Bara Brith


Makes 6 servings (serving a crowd?)

Bara Brith
  • 1 Tablespoon warm water
  • 1 teaspoon dried yeast (half a packet)
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 2½ cups unbleached flour
  • ½ cup wholewheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup currants
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 6 dried apricots, sliced very very thin
  • dash cinnamon, clove, allspice, and 2 dashes of nutmeg

Special equipment

1½ or 2 quart loaf pan


Dissolve yeast in the water. Warm the milk and stir it into the yeast. Measure the flours and salt into a medium mixing bowl, and stir in the yeast-milk while you melt the butter. Pour in the butter and mix to a soft dough. Cover and let rise till doubled (about 45 minutes...if you prewarmed your flours; about an hour and a half if you have not). Work the dried fruit, sugar and spice into the dough. Put into a warmed and greased 1½ or 2 quart loaf pan. Pat into shape and cover, leaving it in a warm place until it rises to the top of the tin (1½ to 2 hours). Cover with foil as it browns very easily and bake at 400° for 25 to 30 minutes.


Bara Brith (’speckled bread‘) is the famous Cymric fruitbread. Every family’s is different: some make theirs extra rich by adding an egg or two; others make theirs sweeter; some soak their dried fruits overnight in cold tea. Commercial establishments often use soda instead of yeast as their leavener. Our recipe is a personal customization of David’s that we’ve developed over the years. She, in turn, based hers on a recipe from a 1953 Welsh Gas Board pamphlet. You also might want to examine her chapter on British spiced fruit breads where she offers English, Irish, and other regional variations.


We serve it with honeybutter at formal events (spiced honeybutter, anyone?), but at home we eat it plain. Moist and sweet, it really needs no topping.