Loaf 24: bara brith from Wales

So, The Great British Bake Off. What are your thoughts on it? Me, I instinctively avoid anything on TV that seems like it might be a dumbed-down version of something I love. So I dodged Bake Off right til series 4, when I found myself with an empty hour one evening. And now I’m in head over heels. It’s serious and silly in all the right ways, and I’ve learned a lot, laughed, and been inspired… Next time something like this comes along I shan’t be so stubborn.

Here, then, is Beca from series 4’s recipe for the Welsh tea cake bara brith. As you will know if you’ve seen the program, bara brith was first invented during the Industrial Revolution. Workers lived in close quarters and baked bread communally once a week, the bara brith loaf being made last out of the odds and ends of the dough. You should really look up the Argentinian version too, torta negra, because that’s a great story.

I haven’t tucked into my loaf yet, but it’s risen rather nicely other than some tearing that may indicate it’s a little underproved. The only thing I’d add to Beca’s recipe at the link above is that everything took rather longer to rise. Also, kneading the dough with the dried fruit in already is not to be recommended if you’re doing this by hand. I ended up with a scattering of currants at my feet looking like a particularly incontinent rabbit.



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