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Post Info TOPIC: THE WORLD'S BEST FRUIT LOAF - cooked right there in your caravan


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THE WORLD'S BEST FRUIT LOAF - cooked right there in your caravan


 

If you eat a slice of this fruit loaf you will never buy raisin bread from a shop again.  It's not difficult, even I can do it, and I'm a mere male. 

cooked loaf.jpg

To make this process quicker and easier I measure out the dry ingredients before I leave home and store them in zip lock bags or plastic jars.  This way you waste less of your precious holiday time baking.  I can highly recommend stackable lightweight plastic jars like the photo below, best thing Aldi's ever sold for caravaners like us.

jars.jpg

If you are one of those creative types who make your own sourdough bread and keep a starter, great use it, otherwise you can use dry yeast instead.  Sourdough bakers know that to keep your starter alive you have to feed it, even when on holidays, so I take Flossy (my starter) with me, she travels in the car in a little jar on the back floor where she's nice and warm.

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Step 1.  This is the bit I do at home before we travel, saves you packing whole packets of ingredients.  You can pack multiple bags of measured out ingredients if you want to bake on several occasions.

In zip lock bag place the following:- Or the same measures in several bags.

40g sultanas, 40g currants, 40g raisins, 50g pitted dates halved, 50g dried figs quartered, sprinkle over 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger.

In a separate container add 100g dried apricots quartered.

In more separate containers add:- 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 5 cloves.

In more seperate containers add:- 270g bakers flour, 45g wholemeal flour, 45g rye flour (if you don't like rye flour substitute with same measure of the other flours)

Other ingredients to pack are of course your bread starter or dry yeast and red wine, lots of it so you can drink what's left.  You will need kitchen scales and a mixing bowl (plastic of course they weigh less) and a small rectangular cake tin.


Off we go now, your van is packed, do your final checklist, clothes, food, hat, sunscreen towels, check the van is on the car and won't fall off, chocks out now holiday here we come. 

Step 2-  

Here we are settled in nicely in that lovely campsite next to the river, beach, historic town, whatever. What are we going to have for breakfast tomorrow?  The sad news is this raisin bread won't be ready till the day after tomorrow if you use dry yeast or the day after that if you use sourdough starter, but it's worth the wait.

First thing first.  We need to marinate the fruit, that's what gives it the amazing flavour.

In your mixing bowl pour in the mixed fruit (but not the apricots, keep them seperate).

In a small saucepan add all the spices along with 50g water and 50g red wine.  Over a medium flame bring it to the boil then remove it from the heat and let it stand for about ten minutes.

Pour the liquid in to the mixed fruit (don't let the solid bits go in, if you have a strainer use it if not, hold them back with a fork or strain through a handkerchief, preferably a clean one, contrary to popular belief a dirty one doesn't improve the flavour.

Now stir it through and cover it overnight. Stir it occasionally so it absorbs in to the fruit.  All this only took about 15 minutes out of your recreational time.  Next drink the remaining wine.  Never use a cheap wine or you won't enjoy drinking it.

bowl mix.jpg

Next day -

This is the fun bit (messy bit) 

Wash your hands.  Stir the fruit one more time.  If you have another container put the fruit in it because you need the bowl now. In a dry bowl add the flours. If you are using sourdough starter skip the next step.  If you are going to use dry yeast you can add 1 teaspoon of it and mix it in with the flour.  There is a common belief that you need to start the yeast off in liquid with sugar but that's not entirely true.  

Add 240g of lukewarm water to the flour and mix it well (don't add sourdough starter yet but dry yeast's can add their yeast now). I mix it with a wooden spoon first then squish it all properly with your hands.  Male cooks note - when finished wash your hands to get the dough off your fingers but do not, I repeat, do not, dry them on your wife's towel, if you leave some dough on the towel you are in the doghouse, free advice.

flour water.jpg

levain.jpg

Now cover this dough in the bowl. Let it stand in a warm place.  Go outside, have a wine or a beer and come back in 20 minutes.

Next step - This step is for those using sourdough starter, I'll talk to you dry yeasters next.  Add 80g starter (I'm assuming you fed it today and it's bubbling, if not feed it and come back in a few hours to continue). Also add 1/2 teaspoon salt. With your hands mix it all through thoroughly

 

Dry yeasters and sourdough starter people now add the fruit including the apricot.  If you wish you can also give it the zest of one orange for a bit of extra tang. Once it's all mixed through it's time to start kneading it. 

fruit mixed.jpg

starter add.jpg

A note here, the dough should be moist but you will probably have a wet dough because of the marinade so start gradually adding small amounts of flour as you knead until you have a moist but not soggy dough.  Due to lack of bench space in a caravan I kneed it in the bowl by stretching and folding the dough over itself and rotating the bowl each time.  Do this for about 10 minutes. Cover it again in the bowl and let it stand.

Have another wine or beer and come back every half hour and fold again just 6 -8 folds for the next two hours.

After 2 hours, transfer the dough in to a lightly greased cake tin. Cover it and let it stand in a warm place.  If you used dry yeast it will rise in about 4 hours. You can then bake it. Be careful putting it in the oven, remember you've been drinking for 4 hours now.

If you used the traditional sourdough starter method be patient, you have to leave it to rise overnight, but the wait will be worth it.

Baking - It helps to have an oven thermometer.  My caravan has a gas oven.  Your are aiming to bake at around 195 - 200 for 50 minutes.  If it starts to go too dark on top while baking place some paper over it to keep the radiant heat off the top.  It will go a golden brown and smell cooked. Take it out and cool it. If you aren't sure that it's cooked, some ovens are slow, stick a skewer in and see that it comes out clean. Tap the loaf on the bottom and it should sound hollow.

dough in tin.jpg

in oven.jpg

The rules say don't eat it for an hour, good luck with that one, I can't wait that long.

Don't hold back on the butter.

loaf slice.jpg

 

I slice the whole loaf, eat some, keep some in the cupboard for tomorrow, then freeze the rest in packs of two slices each for future toasting.  Don't share it with the rest of the camp, it's too precious. 

Note - If you eat one slice, you can walk it off.  Two slices, walk further. Any more than 3 slices then you will be addicted so buy bigger clothes.

Enjoy.

me and slice.jpg

Regards Jim



-- Edited by Jim Featherby on Tuesday 22nd of June 2021 07:41:07 PM



-- Edited by Jim Featherby on Tuesday 22nd of June 2021 08:09:00 PM

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JF


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Great post, Jim!
Ugly photo, but..... :)


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2005 Holden Rodeo (Isuzu) 3.0, single cab chassis, 2.7m tray.

Trayon Diesel Deluxe slide-on camper.



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Thanks Gary and Barb, that's exactly what my wife said.



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JF


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Should have brushed my hair.



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JF
Gig


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Good one Jim, your fruit loaf sounds great. I am not on the road at present but I to travel with my Sourdough starter. My only problem is we don't have  an oven so I need to use Camp kitchen ovens on our travels. I look forward to trying your lovely loaf at home , Thank you. Regards Gig.



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Sue Metzler


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Thanks Sue, here's a link to the original recipe, you might find it easier to follow.

https://www.agfg.com.au/recipe/fruit-sourdough



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JF


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Sorry Sue, the link above no longer works, I've scanned it for you. Check out the attachment.   Jim.



-- Edited by Jim Featherby on Tuesday 13th of July 2021 07:43:32 AM

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