Traditional Irish Barmbrack (Fruit Bread) without yeast is the best raisin bread you'll ever bake and it's incredibly easy to make too! It's so addictively delicious that there's no sense waiting for an Irish holiday to roll around to enjoy this amazing bread! Bake it up any day of the year, or for the holidays that barmbrack is a traditional part of including St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, and New Year's Day!
Traditional Barmbrack Recipe
If you've never heard of barmbrack, you've been missing out on a truly sensational treat! The baking brack will fill your house with an aroma so tantalizing that everyone that smells it will eagerly await the chime of the oven timer!
I don't know how or why I let my memory occasionally lapse on just how much I (and everyone else that ever tries it) really enjoy this fantastic traditional Irish fruit bread! I have loved baking and buttering up this bread since I first saw a recipe from Mary Berry - a lady that I adore and am unashamedly an avid fan-girl of!
Whichever way you serve this delightfully tasty bread, it's always sheer perfection!
Such an easy and fantastic bread needs no excuse, and I hope that you and yours enjoy this sweet bread as much as my family does!!
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✔️ Fun Facts About Barmbrack
Traditional Irish Barmbrack (without yeast) is Ireland's favorite fruit cake with a long and interesting history behind it! Brack has been made for Irish holidays such as Halloween (and originating from the Celtic harvest celebration of Samhain) where the bread was called báirín breac, meaning speckled bread.
This name referred to the dotted appearance of the bread with all of the chunks of dried fruit.
New Year's, where bits of the Irish Barm Brack are thrown at the back doors of homes to ward off poverty in the coming year. And of course, most recently, is still lovingly baked in homes everywhere for St. Patrick's Day!
🥘 Barmbrack Ingredients
Sticking with the traditional roots of this bread, I make my Irish Barm Brack without yeast. While many types of fruit are used, the most common are sultanas (AKA golden raisins), raisins, currants, cherries, and cranberries.
Plain raisins are my least favorite to use in this bread, as all of the others tend to absorb the tea better and result in the best flavor. I'm using the golden raisins in my tea brack today along with dried cranberries and cherries.
- Tea - 1 cup of a good, strong-brewed tea to soak the fruit in overnight. Pick a strong black tea or a complementary tea flavor that will add richness to your brack.
- Fruit - 1 ½-2 cups of a dried fruit combination of sultanas (golden raisins), raisins, and dried cherries plus some dried orange peel for a stronger orange and fruit flavor. Other fruits such as dried apricot or prunes can also be added if desired.
- Egg - 1 large egg to bind the bread and add volume. Starting with a room temperature egg is great for making sure that your baking times match mine.
- Baking Spices - you need about 2 teaspoons of your favorite warm baking spices. I use a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg for tasty perfection! My mixed spice is also ideal for this recipe!
- Brown Sugar - 1 cup light brown sugar to add just the right amount of sweetness and rich perfection from the molasses content!
- Self-Rising Flour - to skip the yeast, I use 2 cups self-rising flour in this traditional bread. To make your own homemade self-rising flour see my guide for this quick and easy swap.
Note that in my research on traditional barmbrack recipes, very few included whiskey. However, if desired, you could certainly add a splash of Irish whiskey to the fruit while soaking. 🙂
*Be sure to see the free printable recipe card below for ingredients, exact amounts & instructions with tips!*
🔪 How To Make Barmbrack
- Soak the fruit. In a bowl, combine the dark steeped tea with 1 ½-2 cups of your dried fruits (raisins, sultanas, dried cherries, dried cranberries, and dried currants are all great choices) and dried orange peel (or orange zest), cover with cling film, and allow to soak while refrigerated overnight.
- Prep. Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper that has been greased. Set your soaked fruit and one large egg out to warm while gathering ingredients
- Add ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tea and fruit with egg, 2 teaspoons of spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, or mixed spice), and light brown sugar. Stir to combine thoroughly, then add 2 cups of self-rising flour.
- Transfer. Mix until all of the flour is incorporated into a wet dough, then transfer the dough into your loaf pan.
Bake, Cool & Serve
- Bake until golden. Place on the middle of your oven's center rack and bake at 350ºF (175ºC) for 1 hour then check the color of your baked bread. If the top of your bread loaf is getting too dark, cover it with aluminum foil to keep from browning too deeply.
- Remove from the oven. Your bread should be fully baked between 1 hour and 15-30 minutes (mine are typically done at 75-80 minutes). Remove from the oven when done and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then lift out and remove the parchment paper.
- Cool. Allow the bread to cool fully on a wire cooling rack before slicing and serving.
*Baking times can vary based on the size of your loaf pan, oven temperatures, or if you baked a shaped or round loaf on a baking sheet.
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🇮🇪 More Great Irish Recipes!
In addition to these tasty recipes featured in the list, you should be sure to check out all of my great authentic Irish recipes too!
- Irish Oatmeal Cake with Caramel Pecan Frosting
- Irish Apple Cake
- Traditional Irish Soda Bread
- Potato Leek Soup
- Apple Blackberry Crumble
Irish Barmbrack (Fruit Bread) Recipe
- 1 cup tea (cold, strong brewed - we use Tazo Wild Orange)
- ¾ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ½ teaspoon dried orange peel (or the zest of 1 whole large orange)
- 1 large egg (at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 2 cups self rising flour (1 cup self rising flour equal to 1 cup all-purpose flour w/1 ½ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt)
- In a bowl, combine the dark steeped tea with dried fruits and candied peel (or orange zest), cover with cling film, and allow to soak refrigerated overnight.1 cup tea, ¾ cup golden raisins, ½ cup dried cranberries, ½ cup dried cherries, ½ teaspoon dried orange peel
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper that has been greased.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the tea and fruit with egg, spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg) and brown sugar. Stir to combine thoroughly, then add all of the self rising flour.1 large egg, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 cup light brown sugar, 2 cups self rising flour
- Mix until all of the flour is incorporated into a wet dough, then transfer the dough into your loaf pan. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 1 hour then check the color of your baked bread (if it is getting too dark, cover with aluminum foil to keep from browning too deeply).
- Your bread should be fully baked between 1 hour and 15-30 minutes (mine is typically done at 75-80 minutes). Transfer the baked loaf to a wire cooling rack to cool before slicing and serving. *Baking times can vary based on the size of your loaf pan, oven temperatures, or if you baked a shaped or round loaf on a baking sheet.
Equipment You May Need
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!
I can’t wait to try it. I hope gluten free flour works.
Angela @ BakeItWithLove.com says
Hi Kathleen, you shouldn't have any problem with GF flour. Enjoy!
Great flavor. It's improving as it sits.
Delicious and easy!