Nanny Bell’s Wheaten bread…




Sadly, I cannot actually number Jonny or his Nanny amongst my acquaintance (Jane Austen mode slipping in here…) I am however, very well acquainted with Jonny’s girlfriend, and now Fiancée!

First met her on the day of her birth; have worked, drunk coffee – and other beverages 😉 – with her Mamma on a regular basis; have watched herself and her sisters grow up into beautiful, accomplished young ladies and be launched into Society; that sort of thing.

That tenuous connection enables me to take the shamless liberty of sharing Nanny Bell’s recipe with you (truly, I have no morals – I am to recipes as Mr Wickham is to girls of large fortune).

I’m reliably informed that Nanny Bell makes The Best Wheaten Bread in Norn Irn, so let’s give it a go, shall we?


  • A large bowl for mixing
  • Two smallish rectangular loaf tins or one large, two-pound loaf tin
  • A weighing scales to measure the ingredients  – although I’m pretty sure that Nanny Bell just does this by instinct at this stage 😉

INGREDIENTS: Makes one monster loaf (see the notes at the end for timings) or two lady-like ones..

  • 425g medium grade wholemeal flour
  • 75g plain flour
  • 50g melted butter
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 10g of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teasp of salt
  • 600ml buttermilk


  • Heat the oven to 180 Fan.
  • Butter the tins, or be like me and use those ready-made liners.
  • Put all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and combine together

The yellow is the melted butter, on top of some of the buttermilk

  • add the melted butter and half the butter milk and mix in.
  • add the remainder of the buttermilk until the dough is easily pliable but not too wet.
  • Put the half the mixture into each tin, and cut a line along the  top of it, so that there’s a dip in the middle of the loaf – this will rise up and give you an even-topped loaf when it’s cooked.
  • Put the tins into the oven at 180 fan for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 160 for the remaining 45 minutes.
  • If you’re making the monster loaf, see the notes at the bottom.




  • As usual with Wheaten bread, when it’s cooked, the loaf should sound hollow if you knock on the base of it.
  • Remove it from the tin (it will slide out easily) and place on a rack to cool.


  • Serve sliced, with proper butter.
  • Offer up silent words of thanks to Nanny Bell … :)


  • Today I used the whole recipe in one large tin to make one big loaf – it required 20 minutes extra cooking on top of the times for the two small loaves, so: 10 minutes at 180, then 65 minutes at 160.  I covered the top with some crumpled tin foil so that the top didn’t get over-cooked.
  • Some people cover the warm loaf with a  clean tea towel while it’s cooling so that the top isn’t too crunchy, but I don’t bother with this.
  • I used light Muscavado sugar in this recipe because that’s all I had.  Although it’s utterly delicious, I think that it’s rather too sweet for me, so I might reduce the amount of sugar the next time. This will always be a personal thing, so see how you like it yourself.
  • Young Jonny! My compliments to your Grandmother!

I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

Posted in