Brown loaf

Brown loaf

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(36 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 30 mins You'll have a baked loaf in 2 ½ - 3 hrs


Makes 1
Try this simple step-by-step brown bread recipe to make a seeded loaf or try one of three gorgeous variations

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per slice (20 slices)

  • kcal91
  • fat1g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs18g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre1g
  • protein3g
  • salt0.38g


  • 400g malted grain brown bread flour, or wholemeal or granary bread flour
  • 100g strong white bread flour
  • 7g sachet easy-bake dried yeast (or 2 tsp Quick dried yeast)



    Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soft butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 4 tbsp mixed seed (optional), such as linseed, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower, plus extra for sprinkling


  1. Mix your choice of brown flour with the white, the yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Put in the butter and rub it into the flour. Stir in the seeds if using. Make a dip in the centre of the flour and pour in almost 300ml hand warm (cool rather than hot) water, with a round-bladed knife. Then mix in enough of the remaining water and a bit more if needed, to gather up any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl and until the mixture comes together as a soft, not too sticky, dough. Gather it into a ball with your hands.

  2. Put the dough on to a very lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins until it feels smooth and elastic, only adding the minimum of extra flour if necessary to prevent the dough sticking. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with an upturned, clean, large glass bowl and leave for 45 mins-1 hr or until doubled in size and feels light and springy. Timing will depend on the warmth of the room.

  3. Knock back the dough by lightly kneading just 3-4 times. You only want to knock out any large air bubbles, so too much handling now will lose the dough’s lightness. Shape into a ball. Cover with the glass bowl and leave for 15 mins.

  4. Now shape to make a tin loaf Grease a 1.2-litre capacity loaf tin (about 23 x 13 x 5.5cm) and line the base with baking parchment. Using your knuckles, flatten the dough into a rectangle about 25 x 19cm. Fold both shorter ends into the centre like an envelope, make a ¼ turn, then flatten again into the same size and roll up very tightly, starting from one of the short ends. Roll the top of the dough in extra seeds and place in the tin with the join underneath, pressing the seeds gently into the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel. Leave for 40-45 mins, or until risen about 5cm above the top of the tin.

  5. Put a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven 20 mins before ready to bake and heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put the risen bread in the oven, carefully pour about 250ml cold water into the roasting tin (this will hiss and create a burst of steam to give you a crisp crust), then lower the heat to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake for about 30 mins or until golden, covering with foil for the last 5 mins if starting to brown too quickly. Leave in the tin for 2-3 mins, then remove and cool on a wire rack. If you tap the underneath of the baked loaf if should be firm and sound hollow.

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Comments, questions and tips

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12th Jun, 2020
Second time making this today, I doubled up to make a loaf for my parents. It always works well though this time was stickier so I added some more flour until it came together nicely. I knead with the dough hook on the mixer and this works well. Makes a really nice soft loaf, I use wholemeal with grains and seeds and is perfect for sandwiches. I slice on the day of baking and freeze in pairs.
Louisa Nicholas's picture
Louisa Nicholas
6th May, 2020
Made this today and it was delicious! Followed the recipe exactly, but am struggling to get fast action yeast so used dried. I weighed out 7 grams and added it to the water, gave it a stir then poured into the flour. It rose beautifully.
2nd Oct, 2018
The best bread I’ve ever made! I used malted granary flour and white flour. I doubled it up to make 2 2lb loaves. I added some caster sugar to the water (1.5 tsp per 300ml) as per the instructions on my tub of yeast. The instructions about shaping the loaf made all the difference- I’ve never done it like that before but I’ll always do this in future - a really great shaped loaf and beautiful even rise. I did slash the loaf lengthwise before putting it in the oven. I’ll be using this recipe many times!
20th Jul, 2017
Beautifully soft loaf. I added 1 tbs malt extract to the water and 1tbs maple syrup as well as linseeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I also replaced about 60g of wheat flower with rye. It was a really tasty loaf, perfect for sandwiches!
Ella Griffith
5th Jun, 2017
I used 200g white and 300g wholemeal but it was absolutely lovely. My family said it tasted as good as a shop bought loaf and the texture was really good as well.
24th Feb, 2017
Lovely brown bread, after rubbing in the butter I add a teaspoon of caster sugar, but that's just a taste preference. Bread tastes delicious and is lovely and moist. No more shop bought bread for us.
15th Jan, 2016
This is the 4th bread recipe I've tried. Really nice texture and flavour. I've tried it with two different flours, one whole meal and one granary, and used sunflower and poppy seeds with both. Both delicious. Instructions are perfect, no adjustments required. A little bit involved but well worth it. This is the winner and will be my staple recipe.
19th Oct, 2015
I've tried a few loaves of bread over the last few weeks and this is by far the nicest one i've made. I've made it three times and it worked well each time. It rises well and is very light.
daviesx4's picture
9th Feb, 2014
Great recipe with fantastic results. It get's a 5 star rating from me. Xx
12th Nov, 2013
Excellent recipe, so thrilled with the result! Has quite a few steps to go through, but none of which are particularly hard and everything is explained very clearly. My family got a shock when they saw this professional-looking loaf standing proud on the kitchen counter, especially when I told them that I was the one to make it...! I think baking this beauty will be a weekly fixture in my house


19th Jun, 2020
I don’t have any strong white bread flour, can I use all whole meal bread flour? Thank you!
lulu_grimes's picture
22nd Jun, 2020
Hello, You can use all wholemeal flour to make a loaf but you may have to adjust the liquid amount (you might need a bit more) and you will end up with a slightly denser loaf. It will still taste good! Lulu
4th Jul, 2020
Thank you! I used mostly brown with 50g of white plain flour and it turned out nice and fluffy just as normal so I was very pleased!
5th Jun, 2020
can I use fresh yeast and how do I adapt recipe?
lulu_grimes's picture
8th Jun, 2020
Hello, Yes you can. You'll need to use 30g of fresh yeast, mix it with some of the 300ml warm water (not too much, enough to dissolve it) and add 1 tbsp of the flour. Wait for bubbles to appear (you can add a large pint of sugar as well if you like) when the yeast is activated and then add this to the flour etc with the rest of the warm water. Continue the recipe as it's written. I hope this helps, Lulu
Ashish Bhagat's picture
Ashish Bhagat
24th May, 2020
If I replace butter with a dairy free spread, what effect will it have? thank you
lulu_grimes's picture
26th May, 2020
Hi, That would depend on the spread, it would be safer to use oil instead. Use an oil you like the flavour of. I hope this helps, Lulu
Raymond Wilby's picture
Raymond Wilby
17th May, 2020
We have recently purchased a new built-in NEFF oven which has a bread proving setting. Should I follow the instruction book rather than the recipe instructions when proving the dough. There is also a bread baking setting which is in-line with recipe instructions to finish the bread.
Raymond Wilby's picture
Raymond Wilby
17th May, 2020
During the current pandemic there is a shortage of yeast on supermarket shelves. However the in-store bakery are selling fresh yeast. How much fresh yeast would I need for the Brown Loaf recipe? I have read that you dissolve the fresh yeast in some of the tepid water & a little sugar, then after seeing the yeast action as started pour it into the flour, with the remaining water. Is this OK?
13th May, 2020
This bread is really lovely. The family devoured it!!! If I wanted to make it as a round loaf, is this easy to do? I am new to bread making and was delighted with this bake. Thank you so much


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