Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s iconic River Cottage beer bread recipe – ‘Quick and easy’

Charles and Camilla visit the River Cottage

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Celebrity chef and television personality Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has the perfect recipe to make bread with a difference. If you’re looking to jazz up a basic loaf, his festive fruity walnut beer bread is quick to make and tastes delicious. 

The bread takes only 20 minutes to prepare. 


350g white self raising flour, plus extra to dust

150g wholemeal self-raising flour

Two tsp salt

One tbsp caster sugar

Two handfuls raisins and/or sultanas

One handful walnuts, roughly chopped

500ml beer or lager

Butter to grease


1. Preheat an oven to 180C. 

2. Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt and sugar. 

3. Stir in the raisins/sultanas and the walnuts until well combined. 

4. Open the beer and pour into the bowl, mixing as you pour until all the beer has mixed into the flour.

Grease the sides and base of a 2lb (900g) loaf tin. 

5. Dust in flour and shake out any excess.

6. Pour the batter into the loaf tin (the batter will be alarmingly loose, this is correct!) and transfer to the preheated oven. 

7. Bake for one and a half hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

8. Once cooked remove from the tin and transfer to a wire rack for cooling. This can be eaten warm or cold and will last a couple of days in a sealed container. Ideal to eat with cheese.

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Several people have had a go at making Hugh’s River Cottage beer bread. 

On a food blog, one commented: “Made this and it’s absolutely delicious. I like it as it is and I like it toasted.” 

Another wrote: “It’s really nice with added pumpkin seeds quick and easy.” 

A third added: “No rise and no knead! This is technically the first bread I’ve ever made by myself.” 

The recipe is taken from Channel 4’s River Cottage: Three Go Mad Christmas Special. 

It is available on the River Cottage website too. 

Hugh is a multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food and his concern for the environment. 

He has earned a huge following through his River Cottage TV series and books. 

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