Barm Brack

Barm Brack is the traditional cake bread eaten at Halloween.


  • 6 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1¼ cups warm milk
  • ⅔ cup warm water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons currants
  • 5 Tablespoons orange or lemon peel, chopped
  • Milk or syrup, to glaze
  • Powdered sugar, to decorate


  1. The night before baking, make a cup of tea, and put the currants and chopped peel into it to soak overnight.
  2. Mix the flour, allspice, and salt together. Stir in the yeast and sugar.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the milk and water, and mix into a dough.
  4. Move dough to a floured board and knead for 5 or 6 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until smooth and no longer sticky. (To knead, flatten the dough slightly, fold it over, flatten again, turn.)
  5. Place dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for 1 hour to rise (expand) to about double in size.
  6. Turn the dough back out onto the floured board, and add the butter, currants, and chopped peel and knead into the dough.
  7. Return the dough to the bowl and cover again with plastic wrap. Leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
  8. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Fit the dough into pan, cover with plastic wrap, and leave until the dough rises to the edge of the tin (about 30 minutes).
  9. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  10. Brush the surface of the dough with milk and bake for 15 minutes.
  11. Cover loosely with foil; reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes more.
  12. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serves 12.

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