Ireland’s culinary tradition includes the baking of tea brack in the autumn, around Halloween time. ‘Brack’ meaning ‘speckled’, most versions of the bread include some combination of dark raisins, sultanas, mixed peel or currants. Tea brack usually refers to a quick bread leavened with baking soda or baking powder, while Barm brack is a yeast-raised loaf, one of the few yeast recipes in the Irish farm kitchen repertoire.
A Halloween tradition in olden times was to make these cake-like breads with charms and symbols baked inside. Katherine Nolan on her excellent site DoChara explains the meaning of the charms. Today, breads are generally baked with only a ring inside, predicting a wedding within the year. I’ve made her traditional tea brack recipe, and, using a lot less sugar, have put a Yankee spin on it.
Get the recipe and others on my How I Make page >>>
Read about the difference between raisins, sultanas and currants.