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Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread

Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread

This Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread is a rendition of a traditional holiday tea loaf! It’s full of semi-sweet chocolate, raisins, and topped with melted chocolate too! This bread is not overly sweet or sugary, but the flavors of the fruit and chocolate shine through! It’s a perfect bread to share during the holidays or whenever you want a sweet treat.

Bread Inspiration

I first heard about Barmbrack Bread on one of my favorite shows, The Great British Baking Show. Andrew Smyth, one of the contestants, made a Chocolate Barmbrack bread. He also explained that it is a traditional Irish bread served on holidays. The most traditional holiday it is served on is Halloween, but it’s also included in other holiday celebrations as well.

Since my heritage is about 80% Irish, I was really excited to try out this recipe! I took inspiration from the recipe on the show, and of course, added chocolate to my barmbrack too.

Chocolate Barmbrack Bread Ingredients

The combination of spices, fruit, and chocolate is really so delicious in this bread!

Ingredients Substitutions

I have a few ingredients substitutions in case you can’t find ingredients or need to customize the recipe. I have heard that Pumpkin pie spice can be hard to find, so if you aren’t able to use it, combine equal amounts of your other spices to make up for it!

This recipe can be done dairy-free if you switch out the butter for coconut oil and buy a dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chip brand, like Enjoy Life. Almond milk is dairy-free, but you can also use oat milk and coconut milk. Of course, if you don’t have a dairy issue, plain dairy milk will work too!

Yeast Recommendations

Enriched dough or bread with lots of fruit or chocolate always takes more time to rise and needs a strong yeast. That’s why I used Red Star Active Dry Yeast for this recipe. It’s been one of my favorite brands for a while because it works in every bread I’ve tried. Another brand I like is Saf Instant Yeast. It’s a good brand too that I use often.

If you decide to use instant yeast, you don’t need to proof your yeast for 5 minutes before. You can combine it with the dry ingredients in your dough. Instant yeast is somewhat of a time saver, but I like the classic active dry yeast more often.

Barmbrack Making Equipment

I almost always use a stand mixer when I’m kneading my bread dough because it takes less time and is less messy. However, if you chose to knead this dough by hand, it will take closer to 10-12 minutes of kneading for the dough to have enough gluten structure. Or, if you want to buy an inexpensive stand mixer, check out the link I provided! It’s not as nice as a KitchenAid, but it still works well for the price!

I use a 9-Inch cake pan for this recipe because I wanted this bread to be perfectly round. But you can always just put the dough on a greased baking sheet. Just shape the dough like in the instructions, and it should still come out in a round shape.

I didn’t really plan for it, but because of the pan that I used, this bread ended up looking like a chocolate glazed donut! 🍩

Chocolate Melting Tip

Melting chocolate can be somewhat of a pain because if you overheat it, it seizes up and becomes hard to work with. That’s why I always melt it at 30-second intervals in the microwave. Then I can keep close attention to how well it’s melting.

Alternatively, you can use a double boiler to melt it on the stove. It would just be more time-consuming. But it’s really whatever you prefer!

Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread Pin

I hope you love the Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread! Another one of my Great British Bake Off inspired recipes you should try is my Chocolate and Almond Babka! It’s another delicious bread that includes lots of chocolate.

Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread

Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread

This Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread is a delicious rendition of a classic holiday recipe! It's a tea loaf, filled with chocolate and fruit. It's perfect topped with butter or made into french toast.
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Proofing Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American, Irish
Servings 12
Calories 232 kcal


  • Stand Mixer with dough attachment
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • 9-inch cake pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • Small microwavable bowl


  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened almond milk 90 degrees F.
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted butter melted or coconut oil
  • 2 1/4 tsp Active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp Turbinado sugar
  • 1 Large Egg at room temperature
  • 3 Cup Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Fine sea salt
  • 1/3 Cup Raisins
  • 1/2 Cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Egg wash:

  • 1 Large Egg white
  • 1 Tbsp Water

Chocolate drizzle:

  • 3 Tbsp Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the warm milk and the sugar and mix well, until the sugar dissolves. Sprinkle the yeast over top of the milk mixture and let it stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the egg, melted butter or coconut oil, 2 cups of flour, the spices, and the salt and mix until combined.
  • Continue adding the remaining flour, mixing with a spatula until a sticky dough starts to form.
  • Using a dough attachment, knead the dough for 4 minutes, then add the raisins and chocolate chips and knead for 2 more minutes.
  • Transfer the dough into a clean, greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
  • Place the dough in a warm, draft-free place to proof for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Once the dough has risen, punch it down and shape it into a round loaf, and place it in a heavily greased 9-inch cake pan.
  • Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and proof it in a warm, draft-free place for 35-minutes.
  • Near the end of rising time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Lightly brush the dough with the beaten egg white mixture.
  • Bake the bread in a preheated oven for 15 minutes and then carefully cover with aluminum foil, then bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. When done, the loaf will be deep golden brown on top, and it should sound hollow when you tap it.
  • Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to continue cooling.
  • In a small microwavable bowl, melt the semi-sweet chocolate at 30-second intervals until the chocolate is smooth enough to drizzle. Then drizzle evenly across the top of the slightly cooled loaf.


  • If you use instant yeast in the recipe, you don’t have to proof it in the beginning just add it in with your dry ingredients.
  • If you knead the dough by hand it will take closer to 10-12 minutes for the dough to be the right structure.
  • If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, combine equal amounts of your other spices to replace it.
  • Be careful not to overheat the chocolate because it will not drizzle if it overheats. 
  • Store this bread wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil in a room temperature atmosphere. It should last for up to 3-4 days. 
Keyword Barmbrack, Chocolate Barmbrack, Fruit Barmbrack, Holiday Bread, Irish Barmbrack, Tea Loaf

56 thoughts on “Chocolate Irish Barmbrack Bread”

  1. Way back in my college dorm days, one of my roommate’s mom used to make something similar to this. The only times we ever cleaned the apartment was when we knew she was coming around. Amazing how food can bring back such memories.

  2. 5 stars
    This is perfect! Would you like to share it in this post I was talking about for Christmas traditional desserts? I didn’t know which one was specific Irish and this sounds amazing, similar to the Italian Panettone, so perfect for Christmas. Please let me know what you think. Thank you and craving, as always, when you post a new dessert!:)))

    1. Thank you, Mihaela! I would love to include this recipe in your Christmas traditions article! It has a similar taste to panettone! I’ll also be sharing a recipe for that soon too. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I’m of Irish descent too, so I’m happy to learn about Barmbrack bread! And you know I love bread and chocolate – could there be any more perfect combination? This looks like such a delicious treat, during the holidays or any time really!

  4. Mmmm yum! I watch The Great British Baking Show and Andrew was my favorite baker from that season too! I can’t wait to try out this bread for the holidays!

  5. Pingback: Twelve Must-Try Christmas Treats From Around The World ⋆

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