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Friday 18 February 2011

Baking for Beginners: Bara Brith

'Bara' and 'brith' are pretty much the only Welsh words I can pronounce with any certainty of getting correct, and as such, this humble fruit loaf quickly became a favourite of mine. In Welsh, 'bara' means bread and 'brith' means speckled - how good is that, I'm practically fluent in Welsh!

It's more of a fruit loaf than a fruit cake, and you can make a proper yeasty bread version of it. I find that the self-raising flour is just a lot easier. Word on the street is that it's only called Bara Brith in the North of Wales, and in the South it's called something totally different - but there's only so much Welsh I can handle before my brain shorts a fuse.

I wholeheartedly recommend thickly slicing and covering with lashings of butter. Oh and accompanied by a hot cup o’ tea. Delish.

You Will Need:
  • 2 tea bags
  • 330ml boiling water
  • 225g mixed dried fruit
  • 170g self-raising white flour
  • 170g self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 55g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
Make it!
  • In a heatproof jug, pour the boiling water over the tea, then add dried fruit. Cover and leave to soak overnight (gah I hate overnight recipes too but it really makes a difference - trust me)
  • The next day, preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a loaf tin
  • Sift flours, baking powder and the mixed spice together, then add the sugar
  • Pour in the soaked fruit with the liquid and add the egg. Stir in dry ingredients. The mixture should be soft enough to fall off the spoon, but if not, add a couple of extra teaspoons of water
  • Spoon the mixture into your loaf tin and bake for approximately 1hr and 15mins. It should be well risen and firm. If it’s becoming too brown, cover loosely with foil for the last 20 mins or so
  • Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 mins, (that’s all I can wait for) and then turn out on a wire rack.
  • Cut a slice to ‘check’ if it’s poisonous
I like the fact that this is a really traditional Welsh recipe, but it is actually tasty. Not just pretending to be. It’s like a delicious butter-covered escape to green hills and quite a bit of wet weather. Lovely.

Flickr image from jensteele’s photostream


  1. We call it Bara Brith in the south too - but for us 'hwntws', bara brith is a fruit cake rather than a fruited loaf. Love both types though!

  2. Has to be sliced, toasted and buttered for top noshness! Blasus iawn! We 'gogs' have the fruit cake variety too, that's the one my mam and gran make most often.

  3. I have to say my Bara Brith is a lot more rich looking than this. Nice with a dished o te (that's Llanelli for cup of tea).

  4. Nom nom nom nom nom.
    That is all.


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