeast Bread
Adapted from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest via Eat Me Delicious

The Sponge:
1 cup lukewarm water
2/3 cup apricot nectar drink (or orange juice)
2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) dry yeast
2 cups white bread flour

The Mix:
1 cup dried fruit (I used a mix of dried apricots, currants and peel)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated (the original recipe called for 1 cup grated apple)
finely grated rind of 1 orange
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 cup honey
2 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp melted butter

2 cups wholemeal flour
Approximately 2 to 5 more cups white flour (I used 2 1/2 cups)

Make the sponge.  Heat water and juice to lukewarm.  Place in large bowl with yeast and honey.  Beat in the 2 cups of bread flour.  Cover and let rise for at least 30 minutes.  I was so busy that it was over 90 minutes until I could attend to the sponge.

Beat the mix into the sponge.  It will be very runny.  Add the 2 cups of wholemeal flour, beating with a wooden spoon.  It should be ready to tip out onto a floured board and start kneading the rest of the flour in (though if it is so moist it can have more flour stirred in, do it in the bowl - so much easier than kneading).  Knead in as much of the extra white flour as you can.  I found that after 2 1/2 cups I couldn't do any more - though am uncertain if it was because I was tired of kneading or because the dough wouldn't take more flour.  Every time I thought the dough would take no more flour, I kneaded it more without flour and found the dough would get sticky.

Scrap as much out of the bowl as possible and place the dough in (I don't oil the bowl).  Cover with a damp cloth and let dough rise until it has doubled.  It should take about 1 hour.  My dough was quite dense, even when risen.

Punch down the dough and divide in two and press into one or two bread tins.  Ashley used two 8"x4" loaf pans.  I used my bread tin which is 25cm x 9cm and about 10cm high.  Cover and leave to rise for about 30-45 minutes.  Neither mine nor Ashley's rose much.

While dough is rising in the tin(s), preheat oven.  Ashely said to bake at 180 C (350 F) but I think I would bake mine at 210 C (425 F) or more next time. When dough has doubled, bake for 40-50 minutes (I did 50) until bread sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool bread on a wire rack and wait at least 30 minutes before slicing.

On the Stereo:
The Best of Two Worlds: Stan Getz


  1. hey Johanna, what a rise you got to that loaf! Really looks like a well made bread despite your concerns over oven temperature. I agree, sometimes Mollie's stuff is tricky to follow. Someone should modernize them and get rid of the hand-writing for printed text ; )

  2. What an awesome way to celebrate a working oven! I love all of the mix-ins in this bread. I bet it would make for some excellent French toast!

  3. That looks fabulous Johanna. Just look at the height and the texture and the colour and the little bits of fruit. I am gie impressed! (ask hubby)

  4. wowza - this bread looks so professional!

  5. What a gorgeous loaf of bread! This is the kind of thing that I like - yum!

  6. Your fruit bread looks fantastic. I will have to give this a try one day when I have the time. Would love a couple of slices toasted for my breakfast right now!

  7. OOh, that looks lovely! And congratulations on having a working oven - I was without one for 2 months a couple of years back and I couldn't cope at all!

  8. That is really a gorgeous bread (and I'm not a bread fan). I'd love to sit by while you prep a bread. . .I have no real "feel" for it and would love to have tips from a pro! The combination of both fresh and dried (minus the peel--I'm with Sylvia on that one) sounds glorious.

  9. Fruit bread is on my list of things to make! :D Thank you for this recipe, as it looks perfect for my tastes (although I'm with Sylvia in not liking peel...).

    The black banana thing made me smile too. My partner's Mum had one like that the other day and nearly through it out! I was shocked and rescued it for freezing :)

  10. Great news about the oven! Haha I have two bananas that are getting very ripe but I want to use them in something over the weekend so I don't want to eat them!

  11. That looks absolutely delicious. I will definitely have to give that a try. I suspect my version will be shorter and squatter while yours is so tall and proud.

  12. wow that is an amazing loaf of bread! Absolutely love it!

  13. Johanna, what a gorgeous looking fruit bread...I absolutely covet that loaf pan as we never get pans that high over here! This is a good way to use up those wilting fruits, in fact, I'm feeling pretty rich right now looking at my rotting bananas on my kitchen counter :-). Better play around with some yeast now....

  14. He he, this made me laugh. I have the Enchanted Broccoli Forest too, but rarely use it because I find the recipes so hard to read with all that 'hand written" text. This loaf looks just perfect and has inspired me to give it a go. I don't experiment nearly enough with yeast. I make my standard rye sourdough for the week and that's that. Have bookmarked this one though to remind me - even if I do have the book!

  15. thanks Adam and theresa - but I love the handwritten pages (some photos would be nice though)

    Thanks Joanne - french bread with fruit toast - never considered it but I can see the appeal

    Thanks Jacqueline - I would put bigger pieces of fruit next time but I was impressed too

    Thanks Lisa - very kind of you

    Thanks Cakelaw - yes just my sort of bread too

    Thanks Mel - highly recommend it for breakfast - hope you find some time to make it

    Thanks Catherine - 2 months sounds forever without an oven - a week or two was terrible

    Thanks Ricki - please come to melbourne and bake bread with me - it would be so much fun

    Thanks Kari - fruit bread is so satisfying - sort of like making a cake and a loaf of bread all at one - hope you get to tick it off your list soon

    Thanks Lorraine - black bananas aren't so bad when you have plans for them

    Thanks Liz - you just need the right tin - a thin high bread tin is a beautiful thing

    Thanks spontaneous euphoria - glad you love it

    Thanks Foodiva - I love putting wilting fruit in cake but I think I love it in bread even more - get going with that yeast

    thanks Choclette - I have always enjoyed the personal touch of Mollie's hand writing but I do love some glossy pics - I love making my olive oil dough but it is great to play with different yeast recipes

  16. Mmmmmmmmm - I'm always on the look out for different fruit breads and this one is defo new to me. Can't wait to give it a go.

  17. That looks gorgeous, I haven't really come across breads with fresh and dried fruits in them, but this looks a stunner.

  18. Hmm yea I just checked the cookbook and it says 350F specifically for that bread. Though perhaps this is why my breads haven't been rising in the oven as much as I think they should - I should start using 425F instead. Great tip! For the orange rind and lemon rind I used freshly grated, not the dried candy kind so didn't find it too overpowering. I'm happy to see you tried this out and enjoyed it despite a few issues. :)


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