Irish Barmbrack Bread with Honey Butter

Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Be sure to remember to soak the raisins overnight in the tea, the night before you want to bake this bread. You can use any raisins. A variety is nice for a pretty loaf.



  • 2 cups raisins I used 1 cup sultanas, 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup green raisins
  • 2 cups strong brewed black tea
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active or instant yeast
  • 4 Tbsp butter cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg beaten

Honey Butter:

  • 3 Tbsp salted butter at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp liquid honey


  • Brew 2 cups of hot tea and allow to cool to lukewarm. Add tea to a a medium glass bowl. Add the raisins, stir and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Leave to soak on the counter overnight.
  • *If using instant yeast, simply add it in with the flour mixture, as detailed below. If using dry active yeast, add yeast to lukewarm/cooled milk and allow to proof a few minutes before adding to dough.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of the flour, nutmeg, salt, sugar, and yeast. With a pastry cutter or your fingers (or with the paddle attachment on your mixer), work in the butter in to the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave, heat the milk to 110° if using dry active yeast or 120° for instant yeast. Beat the egg into the milk and then stir into the dry ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon or switch to the kneading hook on a stand mixer. Knead by hand or with the kneading hook until dough starts to come together (adding more flour in small increments, as necessary). Drain the raisins and add to the dough. (I find a sprinkling of flour on to the raisins help them to incorporate in to the dough more easily). Knead in the raisins, adding a bit more flour as necessary, until you have a smooth dough that is not sticky.
  • Remove dough to a large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size.
  • Grease an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or baking pan and pre-heat oven to 400° F.
  • Turn risen dough out on to a floured surface. Press lightly to de-gas, then form in to a round by pinching the dough underneath. Place dough round in to prepared pan. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise until puffy, about 30 minutes more.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, then check the bread. If it is nicely browned, cover top loosely with a piece of tinfoil, then continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes or so, or until an internal temperature of about 195°.35-40 Let cool completely before cutting into slices. Serve spread with butter or honey butter.
  • For honey butter: combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir vigorously until well combined.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 195IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.5mg