Fresh From The Oven – Chelsea Buns

I’ve been dipping in and out of the Fresh From the Oven group for a while now, and am thrilled to be hosting the October challenge.  Here’s the recipe I’ve suggested.  Why not have a go too?

I’ve got fabulous memories of making these during a school cookery lesson aged about 13, which, incidentally, is the age of my eldest daughter now. It was the first time I’d made a yeasted recipe on my own, and I had an amazing sense of achievement having finished them. It wasn’t as if I didn’t cook at home – I was always in the kitchen helping my mum or my nan, but it was the satisfaction of having made a family favourite, all by myself, that I still remember today.

When I was thinking about which recipe I would use I looked at my old school cookery lesson recipe and Liz Herbert’s excellent book Bread, which is published by Simon & Schuster for the Women’s Institute (of which I am a proud member). The following recipe is a combination of the two. I hope you have as much fun making them as I did.

PS The final addition of the icing was a request from the children!

Chelsea Buns

225g (8oz) strong white bread flour

25g (1oz) caster sugar

¼ tsp salt

25g (1oz) softened butter – this is for the dough

1 ½ 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 ½oz) light muscovado sugar

115g (4oz) dried fruit

Method

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.

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.

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!

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.

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° 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. Or, of course, if you’re my kids, cover them in icing first.

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