Monday, October 13, 2008

Báirín Breac

Barmbrack (Irish: Báirín Breac) is the center of an Irish Halloween custom. The Halloween Brack traditionally contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of divination game. In the barmbrack were: a thimble, a button, a small coin and a ring. Each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the thimble, the girl who found it would remain unmarried; the button, the boy finding it would remain a bachelor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be wed within the year.

Commercially produced barmbracks for the Halloween market still include a toy ring. This is a really fun divination game for a feast. I don't have to warn you about the choking hazzard do I?

Try this recipe
  • 2 cups- black tea
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup currrantsDried fruit
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package of active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
1. Soak the tea, raisins and currants for at least one hour but, preferably overnight.
2. Mix the yeast, warm milk and the 2 tsp of sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast.
3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar and spices). Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, beaten egg, butter and salt.
4. Stir to mix the ingredients and bring the dough together. Add a little more flour if the dough is too wet or a little more milk if it is too dry.
5. Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth but still a little sticky.
6. Drain the dried fruit and knead a little at a time into the dough until all the fruit has been incorporated. Add the divination items (coin, ring etc)
7, Remove the dough to a large, lightly buttered bowl. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm corner until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
8. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and punch down to deflate. Knead lightly for 2-3 minutes. Form into a ball and placed in a buttered 8-inch cake pan. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in size, 30-60 minutes.
9. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove to a rack and cool.

It is best served toasted with a smear of butter and a cup of Irish tea.


Sharon Jackson said...

Thank you for this...I lost my recipe and I haven't made it for ages. I will do it for Samhain this year!

Stop by for a Spell said...

Hi Sharon,
Welcome and thank you for visiting! I hope you enjoy the bairin breac. We look forward to creating new and unique posts this coming year, including more Celtic & Sabbat recipes. We do love a good feast! Please come and comment. We love to hear from you.