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Guernsey Gâche

Guernsey Gâche (pronounced “Gosh”) is a traditional fruit loaf. The perfect teatime treat or toasted for breakfast.

I’m a little late with my first post for 2016. Christmas holidays spent with our family in Guernsey have certainly whizzed by, even allowing for the additional days courtesy of prolonged storms. High winds, a six metre swell, a damaged ferry and three crossings cancelled certainly contributed to a memorable holiday. Even when we did manage to “escape” the Channel Islands during a lull in the weather, the sea was still on the rough side and I feel so lucky not to suffer from sea sickness.

Whilst on Guernsey we managed to get plenty of beach walks, dodging the wettest of the weather on most occasions. My son and his wife thoroughly spoilt us with a delicious Christmas dinner and I really enjoyed having a rest from cooking on the big day – I was barred from the kitchen and I didn’t even do any of the dishes ! I don’t want to appear completely lazy though, so I would point out I made a nut roast and my Slow Cooker Onion Gravy on Christmas Eve to provide a vegetarian option for the next day.

Each time I visit Guernsey I pick up a Guernsey Gâche (pronounced “Gosh”). I love a slice of Gâche just as it is or toasted for breakfast, with plenty of Guernsey butter for an extra treat. Gâche is a traditional tea bread made from an enriched yeast dough and plenty of dried fruit; Guernsey butter and milk is used to make this rich tea bread but a full fat milk and a good quality butter can be substituted. Gâche means cake in Guernesiais.

We have so many fond memories of summers in Guernsey, particularly when our boys were young and we’d spend whole days on the island’s wonderful beaches; many a time our Guernsey friends and their children would join us as we “set up camp” for the day. More often than not, a feature of the day was tea from the beach cafe kiosk where real tea in a proper pot, along with cups and saucers, was available in a wooden basket to take onto the beach. A slice of Guernsey Gâche with local butter completed the late afternoon beachside teatime treat. Although the “Beach Baskets” are no longer available for afternoon tea, Guernsey Gâche remains a traditional local favourite.

For this post, I’ve stuck to a traditional Gâche recipe as my Gâche Melée with a twist caused a bit of a stir with some traditionalists. To redress the balance a little come next apple season, my friend and home grown Guern has entrusted me with her mum’s recipe for Gache Melee so watch this space.
In relation to traditonal and family recipes, Christmas day debate this year included whether or not it was acceptable to include carrots in a Bean Jar – I was relieved when the in-laws eventually concluded it was down to a matter of personal preference. Anyway, back to the Guernsey Gâche recipe.

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Guernsey Gâche
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Guernsey Gâche (pronounced “Gosh”) is a traditional tea bread made with an enriched yeast dough and plenty of dried fruit. The perfect teatime treat.
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Traditional Guernsey
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 500 g strong white bread flour
  • 175 g butter - preferably Guernsey Butter
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast (I used Doves Farm)
  • 300 ml milk or water warmed (I used milk)
  • 350 g sultanas
  • 75 g mixed peel
Instructions

If mixing and kneading your dough by hand:
  1. Combine all the dough ingredients except for the dried fruit in a large bowl, stirring them together until they form a ball.
  2. Knead by hand for 10 to 12 minutes before adding the fruit a little at a time until it is incorporated evenly into the dough.

If mixing and kneading your dough using a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook:
  1. Add all the dough ingredients except for the fruit into your mixer bowl.
  2. Mix on slow speed number 1 for approximately 1 to 2 minutes then on speed number 2 for 8 to 10 minutes. Your dough should be lovely and smooth and elastic.
  3. On slow speed add the sultanas and mixed peel a little at a time until incorporated into the dough.

Rest your dough:
  1. Place the dough in a greased large bowl and cover with cling film/plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin/pan and preheat your oven to 400°F / 220°C / Gas Mark 7
  3. Once the dough has doubled in size, knead lightly into a loaf shape and place into the tin.
  4. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size – this should take approximately 1 to 1½ hours in a warm place.
  5. Bake in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, after 30 minutes lower the temperature to 200°C for the remaining 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to fully cool. When you tap the base of the loaf with your fingers, it should sound hollow.
  6. Enjoy spread with butter, Guernsey butter if you can.
Notes
To make a nice light loaf, shape the dough into a rectangle with your fingers or a rolling pin; the width of you dough rectangle should be the length of your tin. Roll up the dough and seal the ends and along the seam using your fingers. Place the dough 'seam side' down in your tin.To make a nice light loaf, shape the dough into a rectangle with your fingers or a rolling pin; the width of you dough rectangle should be the length of your tin. Roll up the dough and seal the ends and along the seam using your fingers. Place the dough 'seam side' down in your tin.

