Bara Brith (or ‘speckled bread’) is a Welsh tea-time treat, with recipes differing between regions. Allegedly, the fruit-loaf became popular when Welsh families lit their stove once a week for baking, adding currants to the left-over bread dough as the stove cooled. Some liked to coat the loaf in honey after baking, for an extravagant tea-time treat.
I’ve been meaning to make Bara Brith for some time, so I finally gave it a go using a recipe by Mary Hamilton, who featured on BBC Two’s Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best series.
450g/lb dried mixed fruit
250g/9oz brown sugar
300ml/½ pint warm, strained black tea
2 tsp mixed spice
450g/1lb self-raising flour
1 free-range egg, beaten
1) Soak the fruit and sugar in the tea overnight.
2) The next day, preheat the oven to 170ºC/325F/Gas 3, and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking parchment (or butter – worked well for me).
3) Mix the remaining ingredients into the fruit mixture and beat well, before pouring the mixture into the loaf tin.
4) Bake in the oven for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.