Bara brith

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

Appears in

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South: The history of British Baking, savoury and sweet

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2020

  • About

Bara brith is a currant loaf from Wales and the name is Welsh for ‘speckled bread’. Just like with an Irish Barmbrack or Tea loaf (the modern version of Bara brith), the raisins are soaked in tea overnight before being used.

The Bara brith is so important to the Welsh people that they took it to the Chubut Valley of Patagonia in Argentina, where Welsh pioneers arrived with their ships more than 150 years ago. Today there are still many tearooms in the area that serve Bara brith and although the main language is Spanish, the Welsh language still lives on there.

This recipe is based on one from a book from the 1940s, Traditional Fare of England and Wales. It makes a very compact bread that looks more like a cake. For a lighter version you can make Tea loaf or Fruit loaf.

Ingredients

For 6-10 people

  • 110 g ( oz) currants
  • 110 g ( oz) raisins
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz) hot black tea or Earl Grey tea
  • 85 g (3 oz) lard or butter, at room temperature
  • 330 g (11½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 85 g (3 oz) white sugar or golden syrup
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 25 g (1 oz) egg (or ½ egg)
  • 11 g (¼ oz) dried yeast
  • 25 g (1 oz) candied citrus peel
  • butter, for greasing
  • flour, for dusting

Method

For a loaf tin (900 g/2 lb)

Soak the currants and raisins in the hot tea overnight.

Rub the lard or butter into the flour, sugar, mixed spice and salt. Add the egg, currants, raisins and tea, followed by the yeast and candied peel. Knead for 5 minutes.

Cover the dough and set aside for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Prepare the loaf tin. Place the risen dough in the tin and set aside to rise again for 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F) towards the end of the rising time.

Reduce the oven to 150°C (300°F). Bake the loaf in the lower part of the oven for 1½ hours.

Serve the loaf with butter.