My first fruit loaf finally departed the bread bin (well it hadn't quite actually but I felt I should have an immediate replacement) and like a good wine, I reckon it had improved with age particularly after a brief exposure to the inside of the toaster.
My first aim was to improve the distribution of fruit and hopefully to get a better oven spring and less splitting of the loaf. So, following the advice of one of my references, I steeped the fruit in warm (40C) water for 10 minutes and then drained into a sieve in which it sat covered for the night.
The other significant variation was that I started the fruit addition with the first of the stretch and folds rather than incorporating it just before shaping as I did last time. The second stretch and fold was a little disconcerting as it seemed as if the fruit was all going to fall out all over the bench but a gathering up of the spillage and replacing it inside the folds managed to keep is pretty much where it was supposed to be. It was also quite surprising how much 'hydration' the fruit carried despite the overnight draining. By the third S&F there was every evidence that any further losses would be, at worst, minor. And so it proved to be.
Given that this was a through the day job, I decided to bake in the evening rather than give a retardation in the fridge - and besides, I had an appointment to play golf in the morning anyway.
I think you would agree that the fruit distribution is much improved. Unfortunately, the loaf still split and the texture was still fairly dense (not that I am complaining really). Perhaps this is just the character of this type of loaf.
As they say in the classics - if at first you don't succeed!