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Irish Halloween Bread (Barmbrack)

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gracoman View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 October 2019 at 22:08

The following is From the Irish Central site

"Halloween celebrated on October 31, is one of those true Celtic traditions that has become a worldwide occasion.

Historically, it is based on the Celtic festival of "Samhain" (Sawh-en) which is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "Summer's End."

With the plantation of Ulster in the early 1600s, the Scottish colonists brought with them the festival of All Hallows' Evening (All Hallows Even') celebrated on the same night and the two traditions merged. This was the night that the souls of the dead were thought to walk the earth and many people believed it a setting for supernatural encounters.

I remember how Holy Water was sprinkled on the outhouses, sheds, and farm animals to keep them safe during the night and mirrors in our house were covered with sheets so that the poor souls could not enter the living world.

The traditional bread served on the night was the Halloween Barmbrack, meaning speckled cake, which is a sweet fruit bread. The word "Barm" comes from an old English word, "beorma," meaning yeasty, fermented liquor and "Brack" comes from the Irish word "brac," meaning speckled – which it is with the dried fruit and candied peel.

The bracks made with yeast are called "barmbracks" and those that use baking powder and fruit soaked in tea are called "tea bracks."

Each member of your family must get a slice and it was always a great treat to find the penny in the cake, as this meant you were going to be rich. Other items buried in the barmbrack are a ring for the bride-to-be, a thimble for the one who would never marry and a small piece of cloth indicating the one who would be poor."

Below is the Epicurious.com recipe I used for bread machine made Irish barmbrack

Ingredients
Large 1 1/2 pounds Loaf:
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 Cups bread flour
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered milk
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 Cups water
  • 3/4 Cup currants
  • 3/4 Cup golden raisins
  • 1 coin wrapped in foil
Small 1 pound Loaf:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 Cups bread flour
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 Cup currants
  • 1/2 Cup golden raisins
  • 1 coin wrapped in foil
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except the currants, raisins and the coin in the order suggested by your bread machine manual and process on the bread cycle according to the manufacturer's directions.
  2. At the beeper (or at the end of the first kneading in the Panasonic, National and Sanyo) add the currants and raisins and continue on the bread cycle.
  3. Grease the outside of the foil-wrapped coin. During the final rising, at least 10 minutes before the bread begins to bake, gently insert the wrapped coin into the center of the loaf so that it is just under the surface. Make sure the lid of the machine is closed and continue the bread cycle.
For fruit, I used raisins, golden raisins, craisins and dried blueberries


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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 October 2019 at 00:35
And don't forget to set a piece out for the fairy folk!
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Wannabebwana View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wannabebwana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 October 2019 at 07:00
I remember waaaaay back when mothers actually baked cakes for birthdays etc., we always kept an eye out for the penny!
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 October 2019 at 08:30

And save a piece for the foreigners abroad too  !!!


Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 October 2019 at 23:38
The bracks made with yeast are called "barmbracks" and those that use baking powder and fruit soaked in tea are called "tea bracks."

I'm a little concerned about this statement.  

There are numerous breadstuffs identified with the word "brack." Liquids used range from water, to milk, to juices, to tea.  Only barmbrack, which is always yeasted, is the bread of Samhain.  It is often made with tea (see my write-up in the Erin Go Dine thread), but that doesn't change it's name.

I may be wrong (which certainly wouldn't be the first time) but many soda bracks are used as breads for tea.  Keep in mind that "tea," in the British Isles, is not merely a drink. It's a light meal, served in the afternoon, and includes all sorts of edibles.

The name tea brack, I believe, comes from that usage, rather than from the liquid used to make the bread.  

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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gracoman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gracoman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2019 at 06:41

Because I used a bread machine to make this, I didn't soak my fruit in tea or anything else because soaked fruit is delicate and would have been smashed into non existence by the mixing paddles after added.


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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2019 at 03:19

Truly a gorgeous fruit bread  !!!  


Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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