Sourdough Barmbrack

Sourdough barmbrack for Halloween

5 from 3 reviews

Traditional Irish barmbrack is a soft and sweet fruit bread. It is similar to cinnamon raisin bread. It’s delicious served fresh and hot from the oven, or toasted up with butter!


Units Scale


  • 2 3/4 cups warm milk (22 oz)
  • 6 1/4 cups strong white flour (28 oz)
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup sourdough starter (5 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp soft butter (room temperature, not melted)
  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, chopped apricots)


  • 2 Tbsp milk


  1. Warm the milk to approximately 33 C / 93 F. Mix with the flour and yeast, then set it aside so the flour can hydrate for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Use the pincer method to mix in the remaining ingredients, including the sourdough starter, dried fruit, and butter. Don’t knead the dough, as you want a nice soft, texture.
  3. Allow the dough to rise in a warm location until doubled in volume (about 5 hours). Use the dough folding procedure 3-4 times during this rise.
  4. Place the dough on a well-floured surface and cut it into 2 equal pieces.
  5. Gently shape the dough, using flour as needed, but avoid kneading.
  6. For free-form loaves, place the dough balls in floured baskets (or bowls lined with floured tea towels). Otherwise, place the balls in greased tin loaf pans.
  7. Cover the loaves and leave them to rise in the refrigerator for 2-18 hours, until ready to bake.
  8. Preheat to 400 F (200 C).
  9. Brush the top of the loaves with milk.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes uncovered, then reduce the heat to 350 F (180 C) and bake for another 25-40 minutes until cooked. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  11. Cool completely before slicing.


  • I recommend baking free-formed loaves in a dutch oven which gives a nice, even heat and will help maintain the shape. Otherwise, use a metal cake pan or a pie plate.  However, the cold dough is going into a hot oven, so I don’t recommend glass dishes.
  • If you don’t maintain a sourdough starter, you can make a quick starter for this recipe. The sourdough is more for flavor than loft in this recipe.


Keywords: bram brack, raisin bread, traditional, Halloween, fruit bread, cinnamon bread, toast, winter, fall, breakfast, brunch