I bought some bread in my local supermarket the other day, it was called Cranberry, Raisin & Cashew Bloomer. Bloomer being the shape of the loaf. The bread was really very delicious and I ended up eating rather too much of it, buttered, with cup after cup of tea.
Having thought about it I decided that I could probably devise a recipe very similar which would work well. So I had a try and it was very successful. Then I thought that such a loaf would be perfect as an alternative to Hot Cross Buns. In order to be a replacement I wanted to include some on the Hot Cross Bun flavour, without deviating too much from the original loaf. So I included a little orange zest and a small amount of all spice(both flavours that you get in the buns). I didn’t want the loaf to be too large, bloomers usually being very large loaves, so I thought I would make the dough and divide it to make two small loaves, about 580g each. Even that is larger than the one I bought, but they are a decent enough size to slice and share for a family at breakfast. I mention breakfast, as Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, and very often at breakfast on that day.
So the recipe below will make one large loaf or two smaller ones, which is what I prefer. That way I can keep one for myself and give the other away to family.
If you want a more traditional Hot Cross Bun I have a recipe here . Or if you want a similar flavour but in loaf form I have a recipe here.
My Easter Bread turned out very well indeed. It was perfect just sliced and eaten but even better with some butter smeared on each slice. It also toasts very well indeed, and then eaten with butter, so there is no issue about the bread going stale as toasting always refreshes.
- 500g(4 cups) bread flour(or plain flour if pushed)
- 75g(3/8 cup) caster or granulated sugar
- 10g(2 tsp) salt
- 10g(1 1/2 sachets) instant yeast
- 40g( scant 3 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
- 250ml (1 cup) milk, lukewarm
- 2 medium eggs(large in USA)
- 100g(3/4 cup) soft dried cranberries
- 100g(3/4 cup) raisins( or sultanas, or golden raisins)
- 50g(1/2 cup) cashews, chopped in half
- zest from a medium orange
- 1 tsp ground all spice
- 2 tbps melted butter for brushing on top if desired.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer place the flour and sugar together with the orange zest and all spice.
- Mix around with a hand whisk to distribute the all spice and zest.
- Place the salt onto the flour on one side of the bowl.
- Add the yeast to the other side of the bowl.
- Mix the the dough hook for a few seconds.
- Add the eggs, melted butter and half the milk and beat with the dough hook so that everything starts to combine.
- Continue to knead the mixture until it forms a stiff, tacky dough, adding more milk gradually. You may not need all the milk to achieve the right constistency(if you add too much milk you can add a little extra flour).
- When the dough is stiff and tacky and has been kneaded for about 5-8 minutes add the cranberries, raisins and cashews and mix to get them combined.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a little to ensure the fruit and nuts are evenly spread throughout the dough.
- Form the dough into a ball and place into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Then allow to prove in a warm place until it has doubled in size(1 to 2 hours).
- When the dough has doubled in size tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal parts(if making two loaves otherwise leave as one whole piece).
- Knock the air out of the dough and form into a log shape by flattening the dough and folding the long edges up into the middle,
- Roll the dough a little to seal everything, then use your hands to reform into a log about twice as long as it is wide. (repeat for the second loaf if doing two).
- Place the formed dough onto a baking tray and cover with a damp towel, or loosely with plastic wrap and allow to prove until again doubled in size(maybe about an hour).
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F.
- Once the dough has risen again take a very sharp knife and make 4 or 5 diagonal cuts about 1/2 inch deep across the top. That will allow the dough to expand in the oven without splitting.
- Place the baking tray, with the dough on, into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the underside sounds hollow when tapped. Or you can test the internal temperature until it reaches at least 85c(185F). For a harder crust bake until it reaches 96C(205 F).
- If the bread seems to be browning too quickly(it should get quite brown) you can lightly cover with aluminium foil.
- Remove from the oven and if desired brush with a little butter over the top.
- All to cool completely before slicing.