Barm Brack – Irish Halloween Bread


4 to 5 cups bread or all-purpose flour, approximately
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon peel
2 pkgs active dry yeast
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 whole large eggs at room temperature
1 ½ cups seedless golden raisin
1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
1 tsp sugar dissolved in 1 tbsp water


Prep 2 medium (8″-x-4″) loaf pans, greased.

In a large mixing or mixer bowl measure 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, lemon peel, and yeast. In a saucepan combine the butter, water, and milk and heat over a low flame until the liquid is hot (120°-130°) (Do not let the water go above 130 or you risk killing the yeast). Add to the dry ingredients and beat by hand with a wooden spoon, or with the mixer flat beater at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs and 3/4 cup flour, or enough to make a thick batter. Beat vigorously by hand or at high speed in the mixer for 2 minutes.

Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating with the spoon and working with your hands, or in the mixer using a dough hook, to form a shaggy mass that can be lifted from the bowl and placed on the work surface.

Knead the dough, by hand on a floured work surface or in the mixer, until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky, add liberal sprinkles of flour. The dough will leave the sides of the bowl in the mixer and gather around the dough hook.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature until the dough has risen to about twice its original size (judged as it expands up the sides of the bowl), about 45 minutes. (If prepared with a new fast-rising yeast and at the recommended higher temperatures, reduce the rising times by about half.)

Punch down the dough and turn onto the floured work surface. Work in the raisins and candied fruit. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball, and let rest under a towel for 5 minutes.

Form each loaf by pressing a ball, under your palms or with a rolling pin, into a flat oval, roughly the length of the baking pan. Fold the oval in half, pinch the seam tightly to seal, tuck under the ends, and place in the loaf pan, seam down.

Cover the dough loosely with wax paper and let rise until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. The dough should be just above the edge of the loaf pan.

Preheat the oven to 375° about 20 minutes before baking.

Bake in the moderately hot oven until the loaves test done, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn out one loaf and tap the bottom with a forefinger. A hard, hollow sound means the light golden brown loaf is done. If not done, return to the oven-without the pan, if you wish a deep brown crust-for an additional 10 minutes. (If using a convection oven, reduce heat 50°.)

Finally, brush the crusts with the sugar glaze. Return to the oven for 2 or 3 minutes, or until shiny.

Remove the bread from the oven. While the bread is warm, cut thick slices and serve with ample butter. This bread will keep for several days wrapped in plastic or foil. It also freezes nicely.


Serves 12 to 16

Cook Time

Prep Time: 120 mins.
Cook Time: 45 mins.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition information is provided as a resource. Values will vary depending on specific ingredients used.

Serving Size: 1
Number of Servings: Serves 12 to 16
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 2221
Calories from Fat: 558

Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 62g
Carbohydrates 394g
Saturated Fat 38g
Calories 2221kcal
Cholesterol 339mg
Protein 55g
Sodium 2466mg
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.



2 thoughts on “Barm Brack – Irish Halloween Bread

  1. Pingback: Unprocessed October: Fresh Bread | Brooklyn Locavore

  2. Pingback: Baked Brains and Halloween Bread | food flavor fascination

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