I’m a little late to the Bread Baking Babes party, but better late than never. The Babes are celebrating 11 years baking together this month. Tanna at My Kitchen in Half Cups got hooked to the Great British Baking Show recently and picked Paul Hollywood’s Chelsea Bun Christmas Tree for us to bake. I didn’t want to miss out baking the anniversary bread and made some Egg Free Chelsea Buns instead.
So what is a Chelsea Bun? The Chelsea Bun is a squarish shaped currant bun of English origin similar in looks to the better known American cinnamon roll. It was first created in the 18th century at the Old Chelsea Bun House in Chelsea which also catered to nobility. Chelsea Bunns are typically made from a rich yeasted dough to which lemon zest and mixed spices are added. They’re filled with butter, brown sugar and currants, and glazed with a syrup of sugar and water after it is baked. Please see this post for more historical information on the Chelsea Bun.
Since February also means Valentine’s Day, Tanna suggested that we could adapt the month’s recipe around that. I took a look at Paul Hollywood’s recipe and thought it had too much going on. As mentioned earlier, Chelsea Buns are all about currants, raisins and some spice. So I decided to stick to that and keep it simple. Please see Tanna’s recipe if you want to bake the more festive one.
We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, so I chose to forego that theme. Also, we just lost our sister-in-law to cancer and weren’t really into celebration of any sort. So I picked another Chelsea Bun recipe, worked with that making some changes as I went. I did deviate abit from the chosen recipe but I did stay true to the spirit of it. A few members of my extended family don’t eat eggs so I made it egg free as well.
There’s lemon zest in the dough and it’s a great add to the buns. I kept the filling simple with just butter, some sugar, powdered cinnamon and allspice with black and golden raisins. No one here likes candied fruit much and to my mind it doesn’t sit well in these buns anyways. I left out all the nuts as well.
We aren’t strict vegans anymore but it has become second nature for me to use milk substitutes where I can. This time I used soya milk instead of milk. I did some research on how these buns are finished. I mean, are they glazed, or brushed with syrup, topped with sugar or with icing? It turns out Chelsea Buns should be sticky and shiny. Some versions have sugar sprinkled over this. They’re glazed drizzled with a mixture of sugar dissolved in water while still hot. This makes the water evaporate leaving the top of the buns sticky and shiny. I deviated a bit from this tradition and drizzled a little sugar icing over my Egg Free Chelsea Buns.
The Bread Baking Babes (BBB) is a closed group, but you’re most welcome to bake with us as a Bread Baking Buddy. Bake this month’s bread using Tanna’s recipe and post it on your blog before the 28th of this month. Mention the Bread Baking Babes and link to her BBB post in your own post. Then e-mail Tanna with your name and the link to the post, or leave a comment on her blog post with this information.
Egg Free Chelsea Buns
For the Dough
- 2 3/4 cups all-flour plus extra for dusting
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 3/4 cup milk or soya milk
- 50 gm unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest
For the Filling
- 30 gm unsalted butter soft at room temperature
- 1/2 cup black raisins or currants
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/8 cup golden brown sugar
- 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- !To Finish
- 1/4 cup icing sugar or a little more
- 1 tbsp water
- You can mix and knead the dough by hand or machine. As usual, I use my food processor and then finish the kneading by hand. Put the 2 1/2 cups of the flour into a large bowl. Add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other side.
- Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter is melted and the mixture is lukewarm. If the mixture is hot, let it cool till lukewarm. Pour this into the bowl. Add the sugar and lemon zest and knead the dough, adding as much flour as necessary a little at a time. The dough will be a bit sticky. Knead further by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic and just short of sticky.
- Place the dough into an oiled bowl, covered loosely, to rise hour until doubled in size. This should take about an hour and a half or so.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Lightly deflate the dough and roll it out into a rectangle about 20cm in x 30cm.
- Spread the soft butter all over the surface, uniformly. Mix together the sugar, powdered cinnamon and allspice and sprinkle it uniformly over the butter to cover the surface. Sprinkle the currants and golden raisins evenly over this.
- Starting from the long side closest to you, roll tightly towards the other side in Swiss roll or jelly roll fashion. Seal the seam well, with a little water if needed, so it doesn’t open up while baking. Trim the ends to neaten.
- Cut the roll, with a sharp knife, into 9 pieces of equal width. Arrange the rolls s on a well greased or parchment lined tray (21cm x 21cm or 8-inch x 8-inch) at equal distance from each other.
- Cover loosely and allow the shaped dough to rise for about 30 to 40 minutes. They should have puffed out and will be touching each other on the sides.
- Bake them at 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes till golden brown. Check after about 15 minutes. If they’re getting too brown, cover them with foil and then finish baking them. Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool slightly before transferring them from the tin to a cooling rack.
- In the meanwhile, mix together the icing sugar and water to make an icing that’s thick and of pouring consistency. Once the Chelsea Buns have cooled, drizzle the icing over them. Serve once the icing has set.
The Bread Baking Babes are –