Barm Brack is a yeast bread with added raisins (I added dried apricots) – it is sweeter that standard bread but not as rich as cake. Although, it is traditionally eaten around Halloween, when charms are baked into the dough as part of an ancient fortune-telling ritual, I think it is perfect for those who celebrate St.Patrick’s day.
Ireland is the country to inspire you and to make you find new ways to love life. While living in Ireland one can be ever proud of his countrymen. It is impossible not to believe in fairies dancing in the night among hawthorn branches or giants building the road out of hexahedron pillars in the cold sea. It is impossible not to fall in love with these emerald hills serving as year round pastures for cows, with magical mountains of Connemara covered by soft moss or grey limestone pavements of Burren hiding delicate flowers in its clefts, away from the severe Atlantic fogs.
May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
~ Irish blessing
Few more Irish recipes for a special celebration.
Irish Barm Brack Bread with Dried Apricots
- 4 1/2 cups white bread flour
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm milk
- 2/3 cup lukewarm water
- olive oil, for oiling a bowl
- 4 Tbsp. salted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruits, such as golden raisins, dried apricots, dried currants
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, allspice and salt. Stir in the yeast and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk and water. Mix well to make a soft and no-sticky dough, about 3-4 minutes. Leave the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Add the butter and dried fruits to the dough and mix them in until completely incorporated. I also used an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment for that. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes more.
Oil a 9-inch round cake pan. Pat the dough to a neat circle and fit in a pan. Cover and let rest in warm place until it has risen to the top of the pan.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Bake the loaf for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF, and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Serve sliced and spread with butter.