Lincolnshire Plum Bread {my version of}

Lincolnshire Plum Bread | Vagabond BakingOne of the pleasures of travel is discovering local foods that aren’t necessarily well-known outside of the area.

More often than not, savoury dishes are meat based so I miss out on those, but many places have regional breads, cakes and baked goods too.

When we were visiting Lincoln the other week I noticed Lincolnshire Plum Bread on the menu for the tea rooms where we had lunch. I didn’t order it as we were there for the savoury fare but the name stuck in my head.

When we met up with Chris’s elderly friend later that day I inquired about it. She told me it was a local, lightly spiced, fruit loaf.

Amazingly she had some, so she sliced it up and buttered it for us.

Apparently plum is an old word meaning dried fruit, so the loaf didn’t actually contain plums {I have to say, I was a little disappointed!}, it was instead packed with sultanas, raisins and mixed peel.

We were even offered cheese to go with it, she said it was often served with cheese, similar to how fruit cake is served with cheese in Yorkshire.

Lincolnshire Plum Bread | Vagabond Baking

To me, the bread reminded me a lot of Hot Cross Buns. A soft, rich bread with a touch of spice and lots of fruit. It was very delicious.

I asked if she had a recipe but she didn’t: it was too easy to buy in Lincoln. I looked it up later and discovered the flavours behind Lincolnshire Plum Bread.

The recipes were all quite different: some were more cake-like than bread. They were all made with ground cinnamon and allspice however, and the fruit was nearly always soaked in tea.

In the past, the loaf would probably have been made with lard, but these days butter is more usual.

I decided to create my own version of Lincolnshire Plum Bread, I based the dough on my Hot Cross Bun recipe, upping the eggs and butter to make it much richer.

I switched the spices to cinnamon and allspice and soaked my fruit in some strong tea, using a bit of it in the recipe too. I didn’t use dried mixed peel in my actual bake as I didn’t have any and I’m really frugally shopping at the moment, in the run up to our adventures next month. I’m also not a huge fan of mixed peel.

I swapped the sugar for dark brown sugar, to add a bit more depth of flavour too. We’re house sitting in rural Yorkshire again so my loaf was baked in an Aga, there is something rather wonderful about producing a loaf of bread out of an Aga.

The dough is really easy to bring together but do set yourself plenty of time to make the loaf. It has two provings of around an hour each time, it is a great rainy day bake. The loaf would be a prefect festive bake for some cheer around Christmas time, maybe as part of a cheese plate to follow in its Lincolnshire heritage.

I’m certainly not claiming this recipe to be an authentic Lincolnshire Plum Loaf, this is my version of the one I devoured while I was in Lincoln.

Lincolnshire Plum Bread | Vagabond Baking

Lincolnshire Plum Bread {my version of}

a large loaf tin, lined with parchment if you wish

  • 450 g {3 & 1/2 cups} strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g {1/4 cup} dark brown sugar
  • 7 g sachet of easy-blend dry yeast
  • 100 g {3/4 cup} sultanas
  • 100 g {3/4 cup} raisins
  • 50 g {1/3 cup} dried mixed peel {optional}
  • 300 ml strong black tea {only 50 ml will end up in the dough}
  • 75 ml {scant 1/3 cup} milk
  • 75 g { generous 3/5  stick} butter, melted
  • 2 free-range egg, beaten

Begin by soaking the sultanas, raisins and mixed dried peel {if using} in the strong tea. Set aside for half an hour while you gather and prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Sift the flours into a large bowl, add the yeast, allspice, cinnamon, sugar and salt then use a whisk or your hands to combine them.

Drain the fruit, reserving 50 ml { 1/5 cup} of the tea. Add the plumped up fruit to the dry ingredients and give it another quick mix.

Combine the 50 ml of reserved tea with the milk, melted butter and beaten eggs and add most of it to the dry ingredients. Don’t quite add it all straight away as it may not all be needed.

Use your hands to mix everything together, add the rest of the tea/milk/butter/egg mixture if it’s too dry. It should come away from the sides of the bowl. Add a spot more cold milk if it still needs it.

Place the dough on a clean work surface then knead the dough for 5 to 10  minutes until smooth and elastic. You can see my kneading technique on this post. Put a dot of oil into a clean bowl and roll the dough in it to coat. Cover with cling film or a damp towel then leave in a warm place for around an hour or two for it to prove and double in size.

Once the dough has risen nicely, give it another quick knead to knock the air back out of it. Flatten it out a bit then tuck the sides under to form a loaf shape. Drop into the loaf tin and loosely cover with oiled cling film. Return the loaf to a warm place for an hour or so for the dough to double in size again.

preheat the oven 190 C / gas 5 / 375 F

Once the loaf has risen simply pop it into the preheated oven and bake for around 25 to 35 minutes. To check if it is baked, tip the loaf out of the tin and tap the base, it should sound hollow. Turn the oven down a little if it is starting to brown too quickly.

Cool the loaf on a wire rack before slicing. Like most bread, this is best served the day it is baked however it is unbelievably delicious toasted the following day. How’s that for a treat of a breakfast!

Lincolnshire Plum Bread | Vagabond Baking


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Lincolnshire Plum Bread // fruit loaf // British

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9 Responses

  1. Mm mm mm! Looks perfect and delicious. A nice recipe to get into the Autumn mood too 🙂

  2. fenn says:

    oh my goodness this looks DIVINE!! i’m such a sucker for bread, I’d eat it by the dozen (har har) if I could! thank you so much for sharing this, i’ll definitely be giving this a go this weekend 🙂


  3. I’m from Lincolnshire and was so happy to see a food stuff from my own home county featured on your blog! I guess the meaning of plum that you talk about is where the name plum pudding comes for Christmas pud. I’d never made that connection before. As a Lincolnshirite I can vouch that plum bread and cheese is a wonderful combo, it used to be my get in from school snack on good days!

    • Wow, fab! My pleasure for sharing your localities amazing loaf. It was wonderful to find it. I’d never made the plum pudding connection until you pointed it out, it’s got to be true!
      Wish I could’ve had this as a post school snack, mine was ‘wonder bread’ {supermarket white sliced} , marg and jam. Not in the least inspiring!

  4. laurasmess says:

    Yum! This looks delicious. I’ve never heard of Lincolnshire plum bread (and I have to say that I’m glad you explained the meaning behind ‘plum’, as I initially checked the ingredients and I was a bit puzzled!) but I adore hot cross buns, so a loaf filled with the same ingredients sounds divine. Love the sun-drenched photos too. Definitely on my to-bake list xx

    • I’d never heard of it too! I was like, mmm plum bread? I was so surprised to find no plum in there! It is sometimes made these days with prunes to make it live up to the name but I don’t think prunes are that authentic. I’m a hot cross bun fiend, this loaf and a block of butter makes a very happy me!