Brown Bread (Grant Loaf)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The famous "Grant loaf" created during World War II to enable English cooks to make a healthy, wholesome loaf with local wheat, instead of wheat imported from the United States. This bread is a staple at our house - excellent as toast. One of our favorite winter snacks is toast with sardines with strong tea, a meal that makes me think of the opening chapter of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 3 loaves
  • 3 pounds whole-wheat flour (the coarser the better, and it can be a soft wheat - not hard-wheat bread flour - my favorite in the United States comes from Hodgson Mills and is sold in our local supermarkets)
  • 3 teaspoons or packets of instant yeast (I buy this in bulk at Locke, Stock, and Barrel in Great Barrington)
  • 2 T salt (I use kosher salt)
  • 1-2 T molasses – optional (I never add this)
  • 4-1/2 cups warm water
  • Butter - enough to grease pans
  • Optional: sesame or other seeds.
  1. If itÂ’s winter and youÂ’re in a cold house: Preheat oven to its lowest setting. Add the salt and flour to a heat proof mixing bowl and stir well. Put the bowl in the warmed oven. When both the bowl and its contents are comfortably warm (but note hot), remove from the oven and stir in the yeast and salt.
  2. Melt butter and brush into three bread tins. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  3. Gently moisten the bowl of flour with the warm water until you have a soft sticky dough (too wet to knead).
  4. Plop the dough into the generously greased loaf pans. If you used sesame seeds, sprinkle the top with more.
  5. Set in a warm, draft-free corner to rise by ⅓, to the top of the pans – roughly 45 minutes, though it depends on the yeast and the temperature of the room, so keep watch – and preheat oven when bread is nearly ready to 375F.
  6. Bake loaf until nicely browned, about 45 minutes. Tap the bottom of a turned-out loaf. It should sound hollow. You can also turn off oven and leave the decanted loaf on the oven rack for 20 more minutes to develop a crisper crust.
Recipe by Karen Christensen at