Bara Brith

Although traditionally a Welsh recipe in the UK, variants of this rich fruit loaf are common to most Celtic countries. The recipe for bara brith (which means speckled bread) varies from cook to cook and town to town, throughout Wales. Some recipes include treacle or honey others include different spices or require that the fruit be soaked overnight in tea. For instance, in Glamorgan a similar long fruit loaf is made using currants and spices such as nutmeg.

The following recipe makes 3 x 1 lb (450 g) loaves.

Ingredients for Bara Brith

  • enough fresh (or dried) yeast to raise 3 lb flour.
  • 12 oz (350 g) of lard or butter (or a mix of both)
  • 3 lb (1.4 kg) plain flour
  • 12 oz (350 g) of brown sugar
  • 1 lb (450 g) currants
  • 4 oz (110 g) candied peel
  • 1 lb (450 g) raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium eggs

How to Make Bara Brith

  1. Mix the yeast with a little warm milk (or as per packet instructions).
  2. Rub the fat (lard or butter) into the flour.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except for the eggs and yeast and mix well.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the yeast and eggs and mix to form a soft dough.
  5. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, until it has risen to twice its size.
  6. Prepare three greased 1 lb loaf tins and keep in a warm place until ready.
  7. Using a floured board, divide the dough into three and fill each loaf tin and stand again in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Bake the cakes for 20 minutes, then turn down to 180°C and cook for a further 40 minutes.
  9. Turn out onto wire racks to cool and glaze with honey.

Serving Suggestions

sliced and buttered bara brith

Once the cakes have cooled, cut into thin slices and serve with lashings of fresh butter.

Other recipes to try: Lincolnshire Plum Loaf | Saffron Cake | Recipe Index

Recipe - South Wales Traditional

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