Gluten free Bara Brith

Ollie

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It is thought that Bara Brith was invented in the 18th century by a Welsh cook who added dried fruit and spices to a bread dough. Bara Brith means ‘speckled bread’, and was traditionally eaten on St David’s Day or Christmas Day. Others claim that it was part of the weekly bake, just before the weekend, where in fact it was the last loaf put in the oven (made with remnants of leftover dough), the Welsh baker adding the fruit to make it a more palatable loaf. What is known is that Welsh settlers, who started arriving in Argentina in 1861, brought it with them. There, it is known as Torta Negra (Black Cake) and is one of the most traditional foods coming out of the Chubut valleys, where the Welsh immigrants settled in 1864.

This recipe is for a baking powder version, (and is similar to an Irish Tea Brack (a fruited tea loaf – although that has much richer dried fruits) - see separate thread for recipe), as it is easier and quicker to make at home compared to the yeasted version (be aware that this baking powder version will not rise as high when baked). The bun is enriched with dried fruit and mixed spices, and traditionally flavoured with strong tea. It is served sliced and buttered at tea time.

Ingredients:
Dried Sultanas 125g
Dried Raisins 125g
Dried Currants 100g
Demerara sugar 150g
Strong, hot tea 275ml (3 tea bags - squeezed)
Gluten-free flour mix* 275g
Gum Arabic (or Guar gum) 2tsp
Baking powder 2tsp
Salt pinch
Mixed spice 1tsp
Egg (beaten) 200g (2 large at room temperature)
Vanilla essence 1tsp
Butter (melted and cooled) 85g

Method:
Day 1
In a large mixing bowl, place the dried fruit and sprinkle with the sugar; pour over the hot tea and stir well to dissolve the sugar; cover and leave to soak overnight (or at least 6 hrs)
Day 2
Preheat the oven to 180C a (convection oven was used)
In a double boiler, gently melt the butter, and cool
Line a 900g (2lb, (23cm x 13cm (9in x 5in))) loaf tin with baking parchment paper (NB, if the loaf tin size is 22 1/2cm x 11 1/2cm (8 1/2in x 4 1/2in), increase baking time by 10mins)
In a bowl sift the flour mix; add the gum, baking powder, salt, and mixed spice; and whisk together well
To the mixing bowl full of soaked dried fruit mix, add 50g flour mix; mix to fully combine the flour; gradually add the rest of the flour mix, combining well before each new addition
In a bowl, add the eggs and vanilla essence, combine and beat/whip for 3mins (to get air into the mix, and to activate the gum)
To the dried fruit flour mix, finally add the melted and cooled butter, beat and combine
Pour/spoon the bara brith batter into the prepared loaf tin; place in the preheated oven
Bake for 55 - 60mins (until a skewer pushed into the middle of the bara brith comes out clean), lower temperature to 160C and bake for a further 10mins max (or just until, before, the top starts to burn - whichever occurs first)
Allow the Bara Brith to cool in the tin for 20mins; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool for a further 1 – 1 1/2hr before serving (the cooled loaf can be wrapped in clingfilm and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days; refresh in a 150C oven for 10 – 15mins before you eat it)

Eat a slice, or two, on its own or with butter. Enjoy!!!

*Gluten-free flour mix
Brown rice flour 440g (approx. 3C + 2 ½tbsp)
Potato starch 210g (approx. 1 3/4C)
Tapioca starch 75g (approx. 1/2C)
Arrowroot powder 35g (approx. 1/4C)
Total weight 760g
 
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