- Serves: Makes 1 large loaf
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Prep Time: 25 minutes plus rising times
- Effort: medium
- 475 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for sprinkling
- 7 g packet easy-bake yeast
- 25 g golden caster sugar
- 275 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 50 g butter, cut into pieces
- 1 splashes ground cinnamon
- 85 g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
- 25 g pecans or walnuts, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
Tips and Suggestions
Rising times will vary depending on how warm the room is, so keep a check at each stage of the rising.
1. Measure 100g of the flour into a medium mixing bowl, then mix in the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Warm the milk to lukewarm, then gradually pour it into the flour, stirring well as you do so to make a batter. Cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 25 minutes, until the surface looks bubbly.
2. Put the remaining 375g flour in a large mixing bowl with the butter and 1/2 tsp salt and rub together to make fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the rest of the sugar, the cinnamon, chopped apricots and nuts. Stir the beaten egg lightly into the bubbly yeast mixture, pour this into the dry flour mixture and mix with a round bladed knife to make a soft dough. Gather it together into a ball with your hands.
3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Place in a large, clean lightly buttered bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about an hour, or until risen to double in size.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead just a few times, no more. Rub a very little olive oil on your work surface to stop the dough slipping while you shape it. Using your hands, roll the dough to a 52cm long, plump sausage shape. Bend it in the middle to make a horseshoe shape, take hold of both ends and twist them over each other a couple of times to create a small twist. Pinch the ends together to seal and tuck underneath. Lay the twist on a lightly buttered baking sheet, cover loosely and leave to rise for about 45 minutes or until the dough has risen well and feels light and spongy.
5. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
6. Sprinkle a little flour over the top of the loaf, then bake it for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with foil, to prevent it over-browning, then bake for another 10 minutes until cooked and it sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve freshly baked, sliced and buttered - it's good toasted too.
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