Bara Brith is a popular spiced tea loaf in Wales and means 'speckled bread'. The speckled part comes from the raisins which are scattered throughout the bread, which would have been made traditionally from leftover bread dough. To make the dough more of a sweet than a savoury, mixed spice is added, and the raisins are soaked in tea to plump them up and make the bread moist. Modern day Bara Brith recipes don't use yeast, making the loaf a lot quicker to make.
The first thing to do when making Bara Brith is to put the kettle on and make a strong cup of tea, but not for yourself!
- 225g mixed dried fruit
- 225ml hot strong tea, strained
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1tbsp mixed spice
- 25g butter
- 100g brown sugar
- 1 egg
1. Soak the fruit in the hot strong tea for at least an hour to plump up the raisins (this process can be sped up by microwaving it for 2 minutes). I added the mixed spice at this point to infuse it into the tea, traditionally it is added in with the flour.
2. Preheat the oven to 180degreesC/350degreesC/gas mark 4. Grease and line a loaf tin, or use a silicon baking 'tin' instead, far easier.
3. Sift the flour (and the mixed spice) into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix into a breadcrumb consistency.
4. Stir in the sugar, then add the fruit and its liquid along with the beaten egg. Stir well to make a mixture with a soft consistency.
5. Transfer to the baking tin and put into the preheated oven for about an hour or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
6. Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
7. Serve the Bara Brith sliced and buttered.