Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite quick breads: Bara Brith.
Bara Brith is a traditional Welsh bread loaded with dried fruit that has been soaked in tea. The name literally translates to “speckled bread,” because every slice is polka-dotted with the dried fruit.
Much like chocolate chip cookies here in the U.S., recipes for bara brith vary tremendously, but the constants are always tea-soaked dried fruit and a mixture of spices.
This new take on a classic is all of the following:
- Vegan (dairy-free and egg-free)
- Quick and easy to make
- High in fiber
Ingredients for Vegan Gluten-Free Welsh Fruit Bread
The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- black tea bags (strong black tea)
- orange zest
- mixed chopped dried fruit (e.g., apricots, raisins, cherries, dates)
- chickpea flour, sifted if lumpy
- blanched almond flour
- coconut sugar or brown sugar
- baking powder (grain-free, as needed)
- baking soda
- sweet spices (cinnamon ginger, nutmeg, cardamom)
- vegan (plant-based) butter (or vegetable oil)
- lemon juice or vinegar
Types of Dried Fruit for Welsh Fruit Bread
I used a combination of dried fruit from my pantry: more or less equal amounts of raisins, dates, apricots and cranberries. Use whatever combination you like, but aim for a combination of at least two fruits.
Some bara brith breads have loads of spices, while others have a mere hint. I am partial to the middle ground. You can use a pre-made spice blend such as pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice, but I created my own blend using cinnamon, ginger, cardamom (my obsession), and nutmeg.
Orange zest is optional, but I like it. My version calls for finely chopping the zest and soaking it with the tea and fruit. The boiling water releases the oils and infuses the fruit with a subtle orange essence.
How to Make Welsh Fruit Bread
Note that the complete directions are also in the recipe card below.
- In a large bowl combine boiling water, tea bags and orange zest. Let brew for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and zest.
- Add the dried fruit and let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight. Do not drain.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180C). Line a 9×5-inch (22.5×12.5 cm) baking pan with parchment, letting paper overhang on sides. Lightly grease or spray (with nonstick cooking spray) the paper.
- In a large bowl whisk together the chickpea flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg.
- Add the soaked fruit and tea (all the liquid), melted plant butter, and vinegar, stirring until well-blended.
- Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan. Use paper overhang to remove bread from pan. Cut into 16 slices.
Storage for the Vegan Bara Brith
The Welsh fruit bread keeps well in the refrigerator and freezes beautifully, too. Store the cooled bread in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 1 week, the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or the freezer for up to 6 months.
I can attest that a cup of tea is the perfect accompaniment. You can also enjoy it as a not-too-sweet dessert, or as a power snack any time.