26 Jun Making Bread Fun with Fruit & Nuts
Bread might be an everyday staple for many of us, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be an experimental, exciting and adventurous dish. A simple step like adding your favourite mixed fruits and nuts can transform a “plain Jane” loaf into something really special. Plus it adds a wealth of vitamins, minerals and even protein, making your bread more nutritionally balanced.
We’ve got two delicious fruity, nutty bread recipes to share with you – whether you prefer the convenience of a bread-maker, or want to try your hand at a homemade artisan loaf. Both are really wholesome and tasty, great with a variety of toppings and so satisfying for cold winter days. Give them a whirl and please share your results with us!
1. Handmade Recipe for Date & Cherry Nut Loaf
This bread has got a little bit of everything – dates for sweetness, cherries for fruity tang and protein-packed nuts for crunch. A great hands-on recipe for bakers without bread-makers.
- 4 cups unbleached bread flour (keep a little extra aside for dusting)
- 2 ¼tsp salt
- ¾tsp active dry yeast
- 1½ cups chopped walnuts
- 1½ cups blanched hazelnuts or almonds
- 1½ cups dried cherries
- 1½ cups pitted & sliced dates
- 2 cups cool water (55-65°F)
- Mix the flour, salt & yeast in a bowl, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- Add the nuts & fruit; mix well.
- Add the water & mix until the mixture is wet & sticky.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap & let sit at room temperature for approx. 12-14 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
- Scrape the dough onto a well-floured work surface; lift the edges of the dough towards the centre & tuck them in until the dough has a rounded shape.
- Place the dough seam-side down on a parchment-lined, generously dusted baking sheet. Dust the top with flour if needed.
- Gently cover the dough with another piece of parchment & a clean tea towel. Place in a warm spot for 1-2 hours, until the dough doubles in size again.
- While your dough rises, pre-heat oven to 475°F. Heat a heavy pot with lid on the lower-third rack.
- Remove pre-heated pot from the oven; uncover the dough, remove from parchment & dust the underside. Tip your dough into the pot, seam-side up.
- Cover the pot & bake your loaf for 30min.
- Remove the lid & bake for 15-30min more, until the loaf is golden-brown.
- Gently lift the bread out of the pot with a heat-proof spatula; place on a rack to cool.
- Enjoy with your favourite free-range organic cheeses or butter.
2. Bread Machine Recipe for Glazed Fruit Loaf
Spicy, fruity and oh-so-good… this luscious loaf is a breeze to make with the help of your trusty bread machine.
For the Bread:
- 270ml water
- 6tsp butter
- 1½tsp salt
- 6tsp brown sugar
- 450g (3 cups) stone ground white bread flour
- 6tsp powdered milk (or milk substitute)
- 3tsp ground mixed spice
- 2tsp yeast
- ½ cup mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries – go wild!)
Pssstt… you can add a few of your favourite nuts too!
For the Glaze:
- 3tbsp water
- 6tsp sugar
- 3tsp agar-agar
- Place all ingredients except the fruit into your bread maker, in the order recommended by your manufacturer.
- Place the fruit in the special fruit & nut dispenser.
- While the loaf bakes, combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan & cook over a heat until the sugar and agar have dissolved.
- At 15min into the baking cycle, pause the bread maker & brush the glaze over the loaf.
With a stash of your favourite nutrient-packed dried fruits and nuts in the pantry, you’ll find there’s no way bread will ever be considered boring again!