Antique Recipe: Sally Lunn

January 19th, 2009 by megan · 9 Comments

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This recipe is part of a new series here on Brooklyn Farmhouse that showcases ye olde recipes from antique cookbooks. When I graduated culinary school, my husband bought me a boatload of antique cookbooks to add to my budding collection. The books range widely in age – from the turn of the (last) century to the mid-1950s. Many of the recipes are interesting because they’re a bit unusual and uncommon, and I wanted to share some of them with you – with a couple of little tweaks, of course.

This recipe for Sally Lunn (yes, that’s the name of the recipe!) is from the Francis Parkinson Keyes Cookbook, dated 1955. Who was Francis Parkinson Keyes? Well, apparently she was a novelist and a senator’s wife and had political leanings that left a little something to be desired – which is why her novels haven’t really stood the test of time. Aside from this, her cookbook has some odd little gems and so I’m going to stick with her recipes and not so much her politics or her novels.

Sally Lunn is a sort of white bread, sort of brioche-y, sort of savory, and sort of sweet. It apparently dates from the 1680s. It’s a bit of an oddity, really. Hard to classify. But so delicious. It’s a really easy yeast bread to make and only requires one rise, right in the pan. I used a 12-cup Bundt pan, but you could use a tube pan or even two loaf pans. I also used cardamom sugar to top the cake-bread-brioche, but feel free to use regular sugar (or vanilla sugar would be nice, too).

Sally Lunn

Sally Lunn

Crunchy, sugar-y top of Sally Lunn

Crunchy, sugar-y top of Sally Lunn


One 1/4-ounce (7 gram) package instant yeast
2 cups whole milk, heated to almost boiling, then cooled to lukewarm (about 110ºF)
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cardamom sugar (or regular sugar)
Cooking spray

Special Equipment: 12-cup Bundt pan (or tube pan of equivalent size)


  1. Spray the Bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Add the butter, flour, eggs, and salt, and beat with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth.
  3. Pour the batter into the greased Bundt pan and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm, draft free place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the batter has doubled in bulk.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
  5. Sprinkle the Sally Lunn with the sugar and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  6. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, give a the pan a good rap on the counter, and invert onto a cooling wrack.
  7. Serve warm with jam, honey, cheese, or any number of delicious savory or sweet accompaniments.
Cut Sally Lunn

Cut Sally Lunn


Marc @ NoRecipes Jan 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm

What a fantastic idea. I’m looking forward to seeing all your antique experiments:-)

priscilla (a.k.a. aymagrup) Jan 21, 2009 at 11:11 am

Megan, I love this. I’m a huge fan of reviving the bundt cake and this looks delicious! Coincidentally I’ve been seeking out antique recipes too and recently received “Early American Cookery” by Sarah Josepha Hale, 1841 as a gift. Can’t wait to see more.

The Duo Dishes Jan 21, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Oh wow. We’re hungry for this.

Recipe Round-Up ~ Look at all the stuff I missed! — Sugared Ellipses . . . Feb 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm

[...] an antique recipe called Sally Lunn from the Brooklyn [...]

Kat Jul 9, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Wow, I really love this idea of looking to antique cook books for inspiration. history + food. I have an old hungarian book handed down from grandma, i love being able to reproduce her recipies I grew up eating.

Lynn Jul 16, 2009 at 8:27 pm

When I was in Bath, in England, there was a house just down the lane from my hotel that was called the Sally Lunn house. It was allegedly the oldest surviving house in Bath, and where Sally perfected her bun recipe. Dinner there was a Sally Lunn bun topped with any number of things – it was absolutely delicious. I’m sure that is where your recipe originates, and I’m looking forward to re-creating it here at home. Thanks!

Jo Dec 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Your farmhouse blog is incredible. I shall visit it often and try your recipes :)

The Holiday Book and Cook Blog Festival | One Writer's Way Dec 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

[...] Brooklyn Farmhouse: “Sally Lunn is a sort of white bread, sort of brioche-y, sort of savory, and sort of sweet. It [...]

Sally Lunn bread | Another Plain Cake Aug 18, 2012 at 8:48 am

[...] I like the slightly modernized recipe below, which uses a stand mixer. (If you’d like to try a version mixed with just a big spoon, as in olden times, try this recipe from [...]

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