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Monday 16 April 2012

Baking for Beginners: Sally Lunn Buns

As I am a soft southern type, I had no idea what Sally Lunn buns were when a northern friend started banging on about how awesome they are. So I fired up Wikipedia did some very detailed and in-depth research, and discovered they're basically a brioche-style bun with dried fruit, topped with thick icing. They originated in Bath, but bring back a Proustian rush of childhood for all the northern men I know.

As with all the best recipes, their origins are cloaked in mystery: does their name come from "soleil et lune" (sun and moon) cakes? Or were they dreamt up by Miss Solange Luyon, whose name became anglicised to Sally Lunn?

Two things we can be sure of:

1) She wasn't this Solange (although I am quite taken with the idea of Beyonce's sister being a baker)
2) They are delicious, especially for afternoon tea. I've made buns, but you could make a loaf instead and eat it lightly toasted with raspberry jam.

Sally Lunn Buns (makes 10)

You will need:
  • 300g strong bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 30g butter
  • 200ml milk, gently warmed
  • 100g currants and candied peel, in whichever quantities you want
  • Icing sugar
Make it!
  1. Line a muffin tray with muffin cases.
  2. Put the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and butter into a large bowl and mix together. Gradually add the milk until it becomes a rough sticky dough.
  3. Tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until silky and smooth. Return to the bowl and leave to rise for an hour.
  4. Turn out the dough and knead in the currants and candied peel. Divide between the muffin cases, cover with lightly greased cling film and leave to rise for another half an hour. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then leave to cool.
  6. Make up a thick icing by mixing the icing sugar with water (no quantities here because you'll just know it when you see it. Go easy with the water, you won't need much). When the cakes are cool, dollop the icing on and wolf them down with a mug of Yorkshire tea.


  1. Oh my Goodness! A blogsite created just for me! Whilst blog-hopping ( in the interests of research, you understand) I saw your name 'DOMESTIC SLUTTERY' and knew I'd found a spiritual home!
    My mantra/ life philosophy is: "Housework? Sweep the room with a glance" and this has sustained and comforted me for many a long year. I don't live in squalor, I hasten to add, I just feel there are more rewarding things to become obsessively-compulsive about than house keeping. Books, food, music, fabric, the odd glass -that-cheers, friends - always friends, blogging (a new-found addiction).

    So having found you, I shall be back to check out what you other Domestic Sluts are up to. Oh, that reminds me - one of my favourite, somewhat elderly paper backs is The Slut's Cook Book by Erin Pizzey. I'm not sure it's even available these days, but it sums up this blog in a culinary fashion, it could have been written for you.

    Bye for now - I need to see to something.....and it's not the vacuum cleaner!

    1. Welcome Lynne! Have a poke around the site, I'm sure they'll be lots you'll approve of. And do join us on Facebook if you're so inclined -

  2. The Sally Lunn bun is basically just a plain brioche-y roll, the Bath Bun seems to be the fruity, iced one. At least, that's what the respective shops in Bath would have you believe :) in Sally Lunn's tea room and museum they're all just plain, but they get topped with different things. I suddenly feel duped by them!

    1. Aha, thanks for the extra info! Fruit + icing make everything better.

  3. I used to work at the Sally Lunn teashop in Bath (complete with daft hat) and I have to tell you there is no fruit in them, and they are much bigger. Like a very large bap. They sell them there with various toppings (cheese... cinnamon and sugar...) and yes Laura is right they are like a brioche bap. More here if you are really burning to know more...


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