On the first day of our Australian spring, it’s time to soak up the warm sun, so I’m looking for a bake that takes hours all by itself, while I am outside planting the first spring vegetable seeds into punnets.

Do you have a bread oven at home, languishing in the cupboard, hardly ever used? This recipe will have you dusting it off and reaching for the bread mix! Filled with the goodness of dried apricots, organic sultanas – and slivered almonds, this wholemeal loaf is ideal for a mid morning low GI pick-me-up, or a hiker’s mid-afternoon backpack snack. For those of us watching cholesterol intake, make sure you top your slice with a 50% less fat dairy spread, or just some local honey instead.

Apricot and Almond Wholemeal Loaf
Select a good quality wholemeal bread mix: it contains the right blend of ingredients required to guarantee a successful loaf.

Apricot and Almond Wholemeal Loaf
Clockwise from far left: slivered almonds, mix of coconut milk powder and raw caster sugar, bread mix, dried apricots, organic muscat sultanas.

Apricot and Almond Wholemeal Loaf
Add the extra ingredients to your basic dough when your bread machine prompts you, halfway through the second knead.

Apricot and Almond Wholemeal LoafAt this point you can walk away, go for a hike, or catch up on the gardening, and when you return, your bread will be ready.

INGREDIENTS

Makes 1 small loaf: double it to make 1 large loaf
175 ml tepid water
200g wholemeal bread mix
100g “00” plain flour
1 tsp dried yeast
125g sliced dried apricots
40g organic sultanas
35g slivered almonds
1 tbsp coconut milk powder, or substitute milk powder
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

To serve:
50% fat reduced butter, at room temperature; or local organic honey

METHOD

Measure ingredients, pour water into bread machine, then add flour mix, milk powder, raw sugar and finally yeast. Yeast must not touch the water. Set machine to sweet, small loaf, medium crust. Start machine kneading. Halfway through second knead, add dried fruit, spices and almonds, taking care not to spill them into the cavity below the baking tin. Do not turn off the oven, simply open the lid when the machine prompts you – usually a series of beeps – and carefully add the ingredients.

Your bread oven will continue to knead, rise and bake the loaf. When finished, using oven mitts (tin and handle are very hot), turn out the loaf onto a wire rack to cool. Ensure the kneading blade has not come away into the loaf. WIth a serrated bread knife, slice into 8mm thick slices and top generously with your choice of spread. Serve with a cup of your favourite hot beverage: I do recommend tea.

Apricot and Almond Wholemeal Loaf