Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bara Brith

This recipe is from my Aunt Diane, who lives in England, close to Wales. I will convert the measurements to US measurements soon...

(Bara Brith means speckled bread in Welsh)
450g strong plain flour
4 level teaspoons dried yeast
225ml milk
50g brown sugar plus 1 teaspoon
1 level teaspoon salt (I'd miss this out, try to keep salt out of my diet)
75g butter or margarine
1 size 2 egg (large)
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
350g mixed dried fruit
a 2lb (900g) loaf tin well greased
First warm the milk in a small saucepan till it's hand hot, and then pour into a bowl. Whisk in 1 teaspoon of sugar, followed by the yeast, then leave aside in a warm place to froth for about 15 minutes. Now, sift the flour and salt if used into a large mixing bowl and stir in the rest of the sugar.
Then rub the fat into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the mixed spice, pour in the beated egg and frothed yeast and mix to a dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic (about 10 mins) and put back in bowl, cover with clingfilm or a cloth. Leave in a warm place to double in size - about one and a half hours.
After that ,turn the dough out and knock it down to get the air out, then gradually knead the fruit in and pat out to a rectangular shape. Roll it up from one short side to the other and put in the loaf tin (seam side down). Place the tin inside an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise, until the dough has rounded nicely above the edge of the tin (about 30 - 45 mins). Meanwhile preheat the oven to gas mark 5 (375 F) (190 C).
When the dough has risen and springs back when pressed lightly with a floured finger, remove the polythene bag and transfer the loaf to the oven and bake on the shelf below centre for 30 minutes, Then cover the top of the loaf tin with foil to prevent it overbrowning, and continue to bake for a further 30 mins. Turn the loaf out, holding it in a teacloth in one hand and tapping the base with the other. It should sound hollow - if not pop it back withour the tin for a further 5 mins. Cool the loaf on a wire rack and brush the top with clear honey, to make it nice and sticky, before the loaf cools. Slice thinly and serve buttered.

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