River Cottage

Christmas bread recipe

Hugh gets festive with this fruit-filled Christmas loaf on River Cottage Christmas

Makes 1 round loaf


  • 75g raisins
  • 125g sultanas
  • 50g dried apple, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp apple brandy
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp mixed peel
  • 1 tsp preserved stem ginger
  • Zest ½ orange


  1. Put the raisins, sultanas and dried apple in a mixing bowl, pour over the brandy and leave to steep overnight.

  2. Put the flour, milk, butter, sugar, eggs, yeast, salt, spices and vanilla into a mixing bowl. Combine everything together and knead for 10 minutes until the mixture is smooth and elastic. Leave the dough in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.

  3. Once the dough has risen, knock back and place the dough on a work surface and pat out flat. Sprinkle the fruit, nuts, mixed peel, ginger and orange zest over the dough and roll up. Gently knead the dough to incorporate the fruit and nuts.

  4. Divide the dough into seven pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls into a buttered and flour-dusted 20cm cake tin. Loosely cover with cling and leave to prove in a warm place for about an hour.

  5. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 2½ and bake the bread for 45-60 minutes.


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River Cottage

Last Broadcast: Saturday 19 January 3.40PM

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Friday 10 December 2010
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