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Bara Brith or

An indulgent and heavenly tasting traditional fruit bread from my homeland that, for me, evokes that sense of “hiraeth”.

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Ingredients

 

  • Dried mixed fruit - 350g
  • Strong hot tea with one or two spoons of sugar to taste - 300 mls
  • Strong white flour - 450g
  • Mixed spice - 1-2 tsp to taste
  • Dried active yeast - 7g
  • Salt - 5-10g to taste
  • Sugar - 50g
  • Milk - 225 mls
  • Butter (or margarine) cut into small pieces and allowed to come to room temperature - 75 g
  • Free range egg - 1
  • Clear honey or thick sugar syrup

 


Method


I know some people love hand mixing and kneading but I’m quite happy using a stand mixer with a flat beater and dough hook. It’s up to you - adapt the method as necessary. This recipe gives enough dough for a 2lb/900g tin (21 x 11 x 7 cms)

  1. Put the dried mixed fruit in a bowl, poor over the hot tea and allow to soak for 6 hours
  2. Warm the milk and stir in the sugar and salt until it’s all dissolved.
  3. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the butter (or margarine). Use either your fingers to rub the fat and flour together or a flat beater on your mixer, until you reach the texture of breadcrumbs. Use a slow speed initially to avoid dusting the kitchen with flour, then turn the speed up a notch or two.
  4. Mix in the yeast and mixed spice.
  5. Remove the beater, clean off any mixture back into the bowl and attach the dough hook.
  6. Beat the egg and pour it into the mix.
  7. Add the milk/sugar/salt making sure it isn’t too hot for the yeast.
  8. On a slow speed, mix until the dough starts to combine. It will initially be quite slack and sticky.
  9. Once everything is combined, turn up the speed to medium and knead for about 10 mins. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice but the mixture will form into a nice smooth and elastic dough.
  10. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour or so, until it has doubled in size.
  11. Using a scraper, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock it down a little before kneading in tea soaked mixed fruit.
  12. Keeping in mind the size of your loaf tin, work the dough into a rectangle then fold it into thirds.
  13. Using your thumbs a, press down the folds on the nearside edge to seal.
  14. Again, using your thumbs, push down the opposite edge to seal, pushing it slightly away from you before rolling it back towards yourself until the back edge is rolled under. Repeat three or four times, until all the dough is rolled into a cylinder with a nice straight seam.
  15. Oil/grease the loaf tin or use a liner and place the dough, seam side down in it. Pop a piece of oiled/greased cling film over the top and leave in a warm place for around half an hour or until the dough has risen to give a raised crown above the top of the tin.
  16. While the dough is proving, preheat the oven - 190 C in conventional, 170 C fan.
  17. When the dough is ready (it should spring back when gently pressed with a finger), place the tin in the middle of the oven.
  18. After 20 - 25 minutes, cover with foil to prevent the top caramelising/burning and return to the oven for another 25 - 30 mins (you know your own ovens, timings may vary).
  19. Just like a loaf of bread, when done the bottom of the bara brith will sound hollow when knocked. Turn it out onto a cooling rack and brush the top with honey or syrup to glaze if required.

Notes:
You can leave the fruit soaking for longer or substitute some of the milk with the tea if you want a stronger tea flavour but don’t forget to adjust the salt accordingly.
If you want to use fresh yeast you’ll need about 17.5g. Add the salt to the flour, NOT the milk. Crumble the yeast into the warm milk with some of the sugar to prove it for 10 minutes, then dissolve in the rest of the sugar before adding it to the dough mixture.

Added by: slickfingers


Tags: Bread fruit

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