Cinnamon Swirl Fruit Loaf

This is just a quick post with one of my favourite fruit loaves – a cinnamon, sultana, and walnut fruit loaf with a swirl of cinnamon sugar through the middle. Using plain (all-purpose) flour gives the loaf a flakier, more crumbly texture than strong bread flour, making this loaf somewhere between a loaf and a cake. It’s also great toasted with fruit jam.

cinnamon_swirl_fruit_loaf
A light, flaky fruit loaf with a swirl of cinnamon sugar through the centre.

Cinnamon Swirl Fruit Loaf – makes 2 loaves

  • 450g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 20g white sugar
  • 9g salt
  • 6g instant yeast
  • 5g ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 30g butter at room temperature
  • 110g whole milk at room temperature
  • 170g water at room temperature
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g currants
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • Additional 1/4 cup of white sugar plus 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, combined
  • Poppy seeds, optional
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the fruit, walnuts, and cinnamon/sugar mix in the bowl of a mixer or in a large bowl.
  2. If kneading by hand, combine the ingredients, then turn the dough onto the counter and knead for 10 minutes.
  3. If using a mixer, combine the ingredients with the paddle attachment on a slow speed, then knead for several minutes with the dough hook until the dough is elastic. Turn out onto the counter.
  4. Spread the dough out and pour over the sultanas, currants, and walnuts. Knead for another 2 minutes by hand to combine the extra ingredients. Shape the dough into a rough ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and bulk ferment for approximately 2 hours, or until doubled.
  5. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape into balls. Rest for 5 minutes. Gently press the dough into a rectangle, working with one piece at a time. Spread the cinnamon/sugar mix over the dough, and roll it up to create the swirl (see photo below). Pinch the seam together, shaping for a loaf tin.
  6. If using, roll the loaves in poppy seeds. Place into greased loaf tins (8.5 x 4.5 inch). Dust the tops with flour or mist with spray oil. Cover loosely with cling film. Proof for 1-1.5 hours until risen about an inch over the lip of the loaf tin.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180˚C with the rack on the middle shelf.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pans half way through.
  9. Remove to a wire rack and cool for at least an hour before slicing.
cinnamon_dough
The dough, covered in cinnamon sugar, read to roll into a loaf
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A Simple Stollen

When I first started baking bread a few years ago one of the recipes I copied into my own recipe book was for a very simple German Christmas bread: stollen. I have since made a few different versions of stollen – sourdough stollen, stollen with elaborately spiced fruit mix that marinates in alcohol for weeks, wholegrain stollen – but this year returned to that first easy to make recipe.

Stollen, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon
Stollen, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon

Stollen, for me, is one of those recipes that does not benefit from being messed around too much. If you use a reasonable quality of dried fruit, decent bread flour, and good marzipan then I feel there is no need to play around with the additional and time consuming changes to the basic recipe. This goes completely against my normal stance on bread making, but, when it’s Christmas and there are hundreds of other things to get on with, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple.

Simple Stollen Recipe Makes one large stollen

  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tbsp cointreau or brandy
  • 175g mixed dried fruit
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 350g strong white bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 40g butter, diced
  • 55g blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 125ml warm milk
  • 175g marzipan
  • icing sugar and cinnamon, to dust
  1. The night before, combine the fruit, lemon zest and liqueur in a bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature.
  2. The day of making the stollen, sift flour, salt and mixed spice into a large bowl. Rub in the butter, and stir in the sugar, yeast and almonds.
  3. Combine the egg and milk, make a well in the centre of the flour, and add the mixture. Mix to make a soft dough.
  4. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
  5. Shape into a ball and rest in a lightly oiled bowl, covered, for 90 minutes to 2 hours, until the dough has risen to about 1 and a half its original size and is springy.

    Stollen, ready for its first rise
    Stollen, ready for its first rise
  6. On a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough ball and shape into a 20x10cm rectangle, about 2.5cm thick. Roll the marzipan into a sausage and place down the centre of the dough.
  7. Roll the dough up, enclosing the marzipan. Press the seams together and shape into a loaf. Place, seam side down, onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with clingfilm.
  8. Proof at room temperature for 60-90 minutes, until the dough has again risen to 1 and a half times its original size. Preheat oven to 180C.

    Rolled and ready for a final proof before baking
    Rolled and ready for a final proof before baking
  9. Bake on the middle shelf for 40 minutes, turning after 20. The bread is finished when it is golden brown.
  10. Cool on a wire rack, then dust with icing sugar and cinnamon.

 

This bread is delicious on its own, as a snack, or a dessert. Like all enriched breads (breads with eggs, sugar, and other ingredients) it does not keep for very long, so it should be eaten as soon as possible. Whilst making it you may notice that it does not rise as much as other doughs might. This is because the amount of sugar (and alcohol, to some extent) in the dough inhibits the yeast. It will not adversely affect the final bread.