 

 

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Guernsey Gâche (pronounced “Gosh”) is a traditional fruit loaf. The perfect teatime treat or toasted for breakfast.

I’m entering Guernsey Gâche into a couple of challenges this month:

And linking to: Fiesta Fridays co hosted this week by Sonal at Simply Vegetarian 777 and Petra at Food Eat Love.

 

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Millie

Thursday 3rd of June 2021

Thank you for this recipe! I tried a slice of toasted gâche with warm Guernsey butter when I first visited Guernsey in 2011 as my boyfriend, who I met at university in Bristol, is from Guernsey. It became a regular treat with a cup of tea either at home (bought from Senners bakery) or out at Cobo Tea Rooms or any of the beach kiosks (Moulin Huet being a firm favourite). I have now been living in Guernsey for 5 years and am not sure why I have only just thought to have a go at making it! Anyway, it has come out fantastically. Now that it's been tested, I will be making more to give to his grandparents (born and bred Guerns in their 80s!) If they like it, it'll be the ultimate compliment.

It only came out of the oven about 5 minutes ago and I've already had one slice toasted, one untoasted... Had to test both, right?

So thanks again for a great recipe. It took mine more like 1hr 15 and still a teeny bit doughy in the middle. I also think your instructions with the tin are a little confused... It goes in the tin at step 2, but then you say to grease and line a tin at step 4! I didn't line or grease as per step 2, and it was fine.

Hopefully you can make it to Guernsey again soon to see your family. Borders open again from 1st July. My parents are coming on the 2nd as I haven't seen them since Feb 2020!

À la perchoine Millie

Karen Bourgaize

Saturday 10th of July 2021

I use the bread maker, maybe not as Authentic but we have it regularly

Sarah James

Friday 4th of June 2021

You're most welcome Millie, it's a pleasure to share the recipe. I agree completely, you have to try toasted and untoasted! Thanks for letting me know about the instructions, I originally posted the recipe straight to my blog post but added a recipe card and I've had a few errors. I'm going through all my older posts and updating recipe card details and information. As regards to the baking time, ovens do vary but maybe it would be a good idea to turn the oven down after 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes and bake at the lower temperature for 30 minutes. We're booked on the Condor for early July and I can't wait, it's been two years since we've seen our family. A trip to Moulin Huet is definitely on the list and a walk along the beach from Grande Rocques to Cobo is too. I hope your boyfriend's grandparents like the gâche, do let me know how you get on. I'm a little bit nervous now about what they might say :-)

Dorothy

Sunday 16th of August 2020

This looks very nice - the Guernsey take on Welsh Bara Brith. Any hints on converting it for a bread machine? Severe arthritis in my fingers precludes me from kneading.

sarahj

Sunday 16th of August 2020

Thanks Dorothy, you could add all the ingredients except for the fruit and set your machine on the basic white programme. Add the fruit according to your bread maker manual which is usually at the beginning or middle of the second kneading cycle or when the machine bleeps. Alternatively, try adding all the ingredients and just use the bread machine for kneading, take the dough out and follow my recipe from there. Hope this helps and do let me know how you get on.

Robert Rosamond

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

Hi Sarah, has someone messed with your recipe? I made this yesterday and the liquid ratio was way out, had to put in 3 times as much and even then probably could have done with a bit more. Did turn out alright though after that and tastes good.

sarahj

Tuesday 4th of August 2020

Thanks so much for getting in touch Rosamond. You're right, I looked back at my post before I used my new printable recipe app and my original recipe stated 300 mls of milk. I've amended the recipe and so pleased you let me know. I'm so glad your Gache turned out for you.

Jo

Friday 23rd of March 2018

Born and bred in Alderney, now living in the uk and missing this delicious treat my mum used to make me, so decided to make some of my own! A bit of hunting and your recipe came up- easy to follow and smells just like mum’s!

sarahj

Saturday 28th of April 2018

Hi Jo, glad to hear you found our blog and you enjoyed making Gache. Even better to hear it smells just like your Mum's.

Lynne Curry

Monday 24th of April 2017

I would love nothing more for breakfast than a slice of this fruit bread toasted with pastured butter. So beautiful, too!

sarahj

Tuesday 25th of April 2017

Thanks Lynne, we love a slice of Gache for breakfast too :-)