Traditional Irish Barmbrack or Barnbrack
Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit loaf that is similar to Christmas fruitcake or
wedding cake. The fruit is tea soaked.
The name barnbrack or barmbrack originates from the Irish Gaelic word “bairín
breac” which means speckled loaf. It is usually made around Halloween at which
time one will often see Irish market shelves packed with this tasty, sweet bread.
Traditionally, each member of the household would get a slice of barmbrack.
Small items are hidden and baked into the bread. The items you find in your
piece, predict your future.
Old Irish traditions include a pea which means you will not marry soon; a coin
represents great wealth; a ring means a wedding is in your near future. A piece
of cloth represents hardship or hard work. A rainbow will bring you good luck.
Try this recipe and start creating your own traditions and celebratory events. Use
your imagination and include trinkets you choose turning them into barmbrack
treasures. Create your own predictions and family folklore and fun.
Celebrate a slice of life and all its occasions: love, luck and laughs
with a piece of this tasty treat.
Makes 2 loaves
1 tbsp dried yeast
1 ½ cup lukewarm water
2 oz + 1 extra tsp.sugar for yeast
1 Lb. all purpose/plain flour
2 oz butter
6 oz raisins
2 oz mixed candied peel
2 oz sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1. Soak the peel, raisins and candied fruit in your favourite black tea for 2
hours. Drain & squeeze out excess.
2. Preheat oven to 360 degrees F (175degrees C)
3. Place the yeast in the lukewarm water, add the tsp. of sugar, stir and
leave to one side.
4. Place the flour into a large baking bowl add the butter and salt.
5. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour to form sand-like crumbs.
Make sure to work quickly so to prevent the butter from becoming too
6. Add 2 oz. of sugar to the flour mixture and stir.
7. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the beaten eggs and
the yeast mixture. Work the mixture together to form a soft dough.
8. Knead the dough on a floured work surface for 10 minutes until smooth.
Place the dough back into the bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and
leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in
9. Place the dough on the worktop, divide in 2, knead each half for another
few minutes then form into a round approx. 7". Place on a greased baking
sheet and leave to rise for another hour.
10. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
I recommend to spread some whipped sweet butter or lemon marmalade on a
slice, pour yourself a cuppa tea, sit back and enjoy!