Bara Brith

Saturday 22 January 2011

As you all must know by now, I live in Chester, which is right on the doorstep of Wales. In fact, the Welsh border is but a five minute walk from my home. I love that, coz I love Wales!! It's beautiful, quaint and very rustically rural in many places.

When we lived in Kent and wanted to go to the seaside we would go to either Hastings or Eastbourned and we loved them. Up here we like to go to Prestatyn, which is not as big as the more popular seasides, but again . . . it's not as crowded either. Down in Kent I would have opted for chips or ice cream as a seaside treat . . . but here in Wales, it's Bara Brith . . . EVERY time!

Also known as "Speckled Bread," Bara Brith can either be a yeast bread enriched with dried fruit or something like a quick bread/cake made with self-rising flour. Traditionally using vine fruits and candied peel, it involves soaking the fruit mixture overnight in hot tea. I generally always opt for the quick bread/cake one as it stores a lot longer, whereas the yeast version needs to be eaten pretty much right away.

This particular version is very low in fat as well, as there is no butter involved at all in it's creation . . .which leaves one free to totally indulge in spreading it with lots of cold butter when it's warm from the oven, or when it's cold for that matter, with a clear conscience!!

Bara Brith and a hot cup of tea, herbal or otherwise. It's a good thing.

*Bara Brith*
Makes one 2 pound loaf
Printable Recipe

The quick bread version of a traditional Welsh cake using whole wheat flour, vine fruits, chopped peel and soft brown sugar. Low in fat, high in pleasure. Eat sliced and spread with softened butter. Delicious! Plan ahead as the fruit needs to soak overnight.

4 ounces dried currents (1 scant cup)
2 ounces raisins (1 scant half cup)
2 ounces chopped mixed peel (1/3 cup)
(chop your own)
400ml of hot strong tea (1 3/4 cup approx.)
12 ounces self raising whole wheat flour (3 cups)
4 ounces of soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp mixed spice ( a blend of sweet spices, see column on right side of page)

Weight your fruit out and place it into a bowl. Cover with the hot tea and leave to sit overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 5. Butter a 2 pound loaf tin and line with baking paper. Butter the paper.

Whisk together the flour, brown sugar and mixed spice in a bowl. Drain the fruit, reserving the soaking juices. Stir this into the flour mixture to coat. Add the beaten egg and enough of the soaking liquid to make a soft batter. Spread into the prepared pan, evening off the top.

Bake for 45 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool for ten minutes in the pan before removing to finish cooling completely. Store in an airtight container.


  1. I read once about bara brith and always wanted to know what it was. Now thanks to you, I know. It looks like a delicious afternoon treat.

  2. What a wonderful treat for breakfast, toasted with lots of butter. Your Bread Omelet is wonderful!

  3. Oh gosh Marie I can hardly believe my eyes - VERY LOW IN FAT! MOTH's downward moving cholesterol levels thank you.
    Millie x

  4. I've not had Bara Brith since I lived in Chester!! Might need to whip me up a batch ;0)

  5. mmmmm, that looks delicious !! i moved to Wales from London about 8 years ago and i love Wales too :)

  6. I had never heard of this.. verry interesting:) You must love your seashore visits..You sound very happy where you are..So nice!

  7. I agree with you about is stunningly beautiful in a rugged sort of way. My daughter and I toured England and Wales two years ago and just loved both countries:)
    I have made Bara Brith before as we studied countries around the world and found out that was Welsh.
    Thank you for all your amazing recipes!
    Joanne at Seasonal Hearth

  8. I seem to remember my big grandma's Bread pudding recipe was similar to this only much more calorific. It was made in a huge roasting tin and its crispy top dredged in sugar before eating it cut into large squares.

  9. There is something about buttered fruit bread that makes my mouth water, looks divine!

  10. I just recently found your blog and an enjoying it. This bread does look very good.

  11. I have never heard of this, but will have to ask my British relatives about it! looks scrumptious and perfect with a spot of tea!

  12. Sounds delish and you make it look easy! Looking forward to more English treat

  13. My birth father was Hurley Burton Hughes, Jr. - that is Welsh so I am very interested! Thanks so much.


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