I love making whopping great loaves as much as the next transdimensional baking chevalier, but sometimes a little treat is all that's required. This loaf is perfect for one or two people to enjoy and keeps well for a couple of days, particularly if you are toasting thick slices (and you should toast thick slices). You can pick up fresh yeast very inexpensively from most bakeries, or even from the baking counter at supermarkets. If you're lucky you might even be gifted a generous block for free!
Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus proving time)
Baking time: 30 Mins
7g Fresh Yeast
140ml Tepid Water
25g Caster Sugar
200g Very Strong White Bread Flour
1tsp Mixed Spice
Half a tsp of Salt
1tbsp Unsalted Butter (Melted and cooled)
A small handful or two of Mixed Dried fruit and Peel (depending on how fruity you like it)
First we make the dough. In a bowl crumble the fresh yest into the tepid water, then add the sugar. Mix to blend, then add the flour, spice, salt, butter and fruit. Using a flat bladed knife bring the mixture together to a loose dough, then tip out onto a floured surface. Bring the dough together, then knead for around 10 mins, stretching and folding the dough until it's smooth and elastic. It will start off rather sticky, but try and avoid adding too much flour if you can. Once the dough has been kneaded place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for an hour to prove.
Once the dough has risen remove from the warm place and turn out onto a clean, lightly greased surface. Knock the air from the dough, then gently shape into a fat sausage. Place in a small loaf tin (also lightly greased) and return to your warm place for a further 30 mins, preheating the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 halfway through. Once the dough has risen again in the tin place in the centre of the oven for around 30 minutes, until the bread is a dark golden on top, then remove. Leave for at least 20 minutes before serving, which will be challenge as this little loaf is hard to resist!