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Bara Brith (Welsh Tea Bread)

Bara brith or Welsh tea bread is a super easy rich Welsh fruit loaf made with tea. This quick bread recipe only takes a few ingredients and a few steps to make. It’s perfect for beginner bakers and loved by experienced bakers alike. This is a timeless quick bread recipe you’ll come back to again and again. 

A loaf of sliced Bara brith bread next to a cup of tea, a kettle, and slices of Welsh tea bread.

One of the things I love about this fruity bread is it is even better a couple days after it’s baked. Because the fruit is soaked before baking, it allows the fruit to impart moisture to the bread for days afterwards, keeping it from drying out. And it will stay good for up to a week. My kids love this stuff and I love having it on hand because it makes a great grab and go breakfast. 

A thick slice of tea loaf slathered with butter next to a cup of tea.

Bara brith translates to speckled bread in Welsh. The “speckles” are traditionally raisins, currants or sultanas. As a “yank” I was shocked to discover sultanas are just golden raisins. Served traditionally in thick slices with swaths of salted butter as part of high tea, Welsh tea bread is perfect any time of day. 

Non-traditional Bara Brith

I wanted to highlight that my bara brith recipe is non-traditional, because I’m a Missouri girl, not Welsh. Most Welsh bara brith recipes call for soaking the dried fruit in tea overnight, but I am impatient so I soak the dried fruit and the tea together in boiling water. This still plumps and softens the fruit and provides the tea flavor and coloring just in much less time.

When choosing tea, the more simple the better. English breakfast tea, Earl Grey or plain black tea are my choice. I also add just a smidge of buttermilk because it adds a bit of fat content to the bread which I think enhances the texture and flavor. 

A close up image that shows the texture of the bara brith slices.

I also use much less dried fruit than what most tea loaf recipes use. The dried fruit blend I’ve used in the pictures has dried apples, blueberries, plums, figs, raisins and whole almonds. But honestly I think you could use just about any dried fruit blend to make this bread. Trader Joe’s Golden Berry Blend would be a great choice. You just wouldn’t want to use anything with super large pieces or chunks.

A bowl of dried fruit next to a measuring cup and electric kettle.

Do you have to use self-rising flour?

Let’s talk about the self-rising flour. Do you have to use it? No. You can make your own homemade self-rising flour. I will tell you though, once you start using self-rising flour in quick breads and biscuits you’ll want to keep it on hand. It simplifies things so much! But then, I’m lazy and I’m the kind of person who loves bread with every meal! 

More easy quick bread recipes to try:

Step by step instructions for making Bara Brith:

The dried fruit and tea steep together in the boiling water.

Step 1: Measure out 11/4 cups boiling water. Add 1 cup of dried fruit to the boiling water and 1 tea bag.

Allow it to sit and steep until it has cooled to room temperature.

The cooled fruit and tea mixture is added with the other ingredients to the mixing bowl.

Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine the tea and fruit mixture with the self-rising flour, brown sugar, egg, and buttermilk. Stir it until it’s all well combined.

The bread batter is spread in a parchment lined bread loaf pan.

Step 3: Pour the bread batter into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and then lined with parchment paper. This will ensure your loaf comes out of the pan flawlessly.

A loaf of bara brith cooling on a wire rack.

Step 4: Bake the bread at 350 degrees on the center rack of your oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to an hour and a half. Or until it’s domed and browned on top and a toothpick/skewer inserted in the top comes out clean.

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Bara Brith (Welsh Tea Bread)

Bara Brith (Welsh Tea Bread)

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

Bara brith or Welsh tea bread is a super easy rich Welsh fruit loaf made with tea. This quick bread only takes a few ingredients to make and a few steps. This is a non-traditonal method and recipe. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup dried fruit blend* (see notes for suggestions)
  • 1 tea bag* (see notes for tea suggestions)
  • 2 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Instructions

    1. Measure out 1 1/4 cup boiling water into a heat proof liquid measuring cup or bowl. To this add 1 cup dried fruit and one tea bag. Allow it to steep together until it comes to room temperature. Remove the tea bag.
    2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and then line the loaf pan with parchment paper. This will allow you to easily remove the bread after it has baked.
    3. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the flour with the brown sugar, egg, buttermilk and the fruit and tea mixture. Mix it until all of the dry ingredients are well mixed in. 
    4. Spread the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake in the preheated oven on the center rack at 350° for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until a toothpick and inserted in the center comes out clean.
    5. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes


Dried fruits that work well include: raisins, currants, sultanas, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, dates, figs, apricots, apples.

Tea suggestions for this bread recipe: English breakfast tea, Earl Grey tea, plain black tea.

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Bara brith or Welsh tea bread is a super easy rich Welsh fruit loaf made with tea. This quick bread only takes a few ingredients to make and a few steps. Non-traditonal method and recipe.

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