Chelsea Buns

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.

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Oops. My bad.

Sooooo…

After distributing my near failed first batch of Chelsea Buns to my family I started another batch….

 

To make 12 Chelsea Buns I used:-

Dough:-

275g bakers flour

3g salt

20g castor sugar

115g butter cut into small cubes

80g milk

8g dried yeast

1 egg

Filling:-

40g butter – softened

40g brown sugar

5g mixed spice

50g currants

In a small bowl mix together the butter, sugar and spice until well combined. Set aside.

Glaze:-

1/2 Tbls milk

1 Tbls castor sugar

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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.IMG_1223

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.IMG_1243

IMG_1244Now 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.IMG_1226

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.

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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.

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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…

Enjoy…

 

 

 

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Fruit Plait

No big story this time.

I made this for after lunch at mum and dad’s.

It turned out really good so I thought I’d share. That’s all…

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Dough:

300g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp dried yeast

90g milk

60g butter

1 egg

80g castor sugar

Filling:

500g apples, peeled, cored and chopped

140g sultanas

175g brown sugar

1 tsp ground mixed spice

Icing:

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 tsp water

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To make the dough gently heat the milk and butter, either in the microwave or on the stove, just until the butter has melted. Leave it to cool slightly then mix in the egg. Place the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar a bowl. Pour in the milk, butter and egg mix and bring it all together to form a sticky dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Now make the filling by putting all the ingredients in a saucepan and cooking until the apples are soft. Leave to cool.

(I found I had to strain the filling a little once it was cooked and cooled)

Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle 35 x 20cm and spread the filling down the centre.

Make slant cuts in the dough along either side of the filling. Take a strip from each side and cross them over the filling to make a plait. Tuck the last two strips underneath and lightly press to seal.

Leave on a baking paper lined baking sheet in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake in a preheated 190oc oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Mix the icing sugar and water to form a smooth paste (I coloured half with a little food colouring) and drizzle over the plait while still warm.

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Slice and serve.

Enjoy…

Thoughts…..

You know, the one thing I love to hear is when people say they make things from scratch. image I met a cousin from overseas for the first time this week. We got to chatting, and she was showing me photos of all the lovely breads and pastries and pies she’d been making. Wow, they looked great. At first, she was making all these things out of necessity.  Where she was living, it was just to hard to come by things we see as staples and everyday foods. It didn’t take long for her to be hooked. Plain breads gave way to flavours of all  sorts.  The family were  cutting into pies  and tarts with delicious and healthy fillings.  There was freshly made biscuits and even cheeses. DSC02095 It really is great to get in there and get your hands all doughy  and messy. There’s nothing like kneading  yeasty dough into shapes and baking them. Watching them rise and slowly brown. The smell……wow! image True, the task may seem daunting at first, and there is always the time factor thing. But if you are able,  there is no limit to what you can produce. And you’ll always know whats going into what you’re eating. Very important. Very rewarding……. image image