Although I’ve not come to the end of my Puff Bakery course yet – I’m taking a little break for a few weeks until I have more time – I really miss creating the delicious bakes from it. Having the baking itch, I decided to turn to my other trusty sidekick from the past few months, my Bread Ahead recipe book, and found a recipe for something that I love, but have not yet made – Chelsea buns.
Chelsea buns are made from a spiced, brioche-like dough, and rolled into a swirl with lots of brown sugar, mixed spice, and currants inside. Getting their name from the Bun House in Chelsea where they were created, they’ve been around since the 18th Century and were a favourite of King George III. They are delicious and something I’ve not eaten for years – I was very excited to get eating some!
I made the enriched dough the day before, leaving it to prove overnight in the fridge. The next morning I rolled it out quite thinly and spread over the brown sugar, mixed spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom) and sultanas, before rolling it back up, swiss roll style, into one big log. After firming up in the fridge for around twenty minutes, I got it out and cut it into smaller pieces, about 12 in total, placing in a tray ready for them to prove once more.
It was this second prove that things started to go wrong. My trays were either too small or too big for the buns and just not quite right. I opted for the big tray, and waited a couple of hours, as instructed by the book for the buns to start touching each other. Well, that was all well and good in the right size tray, but because mine were so spread out they turned into absolute monster buns! Seriously, they were bigger than the palm of my hand.
I was a bit frustrated that I’d left them rise too long without checking, but I wasn’t overly concerned. That was until I started putting the sugar syrup on, and the crunchy demerara sugar on top. I tasted one, fully prepared for a hit of sugar, but oh man this sugar high was something else. The sugar, combine with the bread, sent me straight to snooze-town.
They tasted really good, but I had to make sure I didn’t have any plans for the rest of the day before eating one as I would be totally useless. I put the majority of them in the freezer, ready to heat up in the oven at a moment’s notice for when the weather cools down, and I want to have a lazy afternoon with a bun and a cup of tea. Although I love them, I don’t think I’ll make them again, the sugar high is a bit too intense for me!