Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rainy Day Bread--Sally Lunn

In 1993, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and took a three-week trip to England, Scotland, and Ireland that was organized by our oldest daughter, Erin (our personal travel agent!)  One of the towns we visited was Bath, England.  There, we discovered not only a quaint hamlet, but a marvelous restaurant called The Sally Lunn House.
Our first lunch, when we arrived, was a light vegetable soup with these wonderful buns, known as Sally Lunn Buns.  Sally Lunn (whose real name was probably, Solange Luyon) was a French immigrant who came to Bath with her daughter.  This is a yeast bread, but with the addition of eggs, butter, and milk, it's very similar to a brioche.  Today, because it's rainy and chilly, I decided that baking bread was a good thing to start the day.  I baked the dough in my Pullman loaf pan, but you could easily divide it up into a large muffin pan and bake up the buns that are infamous.

Sally Lunn Bread
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 T (or 1 pkg) dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (about 110-115F degrees)
1 T granulated sugar

3 1/2 to 4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 + 1T granulated sugar

3 large eggs

To begin, heat the milk and butter in a small sauce pan over low heat.  You don't want it to bubble over, just heat up enough to melt the butter.  Once melted, remove from the stove top and allow to cool, slightly.
In a 1-cup measure, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and 1 T sugar.  Whisk to combine.
In a large bowl, measure 3 1/2 cups of flour and the rest of the dry ingredients--stir to combine.  Crack 3 large eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork.  Once the yeast has proofed (become bubbly), add it to the eggs.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk/butter mixture, then, add the yeast/eggs mixture and using a spatula, combine the ingredients.  This is going to be a "sticky" dough, but in my case, because of the rainy day, I ended up adding an addition 1/4 cup of flour.

No need to turn the dough out of the bowl, just make sure you scrape down the sides to clean it up a bit.  Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap--I sprayed the underneath side (that goes over the dough) with a little bit of baking spray so it wouldn't stick.  Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Butter a Pullman loaf pan and scrape the risen dough into it, smoothing it out to cover the entire pan.

You can dust your finger tips with a little flour to smooth the top, but I chose to brush the top with more melted butter. Cover again with the plastic wrap.

Let rise, once more in the pan 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  When it's almost doubled, set your oven temperature on 375F-degrees.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, watching it the last 10 minutes to make sure it doesn't over brown.  The internal temperature of the bread should read between 180-190F-degrees.
I turned it our on a bread board to cool, but could only wait about 15 minutes before I cut the end slice, slathered it with some peanut butter and listened to the rain coming down.

The texture of the bread is so soft and the crust is perfect.  I made sandwiches today--it makes great grilled cheese, but honestly, it makes some of the best French Toast I've ever eaten.  My sister also suggested that it would make great bread pudding, but that's if any if left over:-D Enjoy!


  1. I am so anxious to try the Sally Lunn bread! I bought the Pullman loaf pan especially to bake your White Sandwich loaf. I am really not a bread baker---just a wanna-be bread baker! But I had great success with the sandwich loaf and I have gotten a little confidence thanks to your really good directions and pictures!! Love you, Me

    1. Sis, I have every confidence that you can bake this as well as you have done English muffins and the white sandwich loaf! I think you can do everything:-D

  2. Honey, YOU NEED TO BE MY NEIGHBOR. This doesn't look difficult, but heck, if you lived next door I could come smell it baking and take home a loaf.

    I love Bath. I love everywhere we've been in England. So much fun.

    Sending love,


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I would gladly bake a loaf for you if I could come sit in your garden;-D I loved Bath and hubby says one day he'll take me back...I'm holding him to that promise.
      Congrats on the new book--I've ordered two for the grands. XOXO

    3. I have only recently come across your blog and love it.
      I come from Blackpool and as yet I don't have a blog.
      This recipe sounds great and I'm going to give it a go. Please can you confirm that T=teaspoon and what is all purpose flour. Here in England we have plain, self raising and strong plain (for bread making) flours.

    4. Hi Carol
      This is Susan's daughter, Erin. I lived in UK for a year study abroad in college and loved it!
      Plain flour is same as all purpose.
      T or Tbsp is Tablespoon
      t or tsp is Teaspoon

    5. Sweet daughter, thank you for answering Carol's question--you are now hired as a consultant to convert my recipes for all my European followers;-D Mom

    6. Thank you to you both. I am going to make this tomorrow ( Monday)

  3. Sally Lunn bread is delicious! The first time I ever had it was in Colonial Williamsburg. You can buy a loaf there that they bake in a bundt pan at the Raleigh Tavern. My mouth is watering thinking about it! Thanks for your recipe!
    Martha Ellen

    1. Oooh! Never thought of a bundt pan, but that does sound good. Note to self to try:-D Thank you, Martha Ellen

  4. Hi Susan...I'm about to become the proud owner of a gas stove and oven. I want to try this recipe as my very first for the gas range. Your recipes continue to amaze me. Oh, to be your neighbor and share a cup of tea and warm bread slathered with butter and jam!

  5. Yum warm bread from the oven....nothing better.
    stamping sue

  6. I must try this recipe - sometimes it is the simple foods which send my taste buds into a frenzy...this has done it for me. Thanks to Erin for the conversion information.

  7. Rip off Marha Stewart Much?

  8. Do you cook with the cover on the pan or off?