Bara Brith

The Bara Brith Recipe is a sweet Welsh “speckled bread” is at its best eaten the same day it is made, ideally while still warm and spread with butter.

1 (¼oz/10g) package yeast
1 cup warm milk
¼ cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
1 small egg, plus a little more, beaten, for glazing
3 3⁄4 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and diced
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
oil, for greasing
1 1⁄2 cups (8oz) dried mixed fruit (raisins, golden raisins, and mixed citrus peel)

1 Whisk the yeast into the milk with 1 teaspoon of the sugar, cover with a towel, and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes until the mixture froths. Beat in the egg.

2 By hand, or in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, rub the flour, salt, and butter together until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the pumpkin pie spice and remaining sugar.

3 Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the milk mixture and bring it together with your hands to form a sticky dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for up to 10 minutes. (If using an electric mixer, change to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes.)

4 You should now have a soft, pliable dough. It should be quite sticky, but if it is not balling up into a single piece of dough, add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

5 Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it to rise in a warm place for 1½–2 hours until doubled in size. Turn out on to a lightly floured work surface and stretch it gently out to a sheet around 3⁄4in (2cm) thick.

6 Scatter the dried fruit over the dough and bring it together from the sides into the middle to form a ball again. Knead lightly for a couple of minutes until the fruit is well incorporated into the dough.

7 Shape the dough into your desired shape, or halve and put into the loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm place to rise for another 1½–2 hours, until again doubled in size.

8 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Brush the bread with a little egg wash and sprinkle it with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 25–30 minutes for loaf
pans, or 35–40 minutes for a large freeform loaf. Cover halfway through cooking time with foil if it browns too much.

9 The bread is done when it is golden brown and firm and the bottom is hollow when tapped. Leave to cool for a good 20 minutes before cutting, as it will continue to cook after being removed from the oven. Cutting too early causes the steam to escape and the loaf to harden. STORE The bread will keep in an airtight container for 2 days (see Baker’s Tip).

As with most breads, baking two loaves and freezing one of them makes good sense when there is lengthy rising. Leftover bread can be toasted for a couple of days after baking, or sliced and used in Bread and Butter Pudding

Bara Brith
Bara Brith 
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