I feel a bit cheaty doing a post about a bread machine loaf, given that it’s rather more a programming thing, in my book, than proper baking. That said, it does make a lovely fruit loaf, which I feel should be more widely appreciated and it takes all of five minutes to set up. Also, people keep coming here because of my other post on Apple and Ginger Cake in a bread machine, so here’s another one.
I’ve always liked currant buns and teacake-type things but fell in love with proper fruit loaf when I lived in Germany as a child. Every now and again I’d get given some money and then my sisters and I would wander off through town to the local bakery and pick up a loaf of fresh raisin bread to bring home. Rosinenbrot is light and fluffy and just gorgeous. I don’t think we ever even put anything on it – you’d just eat a slice as it came and it was delicious. Here’s a recipe I might try to create a more authentic version, although the bread machine one isn’t at all bad.
On the days when the baker had sold out of raisin bread, we might get a loaf of Zitronenbrot, a similar loaf made with candied lemon peel. Here’s a recipe, although we didn’t ever have one with sliced lemon on the top, it was the usual glaze.
Back in the present, pretty much my entire food cupboard was taken up with dried fruit, assorted types of sugar and enough flour to bake several cakes, after my daughter baked Christmas cakes and left me with all the leftover ingredients. I therefore had everything I needed for this recipe already, including dried mixed fruit: combining the best things about my two favourite German fruit breads. Excellent stuff.
The Panasonic recipe (together with a video, should you feel you need one) is here. If you don’t have a Panasonic, you should be able to tweak this for your bread machine by changing the ingredient order to the one yours uses, making sure that the total amount of ingredients isn’t going to produce a loaf which is too big for your pan. I have the SD-255 model and think it’s brilliant. Having had a rubbish Morphy Richards before that which made overly sweet, nasty loaves, shaped like Nissan Micras, I appreciate that not all bread makers are created equal. I’d buy another one of these in a heartbeat, if I needed to.
The first time I made this, I forgot that my machine beeps to tell me when I need to add things like raisins, so I just added them in on top of everything else. It didn’t appear to cause any ill effects and the fruit was fairly evenly distributed throughout the loaf, which is what you want. When I made it today I remembered and waited for the beep. I’m not sure that it made a huge difference, although possibly the fruit is better distributed on this one.
It occurred to me that I had no idea when the beep was actually going to sound, and that I was effectively being held hostage by a bread maker. Never one to sit idly by when the machines rise up against us, I found out that if you push the timer button (for delayed-start loaves, a setting you can’t use with this recipe) it briefly flashes up the number of minutes remaining before you can throw in the fruit and get on with your life. (FYI, it’s 47 minutes in on this one and later if you do the wholemeal one, apparently.)
The only note I would add about the recipe is that I added 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, and quickly beat the eggs with a fork to combine the yolks and whites before adding them to the bread pan. You can up the spice a bit, if you like. I think it’s better for it. Other than that, it’s go away and do other things until it shouts at you four hours later to say it’s ready. It immediately turned out of the tin, cleanly as always, and looked like this.
You then need to allow it to cool at least to the point where you can slice it. I mean, you probably could just start eating your way in from one end, but it’s really filling, so you might regret that one.
Once you’ve sliced it, you should see a light loaf, similar in texture to a bread machine brioche, although not quite as eggy or sweet. It doesn’t dry out too much, should you try and make it last more than a day, and ends up, even after a few days still being perfectly acceptable when toasted. I’ve thought a couple of times that a couple of slices of that, buttered then combined with some eggs, milk and sugar would produce a nice bread and butter pudding, without the need to add extra fruit, necessarily. It has never lasted that long, though, or at least it doesn’t last long when my family all fall upon it.
Definitely one to try. I’ve also just found there’s a wholemeal version, so will try that too and see if that makes a decent alternative.