Irish Barmbrack (Fruit Bread)
If ever there was an OMGosh sweet bread slash fruit cake, then this traditional Irish Barmbrack (Fruit Bread) would deservedly hold that name! Don’t wait for an Irish holiday to roll around and enjoy this amazing bread. It will fill your house with an aroma so tantalizing that everyone that smells it will eagerly await the chime of the oven timer!
I don’t know how or why I let my memory occasionally lapse on just how much I (and everyone else that ever tries it) really enjoy this fantastic traditional Irish fruit bread! I have loved making and buttering up this bread since I first saw a recipe from Mary Berry, a lady that I adore and am unashamedly an avid fan girl of!
Sticking with the traditional roots of this bread, we make our Irish Barm Brack without yeast. While many types of fruit are used, the most common are sultanas (or golden raisins), raisins, currants, cherries and cranberries. Your average raisin is my least favorite to use in this bread, as all of the others tend to absorb the tea better and result in the best flavor. We will be using the golden raisins in our tea brack today, along with dried cranberry and cherry.
Traditional Irish Barmbrack (without yeast) is Ireland’s favorite fruit cake with a long and interesting history behind it! Brack has been made for Irish holidays such as Halloween (and originating from the Celtic harvest celebration of Samhain) where the bread was called báirín breac, meaning speckled bread. This name referred to the dotted appearance of the bread with all of the chunks of dried fruit.
New Year’s, where bits of the Irish Barm Brack were thrown at the back door of homes to ward off poverty in the coming year, and most recently, is still lovingly baked in homes everywhere for St. Patrick’s Day! Such an easy and fantastic bread needs no excuse, and we hope that you and yours enjoy this sweet bread as much as we do!!
Last Updated : March 5th, 2018
Our traditional Irish Barmbrack (Fruit Bread) is speckled with delicious bits of dried fruit, that has been soaked in tea overnight! This addictive bread is super easy to make, and sure to be a new favorite!!
- 1 cup tea (cold, strong brewed - we use Tazo Wild Orange)
- 3/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup candied orange peel (or the zest of 1 whole large orange)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 2 cups self rising flour (1 cup self rising flour equal to 1 cup all-purpose flour w/1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line a loaf pan with parchment paper that has been greased.
In a bowl, combine the dark steeped tea with dried fruits and candied peel (or orange zest), cover with cling film, and allow to soak refrigerated overnight.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the tea and fruit with egg, spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg) and brown sugar. Stir to combine thoroughly, then add all of the self rising flour.
Mix until all of the flour is incorporated into a wet dough, then transfer the dough into your loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour then check the color of your baked bread (if it is getting too dark, cover with aluminum foil to keep from browning too deeply).
Your bread should be fully baked between 1 hour and 15-30 minutes (mine is typically done at 75-80 minutes). *Baking times can vary based on the size of your loaf pan, oven temperatures, or if you baked a shaped or round loaf on a baking sheet.