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bara brith

Do you ever get text messages at work going:  "We had breakfast.  We need bread."  This is pretty normal in my life.  I actually have two loaves of bread rising as I type.  I will bake them in the morning.

Bara Brith is a raisin bread that I found in a Better Homes and Garden cooking magazine from December 1985.  There are a couple recipes I like from it and my copy is old and tattered.  Bara brith was part of their tea article.  It has become a standard in our home.  I especially like it for breakfast.  I have taken to making it with sourdough and using a wet sponge method so my directions are very different.

Bara Brith

Sourdough starter

1 cup flour

3/4 cup water

2/3 cup buttermilk, soured heavy cream, or soured hempmilk

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2/3 cup dried currants, blueberries, or raisins

3 to 5 cups all purpose flour (this is dependent on how much moisture the dried fruit absorbs)

Eight hours before or the night before, put the sourdough starter in a large bowl.  Mix in 1 cup flour and 3/4 cup water.  Cover with a cloth.  The next morning, remove a couple tablespoons so you will have starter for next time and put in the frig.

Into the starter that is in the large bowl, mix in the buttermilk, sugar, butter, egg, spices and salt.  Add the raisins and 1 cup flour.  Cover with a cloth.  Let sit until bubbly and doubled.  It will look like pancake batter.

Stir in enough extra flour to make a stiff dough.  Turn out onto a clean floured surface, and knead until smooth.  This starts out sticky so it may need up to 3/4 cup more flour or even more if it is humid.  Put back in the bowl, cover and let rise until double in size.

Punch down and let rise until double again.

Grease a loaf pan.  Shape the bread into a loaf shape and place in the pan.  Let rise 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake 1 hour, until golden and sounds hollow when the bottom is thunked.

Try to let it cool before slicing.  It mushes a bit if you do not.  Obviously, we always cut it straight out of the oven. 


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