• Soak the mixed fruit and prunes for 6-8 hours in the tea. Once soaked and plump, drain the fruit and discard all but 50g of the liquid. Mix the reserved liquid with the yeast and then whisk in the malt extract, buttermilk, melted butter and eggs, and beat well.
• In the meantime sift the flour, salt, spices, and sugar into a large bowl and mix.
• Then pour the liquid into the flour, mix, then add the plumped up drained fruit, mix well then leave for 10 minutes.
• Place the dough on a clean lightly dusted work surface, dust with a little more flour then shape the dough - it will be sticky but bear with it, it will come together, so I find using a dough scraper useful to do this. This loaf doesn’t require an extensive knead due to the slow prove, turn a few times and then shape.
• Place in a well greased lightly floured (don’t forget to grease and flour the lid) 900g Pullman pan. Leave in an ambient temperature until it is risen two inches below the top of the tin. Be patient as this is a slow rise.
• Preheat your oven 160C. Place your loaf in the tin, in the oven and bake for an hour. Remove the lid carefully and continue to bake for 25 - 30 minutes more.
• To check if it is baked, insert a skewer - it should come out clean, if not continue to bake for a further 10 minutes and retest until the skewer comes out clean.
• Cool the loaf on a wire rack before slicing and serving with slices of cheese.
Makes: One 900g loaf
300g strong black tea
200g mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas etc)
100g prunes, roughly chopped
13g Osmotolerant yeast
2 large tablespoons malt extract
75g butter, melted
2 free-range eggs, beaten
450g Heritage Blend White Flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
75g dark brown sugar
Butter, softened for greasing