This is a delicious Welsh spiced, fruity tea bread which I can remember having when I went to Wales as a child to visit my family, often at Christmas so this feels quite a festive treat to me. The fist time I made it was in Thailand a few years back, I took it to a party at a neighbour’s the British Ambassador and his Welsh wife were there and she checked whether I’d soaked the fruit in tea. Sometime later at an event where they were welcoming guests she remebered me and my Bara Brith. Food is so important in our memories!
So what do you need?
- 350g dried fruit (sultanas & raisins)
- 300ml of strong tea
- 2tbsp of marmalade
- 1-2 tsp of ground spices (cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 75g unsalted butter
- 450g strong plain flour (bread flour)
- 3tsp yeast powder
- A couple of tbsp of honey for glazing
So what do you do?
Put the fruit in a bowl / stainless steel saucepan with the marmalade and pour over the tea and leave to soak overnight. Then warm this a little and add the butter, spices and salt. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the yeast and the beaten egg. Next pour in the fruit mixture and mix everything together into a dough. Then kneed it for 5-10 mins on a floured work surface until it becomes mailable and smooth. Next cover with an oiled plastic bag and leave in a warm place to rise for about 90 mins. Then knock it back and form it into a loaf shape and put it in a greased loaf tin and cover with an oiled loaf tin and cover it with the oiled plastic bag and leave to rise for about 45 mins. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C / 375 F. Put the loaf in the oven (lower middle shelf) and cook for an hour, check after 30 mins and over with foil if it if browning on top too quickly. After an hour turn the loaf out of the tin, the bottom should have a hollow sound when tapped, if not pop it back in the oven, not in the tin, for a few more minutes. Then put it in n a wire rack to cool. While it’s warm ‘paint’ the top with honey to glaze it.
Enjoy warm with butter (and honey if you like) and a cup of tea. If it’s not all eaten when fresh it can also be toasted. Yummy!