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Fresh from the Oven – Chelsea Buns

I’ve been a bit lax with bread baking recently. Hubs has been working away a lot and most weekends we’ve been busy with friends and family. Also now that my job is all about food, I live and breathe it, I’m trying to find a hobby that doesn’t involve being in the kitchen. When Wendy from Quirky Cookies decided that this month’s Fresh from the Oven challenge was going to be Chelsea Buns I was secretly pleased and hoped it would kick my bread making mojo back into touch. Wendy is a cracking woman and fellow science geek. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her at a few Fabulous Places events and can highly recommend her Rocky Road. Get in quick though as it sells fast!

I got working on the dough while working from home. Straight after kneading the dough looked quite sloppy. I left it a few minutes and the dough seemed to magically firm and come together. In between costing recipes, sighing at how the price of ingredients seems to be rocketing and thinking of recipes for spring term I had this dough slowly rising. As the house was quite cold I gave the dough a quick blast in the airing cupboard to aid with the rising. What materialised was a beautiful, soft and silky enriched dough.

When adding the filling I used sultanas, candied citrus peel and glace cherries along with a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon. As advised by Wendy I also drizzled a small amount of icing on the buns once they had cooled. I have it on good authority from Claire at Things We Make that these taste superb warm from the oven. While I wasn’t fortunate to eat them warm they are still absolutely delicious with my 11 o’clock cuppa.

225g (8oz) strong white bread flour
25g (1oz) caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
25g (1oz) softened butter – this is for the dough
1 1/2 tsp fast action dried yeast
1 medium egg, beaten
90ml (3 fl oz) warm semi-skimmed milk
25g (1 oz) butter really softened, but not melted – this is for the filling
65g (2 1/2oz) light muscovado sugar
115g (4oz) dried fruit
1) Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAid as usual). Make a well in the centre and add the softened butter, egg and milk. Mix to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth. It’s at this point I remember how much I love my KitchenAid, and make myself a coffee.
2) Cover and prove until doubled in size. I find that if I’m in a hurry the airing cupboard can do this in around half an hour, and I’ve had no adverse side effects from quick proving so far. Generously butter and line a 7″ square tin. Make sure it’s not a loose bottomed one, or you’ll get problems later on and loose your filling.

3) Flour your work surface, and roll out the dough, (no need to knock it back) to a rectangle measuring about 12 x 9 inches. If you get the edges as square as you can it will help to make your buns look even, but I quite like the squiffy homemade look. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m damn well sticking to it!

4) Spread the softened butter as evenly as you can over the dough. Sprinkle the sugar and the dried fruit on top, and gently press it into the butter. Now, roll up the dough along the long edge, as though you were making a Swiss Roll (and don’t tell me you haven’t!) Seal the edge. I find that smoothing it down with the flat side of a paring knife can help here, but don’t get too ocd over this bit. Turn the roll over so that the seal is underneath and divide the roll into 9 equal buns.

5) Place the buns, cut side down, into the buttered and lined tin, and leave to prove until the dough has doubled in size, and they have all joined together into one big Chelsea bun muddle. I baked mine in a 180 degree oven, for about 15 minutes, but I’ve got a particularly hot and fast cooking oven. You know your oven better than I do, and I suspect most of you will need to set the oven slightly higher, and /or cook for a little longer. Some recipes suggest covering the buns with parchment or foil, but the fan is so strong in my oven this has never worked for me. Once cooked, cool on a wire rack, and eat them as soon as you dare.

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About the author

Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2010/10/28/fresh-from-the-oven-chelsea-buns/

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