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Bara Brith in sunny February
Bara Brith in sunny February

Whether your Bara Brith is tea-soaked the North or on-the-side in the South, there is no denying that this simply, sweet cake-bread is thoroughly Welsh. Spread throughout the world by various groups of Welsh settlers, it is renowned Welsh bread and a quintessential foodie element of St. David’s Day.

As the fruits need to soak over night, allow two days to make the perfect Bara Brith Loaf.

Ingredients Equipment
*300g Raisins and Sultanas Mixing Bowls
*Black Tea Grease Proof Paper
*100g Butter Pan
3 big spoon-heaps Marmalade Sieve
2 eggs Baking tin
*450g white flour Various Jugs
*180g brown sugar
* 2 heaped spoons cinnamon
*Fresh Ginger
* 4 tps Milk
Sugar Cubes
*Purchased at Masala Bazaar

In a large mixing bowl, pour all the dried fruit in and add a tea spoon of dinnamon. In a separate jug allow tea to stew until thick and black. Pour the stewed tea over the fruit and stir until the cinnamon dissolves. Cover and refrigerate over night.

The following morning…

Grease a loaf tin with butter, line with greaseproof paper and set aside ready to receive the dough. Switch the oven to 180ºC and allow to pre-heat.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the heaped spoons of marmalade until a paste forms. Take off the heat and cool before beating in the eggs.

Chop the fresh ginger and crush in with the cinnamon, set aside.

Remove the soaking fruit from the fridge and drain the tea, but allow any excess to remain in the bowl – this will make the bread fragrent and moist. The fruit will have swollen up to double the size and will be extremely pungent.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, spices and once nicely mixed, add the butter and marmalade paste, before finally splashing in the excess tea and swollen fruit.

The dough will feel stiff and sticky and may fall heavily from the spoon. Bursts of milk will help to loosen, but try not to be put off by the dough’s appearance. The stickiness translates into a light but saturated bread.

Spoon the dough into the loaf tin and smooth over once full. Pop the dough into the oven and bake for 1hr 30 mins. Check the load with a skewer every ten minutes after the hour mark, the loaf is cooked once the skewer leaves the loaf clean. If the outside turns a golden brown, but the skewer stays sticky, cover the loaf with tin foil. Once out of the oven leave to cool.

Our Bara Brith only improved with age; the sweetness of the fruit had intensified and the outside had become slightly crumbly.

Serve with salted butter and in generous slices… perfect for lunching with the ladies, or an energy boost after a rousing  game of rugby.