Yule Bread is delicious for breakfast, toasted or plain and spread with butter, though in its native Yorkshire it is served for afternoon tea.

  • 1½ cups water
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup dried currants
  • 4 cups flour, more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, creamed
  • 1/3 cup chopped, candied orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm milk (for glaze)

9 x 5 x 4 inch loaf pan

1. Bring water to a boil, pour half over raisins and currants and leave to soak.  Let remaining water cool to tepid.  Sift flour into a bowl with salt, cinnamon and cloves and stir in sugar.  Make a well in the center and add tepid water with water drained from fruits.  Crumble or sprinkle yeast over water and leave 5 minutes or until dissolved.  Add eggs and, with your hand, gradually mix in flour. If necessary add more flour to form a smooth dough that is soft but not sticky.

2. Transfer dough to an electric mixer bowl and knead until elastic using the dough hook, 5-7 minutes.  Put dough in an oiled bowl, turning it so the top is oiled.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 2-3 hours.

3. Butter the loaf pan. Return dough to the mixer bowl and add creamed butter. Beat with dough hook at medium speed until butter is mixed and dough is smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Add soaked fruit and candied peel and mix at low speed until incorporated.

4. To shape loaf, turn dough onto a floured work surface. Pat it out with your fist to a rectangle 9 inches wide. Roll dough into a cylinder, pinch edge to seal, then drop carefully into loaf pan, seam side down.  Cover loosely and leave to rise until pan is full, 1½-2 hours.

5.  Heat the oven to 400°F. Brush loaf with glaze and bake for 20 minutes.  Brush again, lower heat to 350° and continue baking until the loaf sounds hollow when unmolded and tapped on bottom, 30-40 minutes. Transfer it to a rack to cool.  Yule Bread can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 1 month, and the flavor matures.  It can also be frozen.  Makes 1 large loaf to serve 8

Photo Credit: Randall Price