Bara brith is a traditional Welsh tea bread flavored with tea, dried fruits, and spices. Often served sliced with a spread of butter. Perfect as a tea-time snack.

Bara brith is a traditional Welsh tea bread flavored with tea, dried fruits and spices. Often served sliced with a spread of butter. Perfect as a tea time snack.

For those of you who are familiar with Bara Brith, you may have come across our recipe while searching the internet to find a traditional recipe so you can make this.

You may also, whilst searching have come across several variations of a bara brith recipe.

As you'll know, many old family recipes will vary slightly from region to region, but in the main, it is the same, and a bara brith is a Welsh version of a fruit tea loaf.

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What is bara brith?

Translated from Welsh, bara means 'loaf' and brith means 'speckled' or 'mottled' which will come from the currants or raisins giving the appearance of a speckled loaf.

What goes in a bara brith?

Traditional bara brith doesn't contain any fat in the recipe and often will have very little or no sugar. Once rationing finished after the war, sugar became readily available and made its way back into many recipes.

This recipe has sugar, however, you can make it without. Some people like to eat this simply with a spread of butter and a piece of cheese.

At the end of the recipe, I've added a few variations for you to try out, using different fruits and also adding nuts if you wish to.

Bara brith is a traditional Welsh tea bread flavored with tea, dried fruits and spices. Often served sliced with a spread of butter. Perfect as a tea time snack.

Where does this bara brith recipe originate from?

This is one of my grandmother's (AKA 'Mam') recipes, which has been passed down through her children and down to their children. You can check out some of Mam's other Welsh recipes on Lovefoodies, and they're so popular too!

My grandmother was born in 1901 and lived until 1992, having lived through 2 world wars and raising a large family, she became an expert at cooking and baking with any ingredients she had.

Many of you will have made Mam's famous Welsh Cake recipe, and have asked about my grandmother, so I thought it would be fitting to pay her tribute here by sharing a couple of photos.

Mam’s Bara Brith, mam and dad
Mam and Dad

My grandparents had 10 children so eating out was certainly not an option!

Mam’s Bara Brith, mam and dad with children
Mam and Dad with 7 of their 10 children (my father is on the far right wearing the checked shirt)

Serves 

2 loaves (20 slices)

Prep Time

15 minutes  

Cook Time

1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes

This recipe makes 2 loaves. If you only want one, simply halve the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • raisins
  • sultanas 
  • cold tea (I use 2 strong tea bags)
  • Brown Sugar
  • large eggs 
  • All Purpose / Plain flour
  • baking powder
  • golden syrup or honey
  • mixed spice

**You can use Self raising flour and leave out the baking powder if you have that available.

See the recipe card below for quantities.

Instructions

  1. Soak fruit in the tea and sugar overnight, and cover the bowl with a tea towel.
Mam’s Bara Brith, soaking fruits in tea

2. The next day, when you're ready to make the loaves, preheat the oven to 275F or 140C.

In a mixing bowl, transfer the soaked fruits, and add the beaten eggs, flour, syrup (or honey), and mixed spice.

The batter is quite stiff and thick, so don’t worry. As you keep mixing, everything will incorporate nicely.

Mam’s Bara Brith, showing batter consistency

3. Transfer the mixture into 2 greased and lined loaf pans.

Mam’s Bara Brith, transfer batter to loaf pans

Take a large spoon and using the back, gently push down the batter and spread so it is even in the baking pan.

Mam’s Bara Brith, use back of spoon to even batter in pan

4. Bake at 275 F or 140 C for 1hr 10 - 1 hr 20 minutes.

Mam’s Bara Brith, baked
Mam’s Bara Brith, 2 loaves baked

5. Cool the loaves on a wire rack,

Mam’s Bara Brith on cooling rack

then slice thinly and serve buttered alongside a nice cup of tea!

Bara brith is a traditional Welsh tea bread flavored with tea, dried fruits and spices. Often served sliced with a spread of butter. Perfect as a tea time snack.

Hint: The recipe from Mam says currants not raisins but I find them too bitty! I sometimes add a few chopped glacé cherries and walnuts for a variation. The photos you see here have walnuts added.

See this English Tea Loaf recipe on Lovefoodies for a variation! and our Traditional Welsh Cakes recipe from Mam too!

Bara brith is a traditional Welsh tea bread flavored with tea, dried fruits and spices. Often served sliced with a spread of butter. Perfect as a tea time snack.

Variations you can make to this traditional Bara Brith recipe

  • Different fruits - add a combination of other dried fruits such as cranberries, chopped dried cherries, dates etc. So long as you keep to the total quantity listed in the ingredients.
  • Add nuts - add some chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans. We suggest adding no more than 1 cup in quantity for this recipe.
  • Sweetness - This loaf isn't overly sweet, so if you have a particularly sweet tooth, add a couple of tablespoons of extra honey or syrup in addition to what is listed.

Equipment

This is a really simple recipe and requires a mixing bowl, a spoon, and 2 baking loaf pans. We suggest you line the loaf pans or use pan liners so the bara brith can release easily.

Storage

Bara Brith will keep fresh so long as you wrap them in plastic wrap or keep them in an air-tight container for around 3 days. It also freezes well too.

Top tip

For this recipe, we've used strong English tea bags, to keep the traditional flavor. However, feel free to experiment and use other flavor tea bags, such as Earl Grey or Assam tea.

We'd love to hear from you and what you thought of our recipe. Did you make any changes or add some other ingredients? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy cooking!

Recipe Card

Bara brith is a traditional Welsh tea bread flavored with tea, dried fruits and spices. Often served sliced with a spread of butter. Perfect as a tea time snack.

Mam’s Bara Brith

Yield: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Bara brith is a traditional Welsh tea bread flavored with tea, dried fruits and spices. Often served sliced with a spread of butter. Perfect as a tea time snack.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz or 220 g raisins
  • 8 oz or 220 g sultanas
  • 1 & ¼ cups or 300 ml of cold tea
  • 1 cup or 200g Brown Sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 & ½ cups or 440 g of All Purpose / Plain flour
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of golden syrup or honey
  • 2 tsp mixed spice

Instructions

      1. Soak fruit in the tea and sugar overnight, and cover the bowl with a tea towel.
      2. The next day, preheat the oven to 275F or 140C.
      3. In a mixing bowl, transfer the soaked fruits, and add the beaten eggs, flour, syrup (or honey), and mixed spice.
      4. Transfer the mixture into 2 greased and lined loaf pans.
      5. Take a large spoon and using the back, gently push down the batter and spread so it is even in the baking pan.
      6. Bake at 275 F or 140 C for 1hr 10 - 1 hr 20 minutes.
      7. Cool the loaves on a wire rack, then slice thinly and serve buttered

Notes

  • You can use 3 & ½ cups or 440g of Self raising flour and leave out the baking powder if you have that available.
  • This recipe from Mam says currants not raisins but I find them too bitty! I sometimes add a few chopped glacé 🍒. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 201Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 160mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 24gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate

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