Sunday, 13 March 2011

101 uses for a breadmaker - Chelsea buns

I've been in my new job for a week now, and I really like it, but it doesn't leave me much time for baking bread. - at least so I'm not taking it out of the oven at 11pm. So I have dug out my old neglected breadmaker and discovered that it has a timer. This means that I can throw ingredients into the pan in the morning before I leave, set the timer, and have the dough mixed and proved ready to take out, knock back, play around with and bake in a proper oven.

The first thing I did, just to try it out and see if the timer worked, was a malted grain loaf that turned out very well and we had the remains of it today for a much-needed sausage sandwich (to ease our alcohol-induced headaches). I'll post that recipe in a day or two; it's very simple and makes use of lovely malted grain flour. But today I'm sharing a slightly more interesting recipe: one for Chelsea buns. If you've never heard of them, and if you're not from the UK you probably haven't, this is what the blurb on Wikipedia says: The Chelsea bun is a type of currant bun that was first created in the 18th century at the Bun House in Chelsea, an establishment favoured by Hanoverian royalty and demolished in 1839.

Anyway here's the recipe I tried, and a very nice recipe it is too.

For the dough:
225ml milk

1 egg

500g strong white flour

1 tsp salt
75g caster sugar

50g softened butter

1 tsp easy blend dried yeast (the sort that comes in a sachet and probably says "suitable for breadmakers" on the packaging)

Put the milk and egg into the bread machine pan. Add the flour, then the salt, sugar and butter (keep the last three ingredients separate, in different corners). Make a well in the flour and pour in the yeast. Set the machine on the dough setting and press start.
(Of course, there's absolutely no reason you couldn't do make the dough by hand if you prefer, and leave it to prove in a covered bowl till doubled in size.)

Meanwhile make the filling:

25g melted butter
115g sultanas
25g mixed peel

25g currants or raisins
25g soft brown sugar

1 good tsp mixed spice

Mix all of the above together. Lightly grease a square or rectangular tin, I used a small roasting tin around 7" x 12".

When the dough is ready, knock it back and use a rolling pin to roll it out on a floured surface to about 30cm/12 inch square. Sprinkle the filling evenly all over the dough and roll it up like a Swiss roll (do you have those outside of the UK??). Cut into 12 slices and place them in the tin, cut side up. Cover and leave to rise again for 30-45 minutes. They should look nice and puffy. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Bake the buns. Now the book (see link below) says 15-20 minutes. In my oven, which is new and pretty accurate, it took about half an hour, so you'll want to keep an eye on them. The most accurate way to check if your dough is cooked in the middle is with a temperature probe/meat thermometer if you have one, and you're looking for 94ºC. Anything around 90º should be fine. If you don't have one, they should be evenly browned and should just look cooked! If they're starting to brown at the edges too much before the middle is done, cover it in some foil, this will allow it to continue cooking without it getting too dark.

When they're done, take them out, let them sit in the tin for a few minutes before turning them out, and get on with making the glaze:

50g caster sugar

50ml water

5ml orange flower water (optional; rosewater would be nice too, if you like it)

Melt the above together in a small saucepan till the sugar has dissolved, then boil for a couple of minutes until it's turned syrupy. Brush all over the tops of the buns.

Try and wait until they've cooled down enough that they won't burn your mouth before ripping them apart and tucking in. I lasted about ten minutes. So far I've eaten four! They're fantastic with coffee. And it goes to show that a breadmaker is good for a lot more than just making a white loaf with a big hole in the bottom :)

Apologies for the poor photos, it was very dark and I was on my way out so snapped them very quickly.

Recipe taken from
The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook by Jennie Shapter - a jumble sale bargain at 50p!


  1. I don't have a breadmaker but the buns look really good, I love how glossy they are! Think I would probably burn myself on them though, am always too impatient for things to cool down!

  2. You have inspired me to get out my breadmaker too! I forget what a fantastic job it does with sweet dough. I've never had Chelsea buns but they look amazing.

  3. Yum! They look delicious! I'm a huge chelsea bun fan, I even make chocolate ones (not traditional i know, but so nice!).

  4. Those do look smashing, might have to give them a go!

  5. Great photos!
    I could murder one of those round about now!

  6. Just done it, and the taste is fantastic! Thanks for the recipe

  7. Just made these!! They are simply fab!! Thank you! :)

  8. Minimal input and so delicious! I left mine to prove overnight in the fridge. Rested for 40mins on bench and then baked for breakfast.And btw I actually tried your recipe based on those pictures 😉


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