Fruit breads make a great dessert, snacktime treat or breakfast bread. Here are some classic recipes to give you the basics of fruit breads.
Many bread machines have a fruit and nut bread cycle and almost all of them have either an audible beep for the addition or fruits and/or nuts, or a hopper that adds them automatically. We’re going to explore a range of recipes that feature the addition of fruits or nuts in a variety of ways so you can master this bread making style.
Breads made with fruits and nuts are as old as bread itself. In fact, adding fruits or nuts to bread was often necessary if the fruit or nut harvest was small or not enough to feed one person. We’re not going to make anything as heavy as a fruit-cake which often features dried fruits, nor something as simple as a sunflower seed bread which simply adds sunflower seeds to the mix. We want to see the fruit and notice a variety of nuts as both a nutritional and flavor component, as well as a visual accent that makes the bread sumptuous and inviting.
This style of bread making is often used as a dessert or breakfast bread. However, we’ll explore a Trail Mix bread that can make a great lunch or snack time treat as well.
All of these recipes use standard bread flour as a primary ingredient. This is because nuts and particularly fruit can put a burden on the dough and inhibit rising. Bread flour has a high concentration of gluten and can help to deliver a bread with a light, fluffy texture in spite of the addition of hard, chunky ingredients or a puree of pumpkin. All of them are intended to be made in the bread machine from start to finish, but you could always use the dough cycle and finish in the oven.
These breads also go well with robust, savory dishes like wild game, barbecue and flavorful cuts of meat like lamb, turkey and oily fish like salmon.
Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Spiced pumpkin bread is a classic harvest recipe. The pumpkin is peeled and the chunks are simmered in a blend of pumpkin pie spices like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace. The pumpkin is then pureed and added to the recipe. You can also buy a ready made pumpkin pie filling in a can. Just stay true to the proportions in the recipe and feel free to add some additional spices if your canned filling is a bit too tame.
The good news with this recipe is that you don’t have to wait for the beep or use a hopper to add the pumpkin. It’s added at the beginning of the recipe so it’s a fairly simple process that you can set and forget. Also, don’t be surprised if the dough has a batter like consistency. This is common with breads like pumpkin bread and banana breads.
Spiced Pumpkin Bread Recipe:
(Makes a 1 pound loaf)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Add all ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated and select the Quick Bread cycle, 1 pound loaf, medium crust. When bread is done remove from machine and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Chunky Apple Bread
This is another harvest recipe although apples are often available year round. Be careful with your choice of apples however. While you might use a tarter, firmer apple like a green, Granny Smith for an apple pie -apple bread recipes are best served by more tender apples like Golden Delicious, Red Delicious or other apples that are typically served in fruit bowls. The bread machine temperatures are not high enough, nor is the dough liquid enough to soften a tart, firm green apple so stick with the sweeter, more tender apples.
You’ll also want to make sure you peel them and get the size right. However, you can alternate dicing sizes to combine both smaller dices to get an even distribution, and larger chunks to provide a nice, sweet apple surprise in every bite. For this recipe, you will want to add the apples after the beep or in the fruit and nut hopper. Also, make sure you coat the peeled apples with a quick toss in lemon or lime juice so they don’t oxidize and turn brown.
Chunky Apple Bread Recipe:
(Makes a 1.5 pound loaf)
- 1 cup warm milk (100 degrees F/38 degrees C)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
- 1 large apple, diced
Put all ingredients except apple in bread machine in the order indicated in the recipe. Add the apple after the first rise or at the beep that indicates it’s time to add the fruit, or add to your fruit and nut hopper if your machine is so equipped.
Set the machine to white bread cycle, 1.5 pound loaf and medium crust. When bread is done, cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve.
Trail Mix Bread
Trail mix varies as a combination. Typical varieties feature a blend of nuts and dried fruits like raisins, dried cranberries and sometimes dried banana chips or other types of chopped, dried fruit. For this recipe you can use any trail mix combination you like. It can be store-bought or a homemade blend that you put together yourself. What’s important is that you add the proportion that’s called for in the recipe, and add it after the beep or in your fruit and nut hopper if your bread machine has that feature. This recipe also features a blend of bread flour and whole wheat flour.
Trail mix bread is great as a dessert bread or a breakfast bread either eaten plain or topped with peanut butter, jelly or butter. It also makes a surprisingly good French toast.
Trail Mix Bread Recipe:
(Makes a 2 pound loaf)
- 1 1/4 cups of warm water (100 degrees F/38 degrees C)
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 3 3/4 cups of bread flour
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast or bread machine yeast.
- 3/4 cups trail mix
Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated in the recipe and select basic white cycle, 2 pound loaf and medium crust. Add the trail mix after the first rise, or following the beep. If you have a fruit and nut hopper add the mix to the hopper.
Continue to explore
You can experiment with different fruits over time. Use the apple bread recipe as a benchmark and only add the amount of fruit indicated in that recipe. Possible alternatives include blueberries, chopped peaches or plums, pitted sweet cherries, chunks of pear.
Any fruit that you use should be added at the appropriate time either following the beep for the addition of fruit or in the fruit hopper. You could also use canned fruit but keep an eye on your dough consistency. Canned fruit tends to be juicier and could give you a sloppy dough. If that happens, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until you get the proper dough consistency.
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