Serves a Crowd

English Country Bread

April  9, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 1 loaf
Author Notes

This recipe comes from my aunt, Ann, who was a superb baker. Today is her birthday and I thought I'd honor her memory by submitting this "receipt", as she used to joke. It makes terrific toast. —Lizthechef

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is amazingly simple -- it's quite possibly the easiest bread I've ever made. Putting the bread dough together takes only 5 minutes. By combining boiling water and cold milk, Lizthechef creates an ideal temperature for the yeast to get to work and the dough rises in less than an hour. The recipe is so fast that I even made it twice to test the difference between active dry yeast and instant dry yeast. I preferred the results with instant, but the active also worked. The bread only takes 25 minutes to bake, but that's plenty of time to fill the house with the wonderful aroma of baking bread. I'd recommend the recipe as an easy way to bake bread when you are short on time. You could whip it up in the morning and have it warm with a little butter and jam for breakfast. - Stephanie —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups unsifted, unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup boiling water.
  • 1/2 cup cold skim milk
  1. Stir dry ingredients together and set aside. Add boiling water to cold milk in a large bowl. Add half the flour mixture and beat well by hand. Stir in the rest of the flour mixture. You will have a stiff batter.
  2. Turned the batter into a greased loaf pan. Cover with a clean towel and allow to raise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Makes about 20 thin slices.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lizthechef
  • FoodFanaticToo
  • Swimkitty
  • kerrylow
  • drbabs

33 Reviews

Patricia March 11, 2016
This bread is just fantastic. I like to make a few different breads every "bread-making day," - so I have as election in the freezer, but this one is now always included. Last time, I used the formula found here on food52 to make a graham flour version. It worked perfectly and is delicious toasted and drizzled with runny honey!
Shell P. August 23, 2015
Let me preface this by saying I have never made bread in my life. I decided to give this a try just to see how it turned out, so I wasn't dedicating hours to something that didn't work. It was amazingly easy, and delicious! I used three small loaf pans, when sliced sideways each one made enough for two sandwiches (I only cook for two). The third I saved and tried as toast with this morning's good! I'm so used to the thin, sugary American white bread, this was so much better! It did have a bit of a thick dough while I was making it, but next time I'm going to do as another poster said and try measuring my flour in grams instead of by the cup. I look forward to making a full size loaf of this and having some turkey/brie/cranberry sauce sandwiches during the holiday!
Chris June 9, 2015
I am so happy I found this recipe! It's so easy and works every time! I don't have a bread loaf pan so I just bake the bread on a baking sheet. I also tried giving the dough a second rise just to see the difference (I punched it a few times on the baking sheet after the first 45' rise and then left it there for another 30-40'). With the second rise the bread came out less dense and kind of foamy, which I didn't really like, although it still made perfect toast! I can't wait for our loaf to finish so that I can bake a new one! Thank you!
Gary June 21, 2014
Been trying to figure out why some folks get a batter and some of us a soft dough. When I scoop a cup of flour, it weighs 140gr. According to baking sites on the internet, it should weigh 120gr. This is a difference between a 70% hydration level and 80%. Next time I'll weigh 360g flour and 290g of liquid and bet it's more like Lizthechef described.
Gary June 21, 2014
Just made this bread again and it does have a very nice flavor and crumb. Again, it takes a light knead using these proportions. I used bread flour and table salt. What I really like is how easy it is to make without a mixer, dough hook or doing any real kneading.
Lizthechef June 21, 2014
Thanks - folks either love it or hate it - I love it.
Kim June 21, 2014
This is delicious. Very quick and easy, and I agree that this makes great toast.
Gary April 21, 2014
Nice bread recipe although I too found the mixture more like that of a wet dough than a batter. I let it rise in the bowl for 45 minutes and then stretched and folded it four times to help the gluten develop. Then roughly shaped the loaf and let it rise in the loaf pan. Dusted the top of the risen loaf with flour and baked as directed. Nice flavor and crumb, although I will use regular rather than Kosher salt next time.
Lizthechef January 7, 2014
I still shake my head at folks' strong reaction(s) to this recipe. Works for me and glad you liked it, Emily.
Emily January 7, 2014
This recipe was fantastic. I followed it exactly and it came out perfect. I added about a 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon to the bread dough and served with honey brown butter for some great weekday toast. It would also be great with other herbs and spices (I plan to try cardamom and sage next).
FoodFanaticToo March 10, 2013
This is delicious and exceptionally easy! Thank you for sharing your Aunt's recipe. I've been craving this sort of bread for over two decades -- as long as I've been part of my partner's British family -- and have never found the "right" recipe, until now. The crust is crispy, and the bread itself is substantial and dense, just how I like it. I would not call the unbaked preparation a "batter", as mine was very stiff and I had to knead the last of the flour in. I could not believe how fast this recipe was from start to finish! I think it will become a Standard recipe in our house. Next loaf will be made with whole wheat bread flour...
Lizthechef March 10, 2013
Thanks so much - people either love this or hate it - never had so many differing opinions on a recipe I submitted.
Swimkitty February 25, 2013
Fantastic recipe. I made English muffins out of this dough. I felt since I had to griddle cook the muffins that I add around a tablespoon of organic cannola oil to prevent drying. They rose beautifully and were not as 'hole-y' but I was pleased. A huge time savings as well. Oh, I used quick-rise yeast. Thank you.
Lizthechef February 25, 2013
A great twist to my aunt's recipe - I will have to try this - thanks.
kerrylow July 7, 2012
just want to say that i've made this tons of times - with various flour mixtures - and it always works! I usually add some spices/herbs/pesto/sun-dried tomatoes. very flexible!
Lizthechef July 7, 2012
Glad you liked it - people either rave about it or hate it.
stevea66 February 19, 2012
This is not a batter bread. Even with vigerous kneeding, the dough would not accept all the flour. This recipe sounded like it should be a spoon bread but was not. Seeing as the yeast had to be added to the dry ingrdients and all the flour couldn't be incorporated, makes me wonder what my bread is going to turn out like. I make bread all the time, that's all we eat, and thought this might be a quick bread. I'll go back to my old recipe.

