Monday, November 2, 2015

Irish BarmBrack or Speckled Bread | We Knead to Bake #32

After spicy quiche, its time for sweet nutty fruity barmbrack. This month Aparna had chosen Irish Barmbrack or speckled bread for the We Knead to bake challenge. A tasty sweet bread it turned out to be with the dry fruits soaked in "tea".
Thats true. Barmbrack or Bairin Breac or simply brack is a dry fruit bread where there the dry fruits are soaked in tea and then added to yeasted and spiced dough. It is actually a part of Irish Halloween tradition and a slice goes very well tea. You can enjoy it buttered or simply toasted or just warm from the oven.

Chopped dried fruits: 3/4 cup
Strong Black Tea: 1.5 cups

All Purpose Flour: 3.5- 4 cups + more for dusting
Instant Yeast: 2tsp
Granulated Sugar: 2/3 cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Ground Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
Ground Ginger: 1/2 tsp
Powdered Allspice: 1/4 tsp

Soft Unsalted Butter: 1 tbsp or 30 gm 

Egg: 1 or Ener G Egg: 1.5 pkd tsp of Ener G + 4 tbsp of water

Milk: 8-12 tbsp to make 1 cup of milky tea.


Soak the dry fruits in hot strong tea overnight or atleast 4 hours. When done, drain them but don't throw away the tea. To this tea add enough hot milk to make a cup.

In a bowl or processor, mix together the flour, yeast,sugar, salt and the spices. Add in soft butter and egg and whisk/beat well. 

Add in the milky tea and knead together to get a slightly sticky dough. Add in enough flour and continue kneading to get an almost nonsticky dough. Transfer the dough onto a dusted counter and flatten it out.

Sprinkle the drained dried fruits and fold in half and fold once again. Basically you need to incorporate the plumped up dry fruits into the bread dough and ensure they are evenly dispersed.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased container. 

Let it rise covered with a plastic wrap  until doubled in volume for almost 1.5 hours.

Gently knead the dough and divide into 2 portions. Shape into round balls  and place on greased baking sheets or even loaf tins if using.

Let these rise for another hour or so until they puff up. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 45 minutes until they are golden brown and done. Take out cool on a wire racks and then jump in.

Soft crumb with a firm crust. Sandwich bread texture except that here the crumb is sweeter and little crumbly.
You can warm it in the oven or toast it and you can experience the aromas of spices taking your  moods to a new height and a warmth around you. Wash it down with hot tea and your evening or afternoon is done. Perfect winter bread.

Except for butter and milk the bread is vegan friendly. You can replace butter with vegan substitutes and even avoid milk and go with black tea to make it completely vegan. 

Lets see what else Aparna is talking about the bread.Hop over to her post.


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