Yeasted Bara Brith

 Welcome to another step-by-step recipe from BreadClub20. Why not drop by our main Facebook page by clicking here.... If you like what you see and enjoy the recipe, we hope you go on to join us by 'Liking' and 'Subscribing'.

Search for a recipe for Bara Brith and you'll be bombarded with recipes for a fairly rich fruit cake.

In fact, over at the BreadClub20 library of recipes at 

you'll find a recipe for Bara Brith - the Cake! It's an old recipe from a small village in the North of Wales.

But, today, we're talking about Bara Brith - the Loaf. It was very much the forerunner of the cake that is served, slathered in butter, at many a tea-table wherever the Welsh gather. Whether that's in the homeland of Wales or far away across the world in Patagonia, where it's known as Torte Negra.

Bara is Welsh for 'bread' and brith is Welsh for 'speckled'. Speckled Bread. Its origins date back centuries and it's more than a fair bet that it started life as a loaf - probably being naturally fermented like sourdough and became a cake with the etiquette of the tea-table. It's even a colloquialism these days - , to 'over spice the bara brith' means to do something to excess. 

Like their Celtic cousins, the Irish have their own version, the bairín breac, 'speckled bread', and known in English as barmbrack. 

The 'cake' is invariably soaked in strong tea and then made with eggs, fruit, flour, spices and sugar. It's then baked as one would bake a cake and served cold, usually with afternoon tea and with a generous spread of butter. 

The 'loaf' is different. 

So, where is this recipe from? Well, I started with the cake and also researching old Welsh cookery books. Many ask for quite heavy flours and usually lots of full-fat milk. Both produce a rather dense bread. I wanted something a little lighter that would be as good sliced with butter as it would be for toast the following morning. 


300 gms strong white bread flour

250 gms wholemeal bread flour

8 gms of crushed sea salt

7 gms instant yeast

75 gms unsalted butter

50 gms of the darkest sugar you have. 

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinammon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

150 gms dried mixed fruit

360 gms skimmed milk and water at 50/50 and at room temperature

And for the glaze? 

40 gms caster sugar

40 gms water


Add the flours, the yeast and the spices to a large bowl and mix well. 

Add the sugar and the salt and mix well

Gently melt the butter in the milk and water mixture and add to the dry ingredients

Mix until you have a soft, sticky mix.

Cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes. 

With a wet hand, stretch and fold until the dough stiffens up and looks like it might tear. 

Cover and leave for fifteen minutes. 

Repeat the stretch and fold for a second time. 

Cover and leave for fifteen minutes

Repeat the stretch and fold for a third time.

Cover and leave it in a warm place until it has doubled in size

Tip it out onto a lightly floured board and stretch it into a rectangle. 

Spread out the fruit and then work it into the dough until it is evenly distributed. 

Grease a 2lb loaf tin

Stretch the dough out again into a rectangle with one side being more or less the same length as the loaf tin. 

Roll the dough up, pressing down as you go to produce a seam 

Place the dough in the loaf tin, cover and return to a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size. 

Preheat the oven to 200⁰C

Mist the inside of the oven. 

Bake for 15 minutes at 200⁰C and then reduce the heat to 180⁰C. Continue to bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the bread is golden brown and hollow when tapped on the underneath. 

Make the glaze by warming the sugar in the water until dissolved. 

As soon as the bread is out of the oven, brush the glaze over the bread and then leave to cool on a rack. 

Happy baking....

Recipes were closely guarded secrets - known only within families 


Popular Posts