25g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
125ml milk, plus extra, if needed
2-3 large pinches of saffron strands
3 tbsp Cornish clotted cream
225g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 tsp salt
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
25g golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tbsp clear honey
1. Grease a long, thin 500g loaf tin with butter and set aside. Heat the milk in a small pan over a low heat until just below simmering point. Stir in the saffron strands and leave to infuse for about 15 minutes off the heat.
2. Add the cream to the milk and saffron in the pan and return to a low heat. Warm (but don’t boil) for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast, sugar and mixed spice. Make a well in the centre and add the warm milk mixture. Mix well to make a soft dough, adding extra milk if needed.
3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 15 minutes, gradually adding the butter and dried fruit as you go, until the dough is soft and elastic. Pop into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until at least doubled in size.
4. Punch the dough in the bowl to ‘knock back’, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Split the dough into 3 even pieces and roll out into long ’sausages’, just a little longer than the tin. Plait the dough together and tuck the ends under as you lift it into the tin. Cover with some lightly greased cling film and leave in a warm place for at least 11/2 hours or until doubled in size again.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Bake the loaf for 25 minutes, until risen and golden. Remove from the oven and brush with the honey. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into thick slices and spread with more clotted cream or butter to serve, if you like.
- You can make 6 individual buns, instead of a whole loaf, just bake for 15-20 minutes on a baking sheet.