There's nothing quite like baking your own sweet and savoury fruit loaf - don't forget lashings of butter.
Adding a poolish (a pre-ferment) to the dough acts as a flavour boost, similar to a sourdough, but without the commitment of maintaining the starter day after day. Perfect for the casual baker who only bakes a loaf every now and then.
150g bread flour
pinch of yeast
280ml warm water
2g dry yeast
400g bread flour
2 tsp cinnamon
10g sea salt
2 cups dried fruit
For poolish, mix water, flour and yeast in a medium bowl with a spoon until smooth. Cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature for 12-16 hours.
Combine all dough ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a large spoon. Wet your hand and begin squeezing dough through your hand while turning the bowl for a couple of minutes until dough is homogenous, but still shaggy. Cover with clingfilm and set aside for 30 minutes.
With a wet hand, grab a side of the dough, stretch it until it is about to break then fold it over itself. Give bowl a quarter-turn and repeat motion. Continue for 2 whole spins of the bowl (or 8 folds in total). Cover and rest for 30 minutes then repeat the folding technique again. Cover and rest for one more hour. Repeat folding technique 4 more times, then turn dough out onto a well-floured bench. Shape dough into a tight ball, turning while tucking dough towards the base and creating tension on the dough’s surface. Wash proving bowl, line with a tea towel and dust liberally with flour. Place dough in bowl, dust with flour and cover with overhanging tea towel. Prove for 30 minutes. Place a large cast iron dutch oven in your oven and set to 250C. When warm, remove pot and carefully place dough into it. Score top of dough with a sharp knife (a simple single slit will suffice). Place covered pot in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove lid and cook for a further 30 minutes or until deeply golden. Carefully remove loaf from pot and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Best enjoyed fresh on the day of baking, then great toasted on days 2 and 3.
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