2 February 2013

Chelsea Buns

The last time I made chelsea buns I was at secondary school and made them in food tech; they were such a success that I went home clutching the recipe and insisted Mum take me to the supermarket immediately so I could make them again. I remember being given fresh yeast for free by the supermarket, my teacher told us they couldn't sell it to you so I wonder if dried yeast wasn't available over 10 years ago.

This time around I used dried yeast, but did make some other tweaks of my own, entirely due to eagerness to bake and lack of ingredients.

When Mum said she fancied something 'cakey and raisiny' this morning, I did my usual google images search for ideas and settled on making chelsea buns; the inside is filled with brown sugar and raisins, and pulled out my trusty 'Great British Book of Baking' for a fail-safe recipe.

It was only once I'd melted the butter into the milk (see recipe below) that I realised I only had 340 grams of wholemeal bread flour, not 450 grams of white bread flour. Cue a mild panic and decision to supplement the bread flour with plain white flour to make up the amount needed. This combination of flours, and the heavier quality provided by the wholemeal flour, which often doesn't rise as much as white flour, and not enough time for the dough to prove first time around meant the buns were dinky, but I prefer to call them 'bitesize'!

When I wrote up this post, I realised that I rolled by dough rectangles from end-to-end, i.e. from the short end up, but the recipe states to roll them from one long side like a Swiss roll - this is very likely another reason they were so teeny!  

Chealsea Buns (from 'Great British Book of Baking)
175ml milk
50g unsalted butter
450g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
3tbsp caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
1 medium egg
For the filling:
50g unsalted butter
75g dark muscovado sugar
150g dried vine fruits (raisins, sultanas, currants)
For the sticky glaze:
2tbsp milk
2tbsp caster sugar
2tbsp runny honey
*a roasting

1) Gently heat the milk and butter together until the butter has melted, then allow to cool until lukewarm.
2) Meanwhile, combine the dry bun ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
3) Whisk the egg into the milk and butter mixture, and pour into the well of the dry ingredients.
4) Using your hand, slowly work the flour into the liquid to make a soft, not sticky, dough.
5) Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead well for ten minutes - then return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave somewhere warm to prove, it should double in size and take around an hour.
6) After the proving time, punch the air out of the dough and split it into two equal parts. Roll these into rectangles measuring roughly 38 x 13cm.
7) Sprinkle the rectangles with the sugar, followed by the dried fruits and roll the rectangles from one long side like a Swiss roll, being gentle but firm to make tight scrolls.
8) Cut each scroll into 8 even slices and arrange in the tin for further proving - try not to let them touch and use extra tins if needed as, during the next 40 minutes or so, they'll almost double in size. Re-cover and allow to prove for around 40 minutes.
9) Heat the oven to 200C and uncover and bake the buns for 20-25 minutes until golden in colour; 5 minutes before they are due to 'finish', remove the buns and brush over the glaze (see next step).
10) Make the glaze whilst the buns are baking by gently warming the ingredients together without allowing the liquid to reach a boil.
11) Allow to cool before attempting to eat.

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