Sourdough Bara Brith | Welsh Fruit Loaf

Sourdough Bara Brith
Jump to Recipe

A famous Welsh fruit loaf just had a sourdough remake! A denser, chewy bread, very generously studded with dried fruit that has been soaked in strong black tea is what Bara Brith is! Lightly toasted and slathered in salted butter, it is the most amazing sidekick to a midmorning coffee!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost for you! Thank you!

It’s been long due that I start cooking some Welsh delights! Neither Seb nor myself are Welsh, but since we’ve been living here for seven years, I feel bad that I haven’t yet properly explored the culinary planes of Wales. I have long been a fan of Welsh baked goods, including Pwdin Eva, Welsh Cakes and of course, Bara Brith.

One of the loveliest memories of Bara Brith was having it in a small cafe – Prospect Garden Tearooms – in the Panorama outside Wrexham. Set on a hill with lovely views stretching out miles and miles over the North Wales landscape. They have the most amazing Bara Brith there!

Whilst traditionally Bara Brith was made with yeast, these days you will more likely find yeast-free loaves made with self-raising flour. I took a traditional recipe created by one of the Great British Bake Off Contestants, Beca Lyne-Pirkis, and adapted it to be made with sourdough starter instead.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost for you! Thank you!

I’ll admit, it’s been a journey trying to make a perfect Sourdough Bara Brith. It took me no less than 10 completely failed or so-so loaves until I’ve arrived at a recipe that I was excited to share. The amount of fruit in the dough, use of tea instead of water, all affect the dough, the rise and the cooking time, so it certainly took me over 6 months of on-and-off experimenting but I am pleased to say that this recipe truly works.

How to Make Sourdough Bara Brith?

Day 1: Start in the Morning

Feed your starter early in the morning (or the night before, if that’s what you’re used to). Take your butter out of the fridge to soften.

Once your starter is active and has at least doubled in size (but not started to deflate), start making the dough. In a bowl of your stand mixer, mix strong white and strong wholewheat flour, water and active sourdough starter into a rough dough. Cover and leave to autolyse for an hour.

In the meantime, make 150ml of strong black tea (we used Earl Grey). Pour the tea over the dried fruit in a shallow bowl and leave to soak. If you fancy adding some spice, feel free to pop a cinnamon stick, a few cloves or star anises in the mixture.

Sourdough Bara Brith

After an hour, place the dough in your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment (we love Kenwood). With the mixer running, add the salt and sugar, then start adding softened butter bit by bit and mix until the butter is fully incorporated (about 5-7 minutes). Tip the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, drain the dried fruit, discarding the tea used for soaking. Squeeze any extra moisture out of the fruit. Add a third of the fruit to the top of the dough and press down so that it sticks. Stretch and fold one corner of the dough into the middle. Then do the same with the other four corners. Flip the dough over. Scatter another third and stretch and fold the four corners of the dough into the centre again. Flip the dough over and do this once more. Flip the dough over one last time, cover and leave the dough for 30 minutes.

For the next 1.5 hours, every 30 minutes come back to the dough and stretch and fold the corners of the dough into the middle and flip it over. You should have done 4 stretch and folds in total. Alternatively, perform coil folds (easier with a sticky dough like this one). We have included a video below to show you the method, and the photos show the stretch and fold method.

After the last fold, let the dough rest in a covered bowl for 3 – 4 hours. 

Using a pastry brush or your hands, grease a 2 – 3 lbs loaf tin with oil and generously sprinkle with flour.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and using your hands stretch it out into a rectangle, the width of your loaf tin. Roll the dough tightly starting from the shorter edge. Pop the dough in the prepared tin seam side down. Loosely cover with oiled clingfilm and pop in the fridge for a few hours (but at least 1 hour).

*** This is done to cool the dough and slow the proving process, as I will then leave it to prove overnight. If you want to bake it the same day, don’t fridge it, just leave it to double in size at room temperature for 3-5hours***

Take the dough out of the fridge just before you go to bed and leave it in a cool spot overnight (but no more than 8 hours). Try and find a spot in the house that’s about 17°C overnight. If your house is much warmer, reduce the amount of time it stays out, but make sure you leave enough time for the dough to prove as it will need quite a while due to the amount of fruit in the dough.

Day 2: First Thing in the Morning

Preheat the oven to 220°C Fan. Take the oiled clingfilm off of the dough. Bake the Sourdough Bara Brith in the centre of the oven for 17-20 minutes, until it is deep golden brown. Then reduce the temperature to 180°C, cover the loaf with tin foil and carry on cooking for another 20-25 minutes.

