Walnut Fruit Bread

This unusual teabread contains small pieces of fruit and nuts and is delicious served sliced with plenty of butter.

2-

1 teaspoon butter

5 oz. fresh yeast

2 tablespoons plus

½ teaspoon sugar

4 fl. oz. lukewarm milk mixed with

4 fl. oz. water

12 oz. flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 oz. wholemeal Hour

5 fl. oz. sour cream

2 oz. dried apricots, finely chopped

2 oz. sultanas or seedless raisins

3 oz. walnuts, chopped

Using the teaspoon of butter, grease a 2-pound loaf tin and set aside.

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the

½ teaspoon of sugar with a fork. Add

1 tablespoon of the lukewarm milk and water mixture and blend the yeast and liquid together until they form a smooth paste. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour, salt and remaining sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in the wholemeal flour. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast liquid, the remaining milk and water mixture and the sour cream. Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for 5 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be clastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and set it in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to ½ hours or until the dough has risen and almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes. Roll the dough out into an oblong and sprinkle over the apricots, sultanas or seedless raisins and walnuts. Knead the fruit and nuts into the dough and shape the dough into a loaf. Place the dough in the prepared tin. Cover the tin with a clean, damp cloth and return it to a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until the dough has risen to the top of the tin.

Preheat the oven to hot 425 °F (Gas Mark 7, 220 deg C).

Place the tin in the oven and bake the loaf for 40 to 45 minutes.

After removing the bread from the oven, tip the loaf out of the tin and rap the underside with your knuckles. If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked. If it does not sound hollow, lower the oven temperature to fairly hot 375 F (Gas

Mark 5, 190 C). Return the loaf, upside-down, to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cool the loaf on a wire rack.

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