A Yule Loaf for Keeping

Here’s a recipe for a delicious, fruity keeping loaf which is really easy to make & which should be ready to eat round New Year, in the middle of the twelve days of Christmas, or Yule. It includes lots of yummy candied peel – chopped big pieces are much nicer than the ready-chopped stuff you get.

Candied peel for our yule loaf

It’s from a recipe book called Farmhouse Kitchen II, published by Yorkshire Television to accompany a late 1970s TV series presented by Dorothy Sleightholme. These are recipes which viewers of the programme sent in and perhaps because they were people’s favourite recipes, the book is thankfully free of some of the woeful food you often find in 1970s or 1980s cookbooks.

This recipe was sent in by Stella Boldy of North Humberside & is called ‘My Grandmother’s Yule Bread’.

Note on loaf tin sizes.
I often struggle with tin sizes – as none of ours have any indication of their volume! For this, I used two tins which I think are 1 pound tins, measuring 7cm deep, 12cm wide, & 22cm long.


450g strong white bread flour
a pinch of salt
15g fresh yeast or 8g dried yeast
300ml lukewarm water
225g butter
225g sugar
half a nutmeg, grated
350g currants
100g chopped candied peel
2 beaten eggs


  • If you’re using fresh yeast, then dissolve it in the water, add a teaspoon of sugar & leave to froth up.
  • To a warm bowl, add the flour & salt then the yeast liquid, or the dried yeast and then the water. Mix it well for about 10 minutes. We use a dough hook for this.
  • Cover over with a polythene bag & leave to rise for an hour somewhere warm. It should double in size.
  • Cream the butter and then add this, the sugar, nutmet, currants, peel & beaten eggs to the dough. Mix it together well.
  • Line two 500g (one pound) loaf tins with baking parchment, then Pour the mixture into them and then cover them loosely with poly bags, and leave somewhere warm for another hour. After this the mixture should have risen to the top.
  • 15 minutes before the end of this, pre-heat your oven to 180C (gas 4). We have an electric fan oven so we cooked ours at 175C.
  • Bake them for about 1 hour. You need to start checking them after about 45 minutes. You want them to be brown, but not overdone. So if they look like they might be getting too brown, cover over with some foil.
  • You want a loaf that springs back when you press it & which leaves a knife clean.
  • Wrap it up well (foil & a poly bag works well) & keep for three weeks – if you can..

Farmhouse Kitchen also had a rather groovy theme tune called Fruity Flutes, a bit of library music written by Reg Wale:

4 thoughts on “A Yule Loaf for Keeping

  1. It looked pretty good when it came out of the oven – but we won’t really know how it’s turned out for a couple of weeks… If you’re using the recipe, don’t make the larger-sized loaf rather than the two small ones – the two hours cooking time leaves it a bit blackened!

  2. I have the ” Complete Farmhouse Kitchen” and “Farmhouse Kitchen Baking” books – the first one is the “If I could only take one cookbook with me whic would it be?” cookbook! I must go look up that Yule bread – sounds very yum.

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