Chelsea buns

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I am a big fan of sweet buns. Whether they are plain, filled with nuts and fruits, cinnamon or chocolate and are often glazed with topping or icing. They make or a lovely breakfast or tea. Go to almost any part of the world and you will find a bun thats unique to that particular culture. Cinnamon buns, swedish buns, cream buns, hot cross buns, pain aux raisin, bun muska and many, many more. Everyone loves them. They are made with yeast leavened dough using eggs, milk and butter which produces a buttery, rich roll.

With a little planning, you can have warm buns straight from the oven and will never go back to the store bought kinds. These are traditional English buns, named after a famous 18th century bun house in London which counted the Royal family as one of its patrons. These small, soft, sweet buns are an English institution and made using flour, butter, milk and eggs. Its is filled with sugar, raisins and the dough has lemon zest, cardamom and cinnamon.

I learned to bake a batch from an Englishman, Chef Sim Cass, a truly fun and patient teacher. He expertly instructed us while we made the dough, rolled it out, filled and shaped it. I was taken aback by the quanitty of melted butter brushed on top of the buns before popping in the oven but kept my mouth shut to avoid getting made fun of by my fellow students. You sprinkle more sugar on the hot buns as soon as they are pulled out of the oven. We ate them still warm with cups of coffee while standing around our work bench and savoured every single, delicious bite. 

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Chelsea buns

- Recipe fromChef Sim Cass ,Institute of Culinary Education.

  • All purpose flour     765  gm
  • butter (at room temperture & cut into cubes)             200 gm
  • eggs                        140 gm
  • milk                          355 gm
  • salt                           6 gm
  • granulated sugar     130 gm
  • SAF GOLD yeast      14 gm
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • nutmeg powder     1 gm
  • melted butter        115 gm
  • currants or raisins (soaked in water overnight and drained)  170 gm
  • cinnamon              8 gm
  • brown sugar           170 gm
  • egg wash
  • granulated sugar for finishing

Method

  1. Add flour and nutmeg to a mixing bowl with paddle attachment. Add butter, sugar and salt to it and mix on low speed for 3 minutes. Continue to mix until the dough is sandy.
  2. Warm milk to 37 degrees C and whisk in yeast (the milk shouldn't be hotter because it will kill the yeast otherwise). Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl to break them and then whisk it into the milk-yeast mixture.
  4. Add the eggs-milk mixture with lemon zest to the mixing bowl. Switch to a dough hook and mix for 3 minutes on low speed. Increase to medium speed and mix for an additional 3 minutes. Now mix on high speed for 3 minutes.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest at room temperate for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Lightly flour your work surface and preheat oven to 204 degrees C.
  7. After the dough has rested and doubled in size, roll it gently into a rectangle (12 by 16 inches)
  8. Egg wash along one 12 inch edge
  9. Brush melted butter over the remained of the dough generously.
  10. Mix cinnamon and brown sugar in a separate bowl together, making sure there are no lumps. Sprinkle it generously over dough except the strip that has been egg washed.
  11. Sprinkle drained currants or raisins over dough on top of the cinnamon sugar evenly.
  12. Roll top over towards the egg washed end and tuck under and keep rolling. Seal at end. Elongate slightly to make sure the roll is even but do not stretch the dough. Roll should be around 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
  13. Cut slices about 1 1/2 inches apart and place on a parchment lined sheet pan, arranged tightly together.
  14. Brush tops with melted butter generously.
  15. Let it proof in a slightly warm place until it doubles in size. Approximately 45 minutes.
  16. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
  17. As soon as buns come out of the oven, brush the tops with melted butter once again and sprinkle granulated sugar on top to finish. Serve warm.