As I recently was gifted a stand-mixer with a dough hook, I’ve been so excited to make anything which requires kneading! I thought I’d make something with local history linked to where I’m currently living in London. In fact the Chelsea bun was first created around 1700 at the Chelsea Bun House – a bakery in London, which is roughly between Pimlico Road and the Royal Hospital Road.
Making Chelsea Buns is quite time-consuming, but these beauties are worth every minute of effort as they’re always so well received and gobbled up immediately – plus they make your kitchen smell incredible!
For the dough:
· 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
· 2 x 7g sachets fast-action yeast
· 50g golden caster sugar
· 1 beaten egg (leave out for a vegan version – it doesn’t affect the dough too much, it just makes it less cake-like)
· 150ml warm milk (use almond milk if vegan)
· 50g unsalted butter – melted - plus extra for greasing (could also use vegan butter alternative)
For the filling:
· 25g softened butter, plus a little extra for greasing the tin
· 150g sultanas
· 2 tsp mixed spice
· 25g golden caster sugar
For the glaze:
2 tbsp honey + 1 tsp water (could replace honey with date syrup if vegan)
1. Start by making the dough. Mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and 1 tsp sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Then make a well in the centre of the dry mix and pour in the warm milk, beaten egg and melted butter.
2. Mix this very thoroughly - first with a wooden spoon then with your hands until you get a soft dough. (If it feels dry add a bit of warm water, but if it feels too sticky and wet add a spoonful of flour).
3. Next dust your work surface with flour and tip the dough onto it and start kneading until it feels smooth and elastic. Or if you have a stand-mixer or bread-maker, place it on a low setting and let the machine kneed it for 5 minutes.
4. Shape into a ball and sit it in a clean bowl, lightly greased with oil. Cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
5. Heat your oven to 180C and grease a deep 21 x 21cm square tin. Dust your work surface with a little more flour then start to knead the risen dough on the prepared surface for a couple of minutes - just to knock the air out. Shape the dough into a 20 x 30cm rectangle.
6. To fill the buns gently spread the softened butter over the dough and then scatter the sultanas over the top. Mix the mixed spice and caster sugar together in bowl then sprinkle that over the dough in an even layer.
7. Roll the dough up in a tight spiral from the longest edge like a Swiss roll and then slice into 9 equal sized swirled buns. Arrange them in the tin, cut side up, then cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for around 30 mins or until doubled in size.
8. Next, place the buns in the oven and bake for about 15 mins until the top has gone a dark brown. Now for the glaze, honey with 1 tbsp water until it has dissolved then brush it all over the buns as soon as they are cooked / you remove them from the oven.
9. Leave them to cool in the tin for 10 mins before serving either hot or cold, but always with a warming cup of tea! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.