Cakes & Bakes: Bonnag

Sliced, home-made bonnag | H is for Home

A couple of weeks ago, we were watching an episode of Countryfile where they visited the Isle of Man.

Flour and cubes of cold butter in a mixing bowl | H is for Home

One of the features they did from there was the annual Bonnag World Championships – which, last year, was won by 11-year-old Tom Keig.

Bonnag dough | H is for Home

Bonnag is a traditional Manx bread which, it is believed, has been around for hundreds of years. It can be ‘plain’ as I’ve made here or can be sweet with the addition of dried fruit such as currants, raisins, candied peel and mixed spice.

Loaf of home-made bonnag | H is for Home

I went in search of a recipe but could only find ones with sketchy quantities and instructions. I guessed at the consistency and wetness of the dough. I thought it would be really similar to Irish soda bread in its ingredients and method. Anyway, it turned out really well. It was delicious straight from the oven with a smearing of butter!

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later.

Manx bonnag recipe | H is for Home

The national bread of the Isle of Man
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
  1. 450g/16oz plain flour
  2. pinch salt
  3. 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  4. 1tsp cream of tartar
  5. 60g/2oz cold butter, cubed
  6. 250g buttermilkHome-made bonnag ingredients
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  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a baking tray and set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients
  4. Rub in the cubed butter and make a well in the centre
  5. Pour in the buttermilk and mix until the dough just comes together
  6. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and form it into a ball. Do not over-knead
  7. Place the ball of dough on to the greased baking tray and bake for ¾ of an hour or until the top becomes golden brown
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack
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