Monday, September 30, 2013

Bara Brith (Welsh Tea Bread)

Ok, I know that this might look like regular old tea bread, but this bread is fabulous! I came across this recipe in a British food magazine and I was going to make it right away. But then I noticed that it called for a 900 gram loaf pan. I had to do my research to figure out what size this was and it’s a 10” x 5” or a 10-1/2” x 5-1/2” pan. I’ve got many loaf pans, but not that size. I figured I would just make do with what I had, but I open another cookbook that I got last Christmas and it also called for this size pan. I couldn’t find it right away, but luckily I stumbled on one at the store. I was really excited!

You start out by soaking dried fruit in hot tea and sugar overnight. I used raisins, dried cranberries and dried cherries. I made the tea with two tea bags so it would be nice and strong. The next day I mixed it up in a mixer bowl and it was in the oven in a matter of minutes. If you don’t have the right sized pan, you could always use a smaller loaf pan and not use all of the batter, or use two pans. The baking time would be different though.

This smelled lovely while baking. Make sure that you don’t skip the step of lining the pan with parchment paper; this made the removal from the pan easy. Sliced, this loaf is studded with fruit, and it isn’t dry at all, like loaves sometimes are. The bread itself isn’t sweet, but the dried fruit adds little bursts of sweetness. This loaf also keeps fresh longer than traditional home baked loaves, which is a nice bonus!

 Bara Brith (Welsh Tea Bread)
11 ounces (1-3/4 cups) dried fruit (your choice)
7 ounces (1 cup) brown sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
9 fluid ounces hot black tea
12 ounces (2-3/4 cups) self-rising flour*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon mace
1 egg, beaten
3-1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

In a medium sized bowl, combine the dried fruit, brown sugar, lemon zest and hot tea. Stir and allow to soak overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10” x 5” loaf pan with cooking spray and cut a strip of parchment paper to line the bottom and up and over the narrow sides of the pan. This will make the loaf easier to remove from the pan once baked.

In a large bowl, stir together the self-rising flour and the spices. Add the dried fruit and the soaking mixture and stir to combine. The mixture will be thick. Stir in the beaten egg and then the softened butter. Stir the thick batter until well combined.

Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a thin knife inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes; remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into slices when completely cool.

Recipe from BBC Good Food

*I make my own self-rising flour by combining 4 cups of flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt

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