450g/14oz plain flour
1tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1TBS sugar
110g/4oz sultanas

1 egg
300ml/1 carton of buttermilk
55ml/2oz water


Makes 1 loaf

  1. Preheat oven to 220c/425f/GM7/AGA baking oven, then roasting oven.
  2. Sift the plain flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and sugar together into a large bowl. Add the sultanas and mix really well with your hands, lifting up the flour and fruit mixture to add more air which makes a lighter loaf.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and fruit. Whisk the egg, buttermilk and water together.
  4. Using a wooden spoon or a knife, add the liquid gradually into the dry ingredients to form a soft, not too wet dough (you may not need all of the liquid).
  5. Turn onto a lightly floured baking sheet and make into a round shape. Cut a deep cross on top of the dough with a knife and then pierce the dough in each ¼ to let the fairies out! VERY IMPORTANT!!! Dust with some flour.
  6. Place on the top shelf of the oven for 10mins, then turn the oven down to 200c/400f/GM6 and bake for a further 35mins. AGA – baking oven for the first 25mins and then the roasting oven for the last 10-15mins until lightly risen, lightly browned and hollow-sounding when tapped underneath.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Think Ahead and Helpful Hints

  • This bread freezes beautifully. It also can be made a couple of days in advance.
  • If the bread gets a bit stale, do not throw away, toast it and you will be amazed at how good it tastes.
  • I always use some water to mix the bread as I think it makes a lighter loaf.
  • Mix the dough as quickly and as gently as possible. Do not over mix the dough as it can cause the loaf to be dry and heavy.