English Sultana Bread


English Sultana Bread on a small white plate

English Sultana Bread cut into sciles

Written by McDonald, T.  |  Update 10 of March 2023    

This modern English bread is like a combination of Hot cross buns and Italian Raisin Bread.  It has big fat juicy sultanas with a subtle mixed spice flavour of Hot cross Buns and, let's not forget, a wonderful crust.  The bread is light and fluffy.  As it bakes in the oven, it releases a fantastic aroma into the kitchen and beyond.  Once you have made this bread, you can just cut a piece off and have it as a snack with some butter and jam.  Enjoy!


  • Hydration is at 71%. 

250g × 0.71 = 177 (3 s.f.)

  • You can make this with part wholemeal flour or even use all wholemeal flour; however, you will need to change the hydration in accordance to the flour you use.  Wholemeal flour tends to use more water so make it 72% then you can add more if you need too. 

  • Baste the top with a little vegan milk to help it brown.  

  • Yes, you can make it with all or part wholemeal flour.  
  • You can add some sherry to the sultanas when soaking, so part water and part sherry, just don't add too much!  If alcohol is out of the question, add prune juice or shloer to them while soaking.  This will add lots more flavour. 


  • 250 g sultanas
  • 6 g of dried instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp of softened vegan butter
  • 250 g of all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting (self-raising will do if you have nothing else)
  • 0.5 tsp of mixed spice
  • 0.5 -1 tsp of salt
  • 177 ml of sultana water (the water used to soak the sultanas) 


  • A loaf tin 11 × 7 inches (28 cm x 18 cm) approximately
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Dough scraper
  • Measuring spoons 
  • Wooden spoon
  • Spatula
  • A large chopping board


Step 1: Make the dough.

  1. Soak the sultanas in a jar with a lid in warm water and be sure the water covers the sultanas completely.  Cover jar and let rest for 2 hrs. 

  2. Add the flour, sugar, yeast and mixed spice to a large mixing bowl and combine with a balloon whisk.  

  3. Drain the sultanas, but keep the water.  Put the sultanas in a small bowl and leave in the fridge until needed.

  4. Either use 177ml of the sultana water and heat up in a saucepan, or use 118 ml and top up to 177 ml with hot water from the kettle.  In either case you must have 177 ml of water with a temperature that is at 38C/100F and no more.  Too hot and the yeast will die.  Too cold and the yeast will not rise. 

  5. Add the softened vegan butter to warm sultana water.

  6. Add the water to the flour and combine until soft, silky and elastic.  The dough is likely to be sticky, so use a large wooden spoon to combine the dough until the very end when you can start using your hands.  Work the dough in the bowl all the time until it is ready to go on a board.  

  7. Dust the board with flour and knead the dough. 

  8. Transfer back to the bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise (proof) for 2 hrs in a warm part of the kitchen.  

Sultanas soaking in water in a jar with a red lid.
Sultanas soaking in water.

Sultana water

Dough after kneading.

After proofing, it should have doubled in size.

Step 2: Add the sultanas and bake.

  1. Pat the sultanas dry and dust with a little flour. 

  2. Tip the dough onto a floured board and flatten out a little and make a rectangular shape.  Add about a third of the sultanas and fold them in by genitally pulling over the longer sides so they meet in the middle, folding over the ends as you go.  Genitally flatten out again and repeat for the other two thirds.  You should end up with a log shape.  Do it this way, so you end up with no sultanas poking through the dough otherwise the sultanas will burn when baking. 

  3. Grease a loaf tin and place the log in the tin.  Cover with a tea towel and let proof again for an hour. 

  4. Preheat the oven to 200C.

  5. Place the tin on the lower shelf and bake for 35–40 minutes.  The loaf should have a darkish brown crust. 

  6. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. 

Sultana bread dough with sultanas on
Ready for the first fold.

Sultana bread dough with sultanas on
Read for the last fold.

Sultana bread dough in a black loaf tin
After the last fold, place in greased loaf tin.
Sultana bread dough in a black loaf tin
After proofing for the second time.


Even though the shape is a little odd, I was pleased with the result.  It has a great crust and a beautiful texture and taste.  Inside, the bread was light and fluffy with plump juicy sultanas.

English Sultana Bread on a small white plate

English Sultana Bread on a wire cooling rack

Two sciles of English Sultana Bread on a wooden chopping board

I hope that you liked this blog and if you do try this recipe, please let me know how you got on and what it turned out like. You can leave a comment in the comments below.


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