Once baked, the internal temperature of the loaf should be 93-96°C. transfer the loaf onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before slicing. Serve slathered with salted butter!


We love baking with sourdough. If you are looking for more ideas for your next sourdough adventure, why not try our:

Sourdough Bara Brith

Sourdough Bara Brith

A famous Welsh fruit loaf just had a sourdough remake! A dense, chewy bread, very generously studded with dried fruit that have been soaked in strong black tea is what Bara Brith is! Lightly toasted and slathered in salted butter and It is the most amazing sidekick to a midmorning coffee!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Fermenting, Proving & Resting 16 hrs
Total Time 17 hrs 20 mins
Course Bread, Dessert
Cuisine Welsh
Servings 16 slices
Calories 153 kcal

Equipment

  • 2-3 lbs loaf tin

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g strong white flour
  • 100 g strong whole wheat flour
  • 140 ml lukewarm water
  • 100 g active sourdough starter 100% hydration
  • 300 g dried fruit we used 150g sultanas and 150g dried cranberries
  • 150 ml strong black tea we used Earl Gray
  • 8 g salt
  • 20 g caster sugar
  • 40 g unsalted butter

Instructions
 

Day 1: Start in the Morning

  • Once your starter is active and has at least doubled in size, start making the dough. In a bowl of your stand mixer, mix strong white and strong wholewehat flour, water and active sourdough starter into a rough dough. Cover and leave to autolyse for an hour.
  • In the meantime, make 150ml of strong black tea (we used Earl Gray). Pour the tea over the dried fruit in a shallow bowl and leave to soak.
  • After an hour, Place the dough in your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. With the mixer running, add the salt and sugar, then start adding softened butter bit by bit and mix until the butter is fully incorporated (about 5-7 minutes). Tip the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, drain the dried fruit, discarding the tea used for soaking. Squeeze any extra moisture out of the fruit. Add a third of the fruit to the top of the dough and press down so that it sticks. Stretch and fold one corner of the dough into the middle. Then do the same with the other four corners. And flip the dough over. Scatter another third and streatch and fold the four corners of the dough into the centre again. Flip the dough over and do this once again. Flip the dough over one last time, cover and leave the dough for 30 minutes.
  • For the next 1.5 hours, every 30 minutes come back to the dough and streatchand fold the corners of the dough into the middle and flip it over. You should have done 4 streatch and folds in total. Alternatvely, perform coil folds (easier with a sticky dough like this one). We have included a video below to show you the method.
  • After the last fold, let the dough rest in a covered bowl for 3 – 4 hours. 
  • Using a pastry brush or your hands, grease a 2 – 3 lbs loaf tin with oil and generously sprinkle with flour.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and using your hands stretch it out into a rectangle, the width of your loaf tin. Roll the dough tightly starting from the shorter edge. Pop the dough in the prepared tin seam side down. Losely cover with oiled clingfilm and pop in the fridge for a few hours (but at least 1 hour).
    *** This is done to cool the dough and slow the proving process, as I will then leave it to prove overnight. If you want to bake it the same day, don't fridge it, just leave it to double in size at room temperature for 3-5hours***
  • Take the dough out of the fridge just before you go to bed and leave at room temperature overnight (about 8 hours). Try and find a spot in the house that's about 17°C overnigth. If your house is much warmer, reduce the amount of time it stays out, but make sure you leave enough time for the dough to prove as it will need quite a while due to the amount of fruit in the dough.

Day 2: First Thing in the Morning

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C Fan. Take the oiled clingfilm off of the dough. Bake the Sourdough Bara Brith in the centre of the oven for 17-20 minutes, until it is deep golden brown. Then reduce the temperature to 180°C, cover the loaf with tin foil and carry on cooking for another 20-25 minutes.
  • Once baked, the internal temperature of the loaf should be 93-96°C. Transfer the loaf onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before slicing. Serve slathered with salted butter!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 153kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 4gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 196mgPotassium: 166mgFiber: 3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 65IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Bara Brith with Sourdough Starter, Sourdough Bara Brith, Sourdough Fruit Bread, Sourdough Fruit Loaf, Sourdough Ideas, Sourdough recipes, Sourdough Welsh Fruit Bread, Welsh Fruit Bread with Sourdough Starter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Sourdough Bara Brith

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating