Chelsea Buns

Chelsea buns are characterized by an egg-enriched yeast dough with a high butter content, which is rolled up before cutting. After baking this creates vertical concentric layers, that can be pulled apart as you eat them.

Ingredients

  • 75 g/ oz unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 150 ml/ ¾ pt milk
  • 550 g/ lb sifted strong plain flour, plus more for dusting
  • 85 g/ 3 oz, plus 1 tbsp sugar
  • 6 g/ ¼ oz easy-blend yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • oil, for greasing
  • 85 g/ 3 oz currants
  • 1 tsp ground allspice

Method

Melt half the butter in the milk over a low heat to hand-warm, and leave the remaining butter in a warm place to soften.

Put the buttered milk into a food mixer bowl with the dough hook. Switch on at the lowest speed. Add the flour, 45 g/ oz sugar, yeast and salt. Whisk the eggs and add, then work the dough for 10 minutes until smooth, shiny and elastic. Transfer to a large, oiled bowl, cover the top with cling-film and leave to prove at room temperature for 2 hours.

Cream the softened butter with 45 g/ oz sugar and reserve. Turn out on a floured surface and knead, shaking on more flour if too sticky. Shape into a brick. Roll this to a rectangle about the size of a Swiss roll tin. The dough is very elastic, so you will need to use plenty of flour. Spread half the rectangle with the creamed butter and fold the other half over and roll out again. Scatter over the currants and allspice, then roll up like a Swiss roll. Cut across into 3.5-cm / l½-inch slices.

Grease a baking sheet and put the slices on it, almost touching. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise again for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/ gas 6. The buns will have risen and will now be touching. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of caster sugar on top and bake for 15–20 minutes, when they will have risen further and be golden brown.

Remove to a rack to cool completely before separating the buns.

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