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A Loaf Made From Plums?

One of the delights of Lincoln is its food culture and that was no different when Rachel Davis, aka the Vagabond Baker, visited in August 2013. Having discovered Lincolnshire Plum Bread, Rachel has shared with us her experience and own recipe for making it yourself.

One of the pleasures of travel is discovering interesting local foods. When we were visiting Lincoln for a sunny weekend in the summer I noticed Lincolnshire Plum Bread on the menu of the tea rooms where we had lunch. A loaf made from plums? I was intrigued.

Plum, I soon learned, is actually an old word meaning dried fruit, so the loaf didn't actually contain plums; it was instead packed with sultanas, raisins and mixed peel. We were offered cheese to go with it, similar to how fruit cake is served with cheese in Yorkshire. It tasted delicious: I adore fruity bread and this was a rich loaf with a wonderful spiced note. I couldn’t wait to try and bake my own.

I did some further research later on and discovered the flavours behind Lincolnshire Plum Bread. I found a number of recipes that were all quite different. Some were even more cake-like than bread. They were all made with ground cinnamon and allspice however, and the fruit was nearly always soaked in tea.

I'm certainly not claiming this recipe to be an authentic Lincolnshire Plum Loaf, this is my inspired version of the one I devoured during my visit to Lincoln.

Lincolnshire Plum Bread {my version of}

a large loaf tin, lined with parchment if you wish

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 7g sachet of easy-blend dry yeast
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g raisins
  • 50g dried mixed peel {optional}
  • 300ml strong black tea {only 50 ml will end up in the dough}
  • 75ml milk
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 2 free-range egg, beaten.
  1. Begin by soaking the sultanas, raisins and mixed dried peel (if using) in the strong tea. Set aside for half an hour while you gather and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the yeast, allspice, cinnamon, sugar and salt then use a whisk or your hands to combine them.
  3. Drain the fruit, reserving 50 ml of the tea. Add the plumped up fruit to the dry ingredients and give it another quick mix.
  4. Combine the 50 ml of reserved tea with the milk, melted butter and beaten eggs and add most of it to the dry ingredients. Don't quite add it all straight away as it may not all be needed.
  5. Use your hands to mix everything together, add the rest of the tea/milk/butter/egg mixture if it's too dry. It should come away from the sides of the bowl. Add a spot more cold milk if it still needs it.
  6. Place the dough on a clean work surface then knead the dough for 5 to 10  minutes until smooth and elastic. Put a dot of oil into a clean bowl and roll the dough in it to coat. Cover with cling film or a damp towel then leave in a warm place for around an hour or two for it to prove and double in size.
  7. Once the dough has risen nicely, give it another quick knead to knock the air back out of it. Flatten it out a bit then tuck the sides under to form a loaf shape. Drop into the loaf tin and loosely cover with oiled cling film. Return the loaf to a warm place for an hour or so for the dough to double in size again.
  8. preheat the oven 190 C / gas 5 / 375 F
  9. Once the loaf has risen simply pop it into the preheated oven and bake for around 25 to 35 minutes. To check if it is baked, tip the loaf out of the tin and tap the base, it should sound hollow. Turn the oven down a little if it is starting to brown too quickly.
  10. Cool the loaf on a wire rack before slicing.

Thanks to Rachel A Davis (Vagabond Baker) for the recipe and photos.  You can find out more about her trip to Lincoln on her blog post and her other travels and baking on www.vagabondbaker.com.  Why not try the recipe yourself or get some authentic Lincolnshire bread in one of Lincoln's tea rooms, at a local Farmers' Market or the Visitor Information Centre.

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