Sourdough Barmbrack

Sourdough barmbrack is a Halloween tradition in Ireland

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Traditional Irish barmbrack is a yeasted bread. It should not be confused with its close cousin, tea brack, which is more like fruit cake then bread. Brambrack is soft and sweet, with the flavour of cinnamon raisin bread






  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 to 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 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 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). Cover the loaves with tinfoil and bake for another 45 minutes until cooked. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  11. Cool completely before slicing.


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