Because we can’t have green smoothies for breakfast everyday…
This incredibly wholesome fruit loaf is hard to resist when it’s baked fresh and while it’s delightful toasted and served with fresh ricotta and grilled banana, it’s also just as mouth-watering with a simple yet cheeky lashing of organic butter. It’s also totally little-person safe and makes for yummy toast-fingers for babies and toddlers alike. I’ve made it three times in the past few weeks. I tried it with and without cinnamon and with varying amounts of fruit and today I nailed-it, which is why I am finally sharing it with you.
It’s made with nutty organic wholemeal spelt flour, which is much easier to digest than wheat flour, due to its high water solubility. Compared to wheat, spelt has been found to be higher in protein, niacin, and a variety of essential minerals. Because it contains gluten, that’s correct, spelt is not gluten-free, it is great for baking. It responds well to yeast and rising agents such as baking powder and can be substituted for wheat in all kinds of recipes from cakes, biscuits, tart and pastry bases, pasta and of course, bread.
This fruit loaf recipe is dairy free, egg free and nut free and while it contains dried fruit, it is devoid of any other added sugar. The flavour has been enhanced with three everyday pantry ingredients being cinnamon, currents and sultanas. Quite basic really, but of course you could also use mixed-spice, ground ginger and other dried fruit, although do not use more than 1/2 cup of dried fruit overall. Through trial and error, I have discovered that 1/2 cup of dried fruit is the perfect ratio for 3 cups of flour.
makes: 1 loaf
- sieve or fine strainer for sifting
- large mixing bowl
- Kitchenaid, or mixmaster with dough-hook (optional)
- loaf tin
- 3 cups wholemeal spelt flour, sifted
- 1 tsp* cinnamon
- 1 tsp* dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp* sea-salt
- 1/4 cup currents
- 1/4 cup sultanas
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 cup hot water**
*metric teaspoon (5mL)
**The water needs to be hotter than luke-warm & cooler than boiling – because if it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast and if it’s too cold, it won’t activate the yeast and either way, your dough won’t rise.
Preparing the dough
OPTION: Instead of using your hands, you can undertake Steps 1, 2 & 3 with a Kitchenaid or other mixmaster with a dough-hook. While this won’t change the overall preparation time, it may be a little less messy and will require less elbow-grease overall!
- Place the sifted flour, cinnamon, yeast, salt, currents and sultanas into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the hot water and the EVOO and mix with a spoon. The dough should feel soft and warm as it starts to combine.
- Once the dough continues to form, place it on a floured surface and knead it with your hands for five minutes, or until it becomes elastic* and smooth. If it feels sticky, add a sprinkle of flour. If it feels dry, add a sprinkle of water.
- Once kneaded and smooth, return the dough to your mixing bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm dark place for 1 hr, or until the dough has doubled in size. **
*”Elastic dough”: when you press the dough with your fingers, it should bounce back.
**I like to rest my dough in a large bowl covered over with one layer of glad wrap and then a tea towel. The glad wrap stops the dough from drying out, while the tea towel will provide darkness. If there isn’t a warm place (eg. in the sunshine, or next to a heater), then place the bowl ‘double-boiler style’, atop another bowl which has a few inches of hot water in the bottom.
Turning the dough into bread
- After the dough has risen, preheat a fan-forced oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and knead again for 1 minute, shaping the dough into a short, rounded log.
- Place the dough into a loaf tin, lined with baking paper, cover with a tea-towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes, in a warm place.
- Once the dough has risen again, place the loaf tin in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until very lightly golden*.
*When cooked, the loaf will sound hollow if you tap its base.
- Eat straight out of the oven, with lashings of butter.
- Toast slices in a toaster, or in a frying pan, before spreading with butter.
- Toast and spread with fresh ricotta alone, or with grilled banana (as pictured below) or figs.
As per the serving suggestions above, cut your toasted fruit loaf into fingers for your baby or toddler to enjoy.
You can freeze the fruit loaf for up to a couple of weeks. Defrost it on your bench, before slicing and toasting.