The earliest recipe for Bath buns dates from
I discovered that Indian mukhwas, which are eaten after meals, are very similar to caraway comfits. Most mukhwas are made with fennel seeds, but they look exactly as the caraway comfits would have looked in the past. Pick out the white mukhwas from the box of multi-coloured mukhwas. Use the coloured ones for the Caraway seed cake.
Add the yeast to the lukewarm milk and stir briefly and gently to activate it. The yeast will start to foam up in clusters, which means it is ready for use. Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and put the butter on top. Pour half of the yeast mixture over the butter and start kneading. When the milk and butter are completely absorbed, add the rest of the yeast mixture, along with the egg, and knead for 5 minutes. Let the dough stand for a few minutes (at this point it will be very wet). Add the salt and caraway seeds (if using – mukhwas are added later because of the sugar coating). Knead for 10 minutes, scraping the dough off the dough hook and side of the bowl if needed, until the dough has come together in a smooth and elastic dough that is not too dry but also not terribly wet.
Cover the dough and set aside for 1 hour until it has doubled in quantity. Meanwhile, line a baking tray with baking paper.
Briefly knead the dough, adding the mukhwas (if using), and divide it into eight equal pieces. Take a piece of dough and lightly flatten it on your work surface, then pull the outer parts in like a purse and gently squeeze together like a dumpling so that the dough can no longer split open while rising. Turn the dough over so the squeezed ends are on the bottom. It should be nice and smooth on top – if not, flatten it and start again. Place the bun on the baking tray and continue shaping the other buns.
Cover the tray of buns with a light cotton cloth and wrap it in a large plastic bag (I keep one especially for this purpose). Rest the dough for 1 hour or until the buns have doubled in size. Towards the end of the resting time,
Brush the buns with milk, sprinkle with a few caraway seeds or mukhwas and
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