Always popular, this spicy Welsh bread is attractively speckled with mixed fruit. The fruit is soaked first in tea.
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FOR THE BREAD
6 teaspoons fresh yeast or 3 teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 1/2 – 2 cups lukewarm milk
6 cups strong plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground mixed spice
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup sultanas
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup chopped candied peel
1 egg, beaten
FOR THE GLAZE
2 tablespoons each milk and water
3 tablespoons caster sugar
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Directions Preparation:20min › Cook:1hour15min › Extra time:1hour40min › Ready in:3hours15min
If you're using fresh yeast, add it to 2 cups of milk and whisk with a fork until dissolved. If you're using dried yeast, proof the yeast first by dissolving with the sugar in 1/2 cup lukewarm water (35-40 degrees C). Wait for the mixture to become foamy (about 5 minutes), then stir in 1 1/2 cups milk.
Sift the ﬂour and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter and lard. Mix in the spice, sugar, raisins, sultanas, currants and peel. Make a well in the centre, add the egg and pour in the yeast liquid. Mix together, then beat well by hand for 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Grease two loaf tins, each measuring about 20x10x6 cm. Turn the dough out on a well-ﬂoured work surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cut in half, knead each piece for 5 minutes and shape into a roll. Place a roll in each tin. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size and risen to the tops of the tins.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Uncover the loaves and bake them side by side in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 190 degrees C and bake for 30 minutes more, covering the loaves with greaseproof paper or aluminium foil if they are overbrowning. Bake for a further 30 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. When removed from the tin, the loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the underside.
Turn the loaves out straight away on a wire rack set over a baking tray. For the glaze, stir the milk, water and caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. Glaze the loaves with the syrup and allow to cool completely. Serve sliced and buttered.