When I lived in London and planned my trips back to Melbourne my Mum would always ask if there was anything in particular I would like her to cook. I always put a request in for apple pie (we would have it for dessert in the evening and I would then eat it cold for breakfast the following morning as well). I feel very lucky to have grown up in a home with a Mum who cooked and baked (…and let me eat apple pie for breakfast)! She passed on to me a love of cooking and always encouraged us to help in the kitchen.
I still have an enduring love for homemade apple pie, but when I return home now I often ask for Mum’s homemade fruit bread instead. The smell of fruit bread baking in the oven is an absolute delight. And a slice of toasted fruit bread with a generous slathering of French butter is the perfect afternoon tea treat.
On this trip, my Mum very kindly obliged me by pausing every so often in the kneading process so I could capture the bread making process. What a lovely Mum she is!
Mum’s Fruit Bread
600g flour (you can use spelt, white, wholemeal or a combination)
1 tbsp + 2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp natural improver
2 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
1 1/2 cups dried fruit
500ml warm water
2 tsp cold pressed oil
Pre-heat the oven to 210°C. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Create a well in the centre and then pour in the warm water and oil. Mix well to combine the ingredients and form a soft dough. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled, scrape the dough out of the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough in half and then gently knead each half of dough to form a smooth ball. Place both balls of dough in a pre-seasoned bread tin and leave to rise to the top of the tin.
Once the dough has roughly doubled (or risen to the top of the tin), place in the oven and bake for 30-35 mins. The top of the bread should be golden brown. Remove the bread from the tin, turn it upside down and knock on the bottom to check that it has a hollow sound (this tells you the bread is cooked through. If it has a dull sound when you knock, then put it back in the oven to cook for a little longer).
Leave the bread to cool on a wire rack. Then slice, slather with butter and enjoy. Preferably with a cup of tea!