Bara Brith

Sarah says: Bara Brith translates as ‘speckled bread’ and there probably nearly are as many different versions are there are Welsh people. Two major groups exist though, those that use baking powder as a riser (traditional in South Wales) and those who use yeast (more usual in the North). So I give you two recipes:

Bara Brith Recipe 1

This is my kids' favourite, more of a cake and very child-friendly to make.

Bara Brith recipe 1

Ingredients:

12oz self raising flour
4oz light muscavado sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 egg
4oz salted butter
14oz dried fruit (you can use any fruit you have in, this is a wonderful recipe for finishing off all those bottoms of bags - just chop any large pieces)
½ pint of hot strong black tea
milk – optional

Method:

Put the fruit into a large bowl and cover with the tea. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave at least overnight.

Sieve the flour, spices and sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and egg and mix until you have a thick paste. Tip in the fruit and the liquid, mix until you have a dropping consistency (add a drop of milk if necessary).

Pour into a greased 2lb loaf tin and bake for about 40mins at 180C, gas mark 4. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out.

Delicious warm, spread with salted butter!

Bara Brith Recipe 2

This is my favourite, more of a bread and closer to the toasted versions I ate in teashops in my youth. Traditionalists will have a fit as I use dried yeast and tea but it produces a lovely result, particularly nice toasted. You can make this in a bread maker but we like the messiness and the stress relief of doing it by hand!

Bara Brith recipe 2

Ingredients:

12oz strong white bread flour
2oz light muscavado sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 sachet (about 5g) dried yeast
1 cup hand-hot water
1oz salted butter
14oz dried fruit (you can use any fruit you have in, this is a wonderful recipe for finishing off all those bottoms of bags, just chop any large pieces)
½ pint of hot strong black tea

Put the fruit into a large bowl and cover with the tea. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave at least overnight.

Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter.

Add the yeast, spices and sugar and mix. Make a well in the middle and bit by bit add the water, mixing until you have an elastic dough.

Kneed the dough for about 10 minutes (or as long as little arms can stand). Cover with cling-film and pop in a warm place for a couple of hours until the dough has doubled in size.

Drain your fruit really well. Kneed the fruit into your dough (you may need to add more flour).

Pop the dough into a greased 2lb loaf tin and then leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 30mins at 180C, gas mark 4.

Delicious warm or toasted, spread with salted butter.

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