Barnbrack is an traditional Irish fruit loaf. The title barnbrack or barmbrack originates from the Irish Gaelic word "bairín breac" meaning speckled loaf. It is usually made around Halloween and you will often see the shop shelves packed full of this delicios sweet bread. 

Traditionally each member of the household would get a slice of barnbrack. For added fun, a small prize would be baked into the bread. Whoever received the slice with the prize could find a golden ring or a coin which would bring them good luck in the future.

Why not give the recipe below a try and you start creating your very own traditions.

Makes 2 loaves


 1 tbsp dried yeast

1 ½ cup lukewarm water

2 oz + 1 extra tsp sugar for yeast

1 lb all purpose/plain flour

Pinch salt

2 oz butter

6 oz raisins

2 oz mixed candied peel

2 oz sugar

2 eggs, beaten


  1. After you knead the dough for the second time make sure to pre-heat the oven to 400F.

  2. Place the yeast in the lukewarm water, add the tsp of sugar, stir and leave to one side.

  3. Place the flour into a large baking bowl, add the butter and salt.

  4. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour to form sand-like crumbs. Make sure to work quickly so to prevent the butter from becoming too warm.

  5. Add the peel, raisins and 2 oz of sugar to the flour mixture and stir.

  6. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture. Work the mixture together to form a soft dough.

  7. Knead the dough on a floured work top for 10 minutes until smooth. Place the dough back into the bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

  8. Place the dough on the worktop, divide in 2, knead each half for another few minutes then form into a round approx 7". Place on a greased baking sheet and leave to rise for another hour.

  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
I highly recommend to spread some Irish butter on a slice, pour yourself a cuppa tea, sit back and enjoy!