My sister Margaret, who lives in Canada, sent me a link to a Lincolnshire Plum Loaf, which is something of which I had never heard. So I did a little searching and came across several recipes.
Charles Myers was the Lincolnshire baker who created the first such loaf.
Most usually made as a yeasted bread, which mine is, it is also sometimes made as a quick bread using self-raising flour and baking powder. But since I wanted the more robust type of bread I opted to make a yeasted loaf.
For my loaf I wanted to use prunes(soft dried plums) as well as the oft used mixed fruit of sultanas and raisins. So I opted for the soft dried plums and some mixed dried fruit, which has sultanas, raisins and mixed chopped peel. My soft dried plums were actually lovely and soft and moist. However sometimes prunes can be a little dry so, where I soaked my mixed dried fruit if the prunes are dry they should be included in that soaking.
As with all yeasted breads this one takes some time, and it is important to do so, as the dough needs to proof to give it the structure. The effort is very worthwhile since the resultant loaf is very good indeed.
I understand that Lincolnshire Plum Loaf is often served with cheese, so I shall have to try that too.
My loaf turned out very well indeed, rich and fruity and full of flavour.
I have other fruit breads, particularly quick breads, such as Barm Brack.
Lincolnshire Plum LoafCourse: BreadCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Medium
125(3/4 cup) chopped prunes or soft dried plums
180g(1 1/3 cups) mixed dried fruit
150ml(1/2 cup+2 tbsp) hot black tea
180ml(3/4 cup) milk
110g( about 1 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium eggs(large in USA)
50g(1/4 cup) light brown sugar
4 1/2g(1 1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
4 1/2g(1 1/2 tsp) ground allspice
14g(2 packets) instant yeast
450g(3 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) bread flour
- Soak the mixed dried fruit( and the prunes if they are dry) in the tea.
- Melt the butter and then add the milk and heat until the temperature reaches about 42-43C/108-110F.
- In a bowl whisk the eggs and then add the sugar and whisk to combine.
- Whisking all the time gradually add the milk and butter mixture.
- Add the spices, salt and whisk again.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer( you can do it all by hand but it is more work)
- Sprinkle the yeast over the top and beat to combine, using the paddle attachment.
- Beating all the while gradually add the flour until it is mixed into a soft, sticky, dough.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
- A windowpane test should allow the dough to be stretched until it is almost translucent, so knead a little longer if necessary.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and form into a ball.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then allow it to proof in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until is has doubled in size (the doubling in size more important than the time it takes).
- Drain the soaking liquid from the fruit and pat the fruit dry with some paper towel.
- Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knock the air out, forming a rectangle.
- Cover the dough with the drained fruit and fold up and knead for a couple of minutes, until the fruit is well distributed.
- Form the dough into a rectangle again and roll up into a log about 9 inches long.
- Place the formed shaped into a greased and floured 2lb loaf pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and leave the dough to rise again for about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F.
- When the dough has risen above the top of the loaf pan, and pressing it slightly causes a dimple with slowly almost disappears, it is ready to bake.
- Place the pan into the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, covering with some foil if the top seems to be browning to quickly.
- Remove from the oven and leave in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely.