Sally Lunn Bread


We all have our insecurities.  Since I pay money to rent this space on the internet, I’m going to tell you all about mine.  Lucky you!

I become insecure when I learn about a classic Southern dish of which I’ve never heard.  My blood rushes to my face, my palms clam up, and I try to shrug it off but can’t.

I feel like my entire upbringing is called into question when I learn that fellow Southerners have been enjoying a certain dish without me.  I doubt my worth as a Southern woman.

This is one of the many reasons I’m considering a ‘made in Texas’ tattoo in a prominent place on my body.  (Don’t gasp, Dad, I’m 29 and can do these sorts of things now!)

When I found out about the Southern dessert Mud Hens from my Alabama friend Christy, I rushed home to make them. And now I talk about them at parties like I’ve always had them and anyone who’s never had a mud hen is deranged.  True story.

I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that the South has so many great recipes that a few slip through the cracks every now and then.

Sally Lunn bread is one of those recipes that fell through the cracks.


This bread is soft like a quick bread and has the yeasty flavors reminiscent of beer bread and brioche.  Also:  no kneading required. Consider me swooned.

Please, for the love of all the things, don’t leave me comments telling me that you’ve always known about Sally Lunn bread, and I’m clearly deranged and raised by ill-fit parents since my upbringing did not include it.  My self confidence just can’t handle it right now.

I made Sally Lunn bread the same day I found out about it.  And in my great big rush, I didn’t scale it down for two.  The original plan was to scale it down for two.  Then, I tasted it.  We discovered a full-size bundt pan does indeed serve two when it comes to this rich bread.


I don’t want to jump ahead of the game here, but I want to say that recipes like this are the reason that we are only considering cities south of the Mason-Dixon for our upcoming move.  One bite of this bread and you’ll understand why.

THANK YOU for all of your kind wishes on our news that we’re moving.  I couldn’t do this without y’all.  Seriously.  XO

P.S. Check out my ‘day in the life’ feature over on Rachel Cooks today!

Sally Dunn Bread
Yield: 1 10" tube pan, serves 8-10
  • 1 cup warm whole milk (100°-110°F)
  • ¼-oz envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  1. Spray a 14-cup large 10" tube pan very well with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the warm milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Stir together the flour, ¼ cup sugar and salt in a large bowl. Separately, stir together warm water and baking soda. Add this to the flour mixture and stir in the yeast mixutre too. Finally, stir in the melted butter and beaten eggs.
  4. Spoon the batter into the tube pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a place that is 80-85 degrees. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1-2 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 towards the end of the rise time. Carefully place the pan in the oven (be gentle!). Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Remove and let cool entirely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
Recipe from Southern Living, October 2013 issue.





  1. says

    I’ve never had Sally Lunn bread, and I don’t have a recipe from Ma-Ma for it either. I don’t know if that makes you feel better or not. I also don’t know about Mud Hens. I’m going to assume that this is all regional stuff. I would move south of the Mason-Dixon line, too. Just don’t write about how warm it is in winter, ok?

  2. says

    Wow, I never knew Sally Lunn Bread was popular in the South! Growing up in Michigan, Sally Lunn Buns and Bread were baked and enjoyed. It is an English bread. Sally Lunn Bread must be like how Kolaches are known in the Northern parts of the U.S., but Texans sort of adopted them based on their incredible popularity with their festivals. So interesting! Thanks for sharing, Christina!

  3. says

    Well I’d say you did well here my southern friend… Not everyone knows about Sally Lunn Bread.. My grandma swears it ain’t southern but it’s so good it has to be.. :)

  4. says

    If it eases your Southern mind at all, Sally Lunn bread is more of a colonial thing than a Southern thing you missed out on. They have a recipe in Olde English they supposedly bake it from in Colonial Williamsburg and some people say it was George Washington’s favorite breakfast treat (though he was a Virginian, so I guess that’s still Southern). There’s a version called Sally Lunn Buns in UK, too, and a French version called solilemmes.

  5. says

    OMG, I know that feeling SO well. And I just had it over mud hens, because I’ve never in my life heard of those. I have the post open in a second tab to read after I leave this comment.

    Secondly, true story, the first time I had Sally Lunn bread was in Philadelphia, at the city’s oldest restaurant – so I had NO idea that this is considered a Southern thing. Maybe some Southerners are claiming it, not realizing that it’s actually a French/English creation? Origins actually seem to be from Bath, England. I remember looking that up after the first time I had it, because I too fell in love. And you’re absolutely right – a whole bundt cake is definitely a 2 person quantity when it comes to this stuff.

  6. says

    I’ve never heard of this bread, but any Southern food we’ve tried, we’ve loved!! I call Christopher “my southern gentleman”, because after visiting New Orleans, we realized we belong there, and he’s convinced he should have been born there :-) We’re excited to visit other parts of the southern US.

  7. says

    I get the same way about root vegetables. If someone whips up some crazy awesome root veggie concoction, I go to crazy jealous-ville…so I get it, my friend…I get it ;) My philosophy on life is when given the opportunity to use a bundt pan, use it. I love bundt cakes..LOVE them…and I had never heard of Sally Lunn bread so I’m dying to bake ‘er up!

  8. ChristineM says

    that bread looks so darn good…. that would be a meal for ONE in my house! LOL…. just read your interview, how wonderful you start off each day with reflection and calmness…. I will have to try that!

  9. says

    I feel similarly when I hear about Italian dishes that I’ve never had. It’s like…what were my parents thinking?! If it makes you feel any better, I’ve never had Sally Lunn bread. Though…that might just change this weekend!

  10. says

    Christina, if it helps to assuage your insecurities, several “vintage” church ladies and I were discussing an upcoming “bring your best baked good” event and I said I wanted to make a Lane Cake because it’s supposedly the hallmark of Southern bakers (right up there with Coconut Cake and Red Velvet Cake). Blank stares. When I described it, they said, “Oh, we just call that cake with raising filling.” :)

  11. says

    I constantly feel the need to prove myself as a Philadelphian… Always. Despite the fact that I haven’t lived in Philadelphia for four years. I get offended when my authenticity is called into question but really, it’s also the same deep-seeded insecurity that you face about your southern roots! However, I view you as one of those sassy yet sweet southern gals through and through so no worries! :) Also, this bread looks delicious! So simple yet satisfying.

  12. Bob says

    I only heard of this bread recently, from a friend in Virginia. So it definitely exists in part of the South, though my mom’s from Charlotte and I’d never heard of it. I’ll have to ask her if she knows about it. Anyway, there’s a lot of South, and it’s not at all homogenous, so as a Texan I don’t think there’s any reason to be upset! Just look at all the different takes on what barbecue is…no unanimity there!

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