World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0004427548
Reproduction Date:

Title: Barmbrack  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Irish cuisine, List of Irish dishes, Barnbrack, Barm, Bread in Europe
Collection: Halloween Food, Irish Breads, Irish Cuisine, Sweet Breads, Yeast Breads
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Two loaves of barmbrack
Alternative names Báirín Breac, Boreen brack
Type Sweet bread
Place of origin Ireland
Main ingredients Sultanas, raisins

Barmbrack (Irish: bairín breac), also called Barnbrack or often shortened to brack,[1] is a yeasted bread with added sultanas and raisins.[2]


  • The loaf 1
  • Halloween tradition 2
  • Other references 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

The loaf

Usually sold in flattened rounds, it is often served toasted with butter along with a cup of tea in the afternoon. The dough is sweeter than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake, and the sultanas and raisins add flavour and texture to the final product. In Ireland it is sometimes called Bairín Breac, and the term is also used as two words in its more common version. This may be from the Irish word bairín - a loaf - and breac - speckled (due to the raisins in it), hence it means a speckled loaf (a similar etymology to the Welsh bara brith).

Other source: Barm is the technical term for the yeast filtered out of beer in the final production stages. It was a cheaper yeast source then commercial yeast used for making breac (speckled loaf).

Halloween tradition

Barmbrack is the centre of an Irish Halloween custom. The Halloween Brack traditionally contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune-telling game.[2] In the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring. Each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be wed within the year. Other articles added to the brack include a medallion, usually of the Virgin Mary to symbolise going into the priesthood or to the Nuns, although this tradition is not widely continued in the present day.

Commercially produced barmbracks for the Halloween market still include a toy ring.

Other references

Barmbracks were mentioned in the Van Morrison song "A Sense of Wonder": Reference to barmbracks is made in Dubliners by James Joyce. The following example can be found in the first paragraph of Joyce's short story Clay:

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Allen, Darina (2012). Irish Traditional Cooking. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. p. 278.  

External links

  • Hallowe'en Barmbrack
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.