HALLOWEEN IRISH BREAD: the easy recipe

Le Irish speckled bread ou barmbrack ou brack, is a sweet bread garnished with dried fruits (currants, currants, raisins, etc.).

The word "barm" comes from an Old English word "beorma" meaning yeast or fermented liquor and "brack" comes from the Irish word "brac", meaning speckled (in reference to dried fruit).

In Ireland, it is often associated with the holiday of Halloween, born over 3 years ago on the Emerald Isle (Ireland) then called Samhain (or Samain), celebrating on October 000 the end of the celtic year. Legend has it that during this night the borders between the real world and the afterlife opened to allow ghosts and demons to move from one world to another. The Celts had rituals to fend off them, including dressing in spooky costumes and meeting together on the evening of October 31 to party. Two centuries later, Irish immigrants brought this tradition to the United States.

The particularity of the Halloween barmbrack was that it hid a surprise, an object cooked in the dough, which determined the future of whoever found it. If it was a pea, the person would not marry that year. A ring announced a wedding in the year; a stick, an unhappy marriage. A thimble for a girl or a button for a boy meant a life of celibacy; a garment or a rag, bad luck or poverty; a sixpence silver coin, luck or wealth. Among the other added objects, a medallion, usually of the Virgin Mary, symbolized entry into the priesthood, although this tradition has not been largely continued today.

Once reserved for major days and holidays, such as Halloween, it is increasingly available year-round, especially as St. Patrick's Day approaches. It is then usually served grilled with butter to accompany the tea.

Level of difficulty: easy
Preparation time : 55 min
Rest time : 2h 30 min (raised)
Cooking time : 40 min
Total time : 1h 35 min + 2h 30 min (raised)
Ingredients: 6 people
450 g flour
1 / 2 c. to c. ground cinnamon
1 / 2 c. to c. ground nutmeg
2 c. to c. dry yeast
75 g sweet butter
75 g powdered sugar 
250 ml of milk 
1 egg 
150 g raisins
100 g of currants
50 g chopped dried fruit peels
melted butter cooled

Preparation:

  • Heat the milk, add the butter and let it melt in the warm milk.
  • Mix the yeast with 1 c. to s. sugar. 
  • Add half of the hot butter-milk mixture and mix.
  • Add the beaten egg and mix.
  • Sift cinnamon and nutmeg with flour in a bowl. 
  • Make a well in the center and pour in the previous mixture of yeast-butter-hot milk.
  • Sprinkle some flour on top and leave in a warm place for about 20 min.
  • Add the other half of the hot butter-milk mixture and mix everything together to form a smooth paste.
  • Put on a floured worktop.
  • Sprinkle with remaining powdered sugar, raisins, currants and chopped zest, then knead dough.
  • Place the dough in a large buttered container, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Knead again.
  • Put in a buttered bread pan beforehand. Add possibly objects in the dough.
  • Brush the top with melted butter and cover until the dough has doubled in size again.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 ° C.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the blade of a knife inserted in its center comes out dry.
  • Mix 1 c. to s. of sugar in 50 ml of boiling water and brush the still hot bread out of the oven.
  • Let cool before cutting and serving.
  • To taste!

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