Thursday, 26 February 2009

Bara brith

One of Wales's most famous specialities is bara brith, or 'speckled bread'. The speckles are dried fruit; the bread is a sweet tea bread. It supposedly originated when dried fruit was mixed into the last of the bread dough for a treat.

There are endless variations on the recipe, with each region having its own. One major difference is the use of either yeast (mainly in the north) or baking powder (in the south). Some versions call for mixed dried fruit, others sultanas, and the spices also vary. My family's recipe contains no butter and has the fruit soaking overnight in black tea, but others disagree. There's even controversy on how to eat it: although tradition apparently dictates otherwise, many people enjoy it spread with butter.

The teabread has a South American connection too. Welsh immigrants to Argentina brought the recipe with them, and it is still made there today although it has gained a Spanish name, torta negra.

6 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

Wonderful stuff. And it reminds me of the Lincolnshire fruit loaf, always referred to as 'plum bread' of my childhood.

Adam said...

Is that a photo of one you made earlier? Looks nice!

Laverbread is not so nice though!

CarolineLD said...

Yes, it is one I made myself! And I'd choose bara brith over laverbread too...

Peter Ashley said...

I can't even start to tell you what your fabulous pic. has done to me. Before I tuned into your blog I was contemplating a nice cup of tea with a big slice of cake. Only to find I'd RUN OUT. So I'm going to the pub instead. Have a good weekend!

Anonymous said...

Wow it looks wonderful - as they say good enough to eat and reminds me of the Bara Brith my aunt always makes for me when I visit Wales. She also makes me 'Welsh Cakes' I am feeling withdrawel symtoms.

CarolineLD said...

Welsh cakes are my favourite, but I can never make them very well myself - I haven't got the proper bakestone - so I rely on my mum. Hopefully she'll make plenty when I next visit!

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