Lillasyster January 29, 2012
Bread makes me nervous but I thought to try this recipe out; so simple how could I go wrong, right? I forgot the sugar (my poor staving yeast) but forged ahead anyway. Then I lost the bottom crust (stuck to the bottom of the pan). Despite the mishaps, my daughter declared it "Delicious!".

So Thank You for sharing this simple, forgiving bread recipe.
Susan January 27, 2012
What a clever recipe! I'm wondering, have you ever tried giving the bread a second rise? How did that turn out?

Thanks for this, Lizthechef!
Lizthechef January 27, 2012
Nope - give it a shot...
drbabs September 28, 2010
Hi Liz. My project for the fall and winter is to learn to make bread, and I decided to start with your recipe. I used 2 cups whole wheat flour and one cup of white flour. It was as easy and everyone says it is, and it is really delicious with a nice crumb and a crackly crust. Thanks for a great recipe!!
Lizthechef September 28, 2010
I hope MyCommunalTable sees your comment - thanks, drbabs!!
MyCommunalTable September 27, 2010
Love this recipe. I have a big bag of dry yeast. How much yeast is in a packet? two or three teaspoon? Have you ever used part whole wheat flour? Saved and I will make it.
Lizthechef September 28, 2010
Net weight for one packet is 1/4 oz. I have never mixed in ww flour - see my whole wheat bread recipe? Mixing flours in bread recipes can be tricky and I am no expert.
drbabs September 28, 2010
LOL--I tried it and it came out fine; I figured the worst thing that would happen is that I'd throw it away. I would have liked a little more sweetness in the WW bread and was thinking to add honey next time--but I'm sure that could throw the whole chemistry off.
MyCommunalTable September 28, 2010
Hey thanks, Liz and Drbabs! I am going to be a total radical and make this with partial whole wheat flour and bread flour, then use rice milk because of my sons allergies. I will let you know how it turns out. I do know that honey placed in the yeast and water in my pizza dough recipe is suppose to help feed the yeast. We will see. Looks like a great recipe. Good foundation to start with. I love the idea of the hot water and cold milk. I will let you all know
Lizthechef September 26, 2010
This is an easy recipe for a first-time bread-baker. Would make a great sandwich for this week's theme...
matthewddsg September 26, 2010
I baked this today; it was officially my first successful load of bread. Thanks so much the easy and tasty recipe!
Lizthechef September 26, 2010
Thank you for making my day, no, my weekend!!