Jun 5, 2010

Sally Lunn Bread

Baking bread is sometimes an intimidating task but it can honestly make any meal go from good to amazing! At least in my family we like to think so. I would never survive on the no carb diet, as my meal is incomplete without good bread on the side.

Well the first time I decided I was going to make bread, Sally Lunn bread was my mom’s answer to an easy start. Not only is it super simple to put together but when it comes right out of the oven…it’s melt in your mouth delicious!

The other thing that makes sally lunn such a great bread is that you definitely don’t use a bread maker and you don’t necessarily have to use a stand up mixer. I admit that the mixer is definitely the easier route. However, when my boyfriend I started our home made cooking freshman year of college a kitchen aid mixer was not exactly something I had just lying around my dorm room. So we actually made sally lunn bread for the first time by hand in a big bowl and it turned out just as wonderful! So if you don’t have a mixer, your journey towards making fantastic simple bread does not end here: read on!

Before I get down to the details I also want to state the obvious and say there aren’t many pictures as of right now for the how to in making sally lunn bread. They’re on their way! I’m still getting into the habit of taking pictures while I bake/cook and the very next time I make sally lunn (which is very often!) I’ll have pictures to share.

There are many variations of the bread but this is what we use in my family and I promise you, it will not disappoint!


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 to 1.5 packets of yeast with teaspoon sugar and half cup of warm water
  • 4 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)

To start, you want to take 1 to 1.5 packets of yeast and let it sit in your mixing bowl with 1/2 cup of warm water and a teaspoon of sugar. By warm water, I mean you want it warm enough to activate the yeast but not scalding so that you kill it. I usually use the back of my hand to test the faucet water and call it a day when it’s starting to get hot to the touch. Once that’s all set, you want to look for small little bubbles to pop up in the bowl. They are small but they’re an indication that the yeast is doing its magic: it’s activated!

Yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar.

You want to let the yeast sit for a few minutes (~10 minutes) so while the yeast gets to work you can start putting the milk and butter together. You want to melt the stick of butter with the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and keep stirring it softly until the butter completely melts. It’s ¬†also important to make sure you don’t let things get too steamy, as your yeast will not be pleased with such a heat wave!

At this point, you’ve got your yeast in your mixing bowl, your butter and milk in the saucepan and now you need a third bowl for your dry ingredients. In this bowl, add the 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and teaspoon of salt. Mix it around a little bit and put it aside for just a minute.

Time to mix everything together! (If you’re using a mixer you can use the paddle or bread hook.) First add the milk/butter mixture to your yeast, and I like to turn the mixer on low to let everything combine a little bit. Then you can add the three eggs, one at a time. You want to speed up the mixer at this point just to make sure that the eggs are really mixing up with the other ingredients. Now it’s time to add the dry ingredient mixture a little at a time. You want to make sure that everything is mixed thoroughly however, the most important tip for making sally lunn bread is DO NOT OVER-MIX, DO NOT ADD FLOUR, and NEVER KNEAD!!! When you’ve added all the ingredients, the dough will be very sticky and it’s not going to pull away from the bowl and make a perfect bread dough ball, like some other breads. But for the first time during bread making: that’s ok!! In the case of sally lunn, you’ve done your job well!

Wet and dry ingredients combined.

Once you’ve got your bowl of sticky dough together things just get easier and easier. Just let the dough sit in the mixing bowl for one hour and it should grow some. I’ve had times when it grew a lot and times when it grew just a bit. Both ways though resulted in delicious bread. I told you this bread was stress free!

Bread dough after 1 hour of rising time!

So after the hour, you want to transfer your dough into a bunt pan that you have greased with cooking spray or butter. The bunt pan creates fun circular bread but no matter how non-stick the label says, if you don’t grease every crevice of that pan your heart will sink as you flip your end product upside down and your bread is STUCK! So really make sure the bunt pan is coated thoroughly! Once you’ve got your dough transferred to the bunt pan, you can cover it with a very thin dish towel and let the dough rise pretty much to the top. ¬†After that, it’s go time!

Bread dough transferred to bunt pan and allowed to rise to top of the pan.

Preheat your oven to 350 and pop your bread in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes. The top is going to get golden brown and you can always test to see if the inside is done by using the toothpick trick. If the toothpick comes out relatively clean with dry crumbs, not doughy crumbs, you’re DONE!

Let the bread sit for about 10 minutes in the bunt pan on a cooling rack and then comes the true test: will the bread come out of the pan in one piece!? I’ve made this bread so many times and to this day I still flip, close my eyes and hold my breath! Sometimes you think you had everything covered but that bunt pan can just be tricky. Now, if you flip the pan and your bread doesn’t budge right away don’t loose hope quite yet! I’ve used the tapping technique, very scientific I might add, where you do just that: tap all over the bottom of the pan while it’s flipped over. Sometimes the bread just needs a little coaxing I feel. Sometimes a little shaking or jiggle of the pan works but make sure not to do this too vigorously because your bread is still warm! You can also just turn it over and let it sit on its own. I’ve had one time where I did that, and I’m not kidding, five minutes later I heard a soft thud as the bread decided to leave its home in the bunt pan on its own time. Now, worse case is that part of it does get stuck. That’s not the most presentable thing to share with guests, but if it’s just you, sally lunn bread is going to be delicious no matter how many pieces it is in, so I say enjoy!

The last thing I want to share is in regards to different ways and dishes to use sally lunn bread. Of course you can eat it as a simple side bread to just about any meal but if you’re looking for the ultimate grilled cheese, sally lunn is definitely the way to go. Your grilled cheese will truly be on a whole other level if you use this bread. Now, I’ll admit that it takes a bit more patience than your average grilled cheese given the wedge shape, but the added care you have to put in pays off big time! Shred some good sharp cheddar cheese and with just a touch of butter for each side, you’ll have the best grilled cheese, perfect for a side to tomato soup perhaps?! My boyfriend was not the biggest fan of grilled cheese when we started dating. Instead he’d go for a grilled peanut butter sandwich. However, he took one bite of my sally lunn grilled cheese one day and that was all it took! He now LOVES grilled cheese and soup night! You can use sally lunn for any sandwich really. My mom would make my sandwiches for school on left over sally lunn and all the other kids would look at my sandwich as though it was something foreign but they just didn’t know what they were missing!

Another great way to use your sally lunn was something I tried out this past Thanksgiving. My parents were out of town and I unfortunately had to work black friday so my boyfriend and I made our first Thanksgiving meal together and used sally lunn for the bread in our stuffing. WOW!!! It was delicious and will definitely be used again!

So best of luck in your sally lunn baking adventures. For now, that’s Sally Lunn bread in the shell of a nut!!


  • Mmmmm I love these grilled cheeses! Sally Lunn bread is so great!

  • I finally gathered the stuff to make this, it is on my menu for tomorrow! I’ll let you know how it goes. I hope you are doing well Hillary!

Leave a comment