I love working with yeast. Mixing and kneading and shaping. The way the dough feels in my hands. It’s very therapeutic. And don’t get me started on the smell of baking bread. It fills the whole house with calm and warmth.
Once you have your basic bread recipe you can do so much with it. Adding different flavourings and seeds or herbs.
I still haven’t gotten into the sourdough side of things though. A baker friend told me how to get a starter dough going, how to feed it and use it but it just didn’t work for me. Perhaps I’ll try again some day. In fact, I definitely will.
In the mean time, I’ve been going through this months The Cookbook Guru‘s book of choice – Elizabeth David‘s English Bread and Yeast Cookery. There are lots of recipes that take my interest in this book and because there is lots of bread already floating around the house at the moment, I thought I’d start with something sweet.
Chelsea Buns are something I have loved for as long as I can remember so why not take this opportunity to try my hand at making them?
First batch didn’t work out too brilliantly. I had a hard time getting the dough to rise the first time, so I gave up and put it in the fridge (it was getting pretty late in the evening by the time I did give up though) The next morning I took it out and left it on the bench for an hour to come to room temperature.
It’s winter here and our place seems to get really cold so that probably didn’t help with the proving. Anyway, I gave the dough another knead and continued with the recipe. The second prove worked better and the final product turned out okay except I over cooked them.
Oops. My bad.
After distributing my near failed first batch of Chelsea Buns to my family I started another batch….
To make 12 Chelsea Buns I used:-
275g bakers flour
20g castor sugar
115g butter cut into small cubes
8g dried yeast
40g butter – softened
40g brown sugar
5g mixed spice
In a small bowl mix together the butter, sugar and spice until well combined. Set aside.
1/2 Tbls milk
1 Tbls castor sugar
Heat the milk to just warm and add the yeast giving it a little stir. Set aside for a few minutes. It should come up all frothy. That means your yeast is alive. Hooray.
In a bowl mix together the flour, salt and sugar. Rub in the butter then pour in the milk and yeast. Mix together to form a sticky dough then tip out onto a lightly floured bench top and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put back in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. It could take and hour, it could take two hours (or, like my first attempt, it could not rise at all but lets not get into that.)
Once it has risen, turn out onto a bench top and give it another knead for a minute or two minutes then roll it out into a rectangle 20cm x 30cm.
Spread with the butter and sugar mix and sprinkle the currants evenly on top.
Take one of the shorter ends and fold it 3/4 over the rest of the dough and then bring the other end over to cover this.
Now turn the whole thing a quarter turn so that the long side is closest to you. (Gee, I hope that made some sense.)
Carefully roll out again to the original size rectangle (20 x 30 cm)
Now roll the dough tightly into a sausage shape starting from the long sides.
Phew, glad that’s over….
Cut into 12 equal pieces and place them a little apart on a baking paper lined baking tray and flatten slightly with your hand.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes to rise (or until doubled in size)
When ready, bake in a 210oC oven for 15 minutes until lovely and brown.
Heat the milk and sugar for the glaze until the sugar has melted and brush over the warm buns.
Then they’re ready…
Let them cool down slightly before gorging on them (though I didn’t). It’s just good manners right???
Yay for batch number two…