This excellent recipe comes from The Modern Baker, Confectioner and Caterer, edited by John Kirkland and printed in 1908.
The book was aimed at the baking trade and gave the following advice: "It is often useful to make a speciality of a fruit loaf and this should be done by making it of a superior quality and different in shape from the ordinary, but when the quality and shape are determined, no effort should be spared to keep it always alike. A very superior loaf may be made thus."
Makes 10 large loaves
For the sponge
Warm water: 1.2 litres/2 pints
Dried active yeast: 60g/2oz
or fresh yeast: 120g/4oz
Strong white flour: 900g/2lb
For the rest of the dough
Warm milk: 1.7 litres/3 pints
Water: 550ml/1 pint
Strong flour: 900g/2lb
Plain flour: 1.4kg/3lb
Icing sugar to dust
1. Mix the sponge ingredients together and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
2. Combine the sponge with all the other ingredients and knead into soft dough.
3. Leave it to rise for 1½ hours.
4. Shape the dough and put it in large (1.5-litre/2½-pint) loaf tins. Leave it to prove for 30 minutes.
5. Bake for around 45 minutes at 205?C/400?F.
6. Remove from the tin as soon as you take it out of the oven. Sprinkle with icing sugar and leave to cool.