Fruit sourdough bread

Alan Reid from the Red Beard Historic Bakery uses dried fruits and spices to enliven this ancient bread recipe
Fruit sourdough bread
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 3 loaves
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time:
  • Effort: medium


  • 700 ml water
  • 850 g organic plain flour
  • 200 g stone ground wholewheat or wholerye flour
  • 150 g leaven, or wild sourdough, culture
  • 25 g pink lake or iodised salt
  • 300 g mixed dried fruit, and spices such as sultanas, apricots, figs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves


1. Soak the fruit and spices in 300ml of hot water for 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile make a dough from the remaining ingredients by roughly mixing the flour, water and leaven by hand in a plastic tub. Hold back the salt until the leaven is properly incorporated.

3. Tip the dough onto a wooden bench and knead thoroughly for about 5 minutes or until the dough starts to spring back this indicates that you have developed the gluten in the dough.

4. Place the dough in a plastic container with a lid and leave in a warm place.

5. After 2 hours fold the fruit and spices through the dough until fully incorporated.

6. Leave to prove (or rise) for another hour.

7. Tip the dough onto wooden bench and cut into 3 equal lumps. Round up each lump and place in a tin.

8. Prove for another 2.5 to 3 hours.

9. Whilst the bread is proving, build a neat platform of red bricks in the bottom of your oven to add thermal mass and preheat to 270C/250 fan/gas 9 - bread likes it hot!

10. After it has proved test the dough by poking it gently if it springs back quickly it needs more time but if it springs back slowly it's ready to go into the oven.

11. Place the tins directly on the bricks. Spray several shots of water into the oven with an atomiser gun immediately before closing the oven door the extra steam will help the bread to form a thicker crust.

12. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Test whether the bread is baked by turning it upside down on an oven glove and tapping the base a hollow sound indicates that it is cooked.

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