I always loved fruited breads like tea breads/cakes, fruit loafs, etc. Toast them lightly then slather with butter and scoff down with some Earl Grey tea - yum! So what better way to try making a fruited bread than baking the Irish Barm Brack. The timing is quite right, too. For it is also traditionally served during Halloween.
I first had Barm Brack when an Irish family friend gifted us with one. It was the dark variety but packed chock-a-block full of fruits. Oh wow, it was a great introduction to this wonderful tea-time bread.
Sue Lawrence's Book of Baking provided me with a workable recipe with the help of my trusted Panasonic bread machine.
500 g strong white flour (or bread flour)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground mixed spice
7 g sachet of easy-blend dried yeast
1 tsp fine sea salt
50 g [scant 1/4 cup] unsalted butter
50 g nbsp;[1/4 cup] caster sugar
150 g [1 cup] currants
50 g [1/3 cup] dried mixed peel
50 g [1/3 cup] sultanas
300 ml [1 1/4 cups] tepid milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp water
- Hand Method:
- Combine the flour, yeast, spices, and salt in a bowl. Rub in the butter.
- Stir in the sugar and dried fruits; then the milk.
- Once combined, turn out on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth.
- Place in an oiled bowl, invert dough so that the top is oiled. Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours.
- Bread Machine Method:
- Put all ingredients according to the bread machine instruction and set to dough setting.
- Butter a 20 cm/8 inch baking pan. Punch down dough and shape into a round to fit into the prepared pan. Cover with greased cling film and let rise in a warm place for another hour.
- Preheat oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Bake the bread for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F. Bake for a further 30-35 minutes. Cover loosely with foil in the last 15 minutes. It is cooked when it sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.
- While it is baking, make the glaze - boil the water in a small saucepan; add the sugar and cook on low heat until dissolved. Brush the syrup glaze on top of the bread and return to the oven for 2 minutes.
- Remove from baking pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.