Chelsea Buns & How To Make Them

Chelsea Buns were first made around 1700. They must be good because they are still being made today! But have you tried making them yourself? Try this recipe and I doubt you’ll want a shop bought one again.

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Chelsea Buns Recipe

Chelsea Buns may look difficult to create but trust me, they are not. All you need is patience and a desire to create these delicious buns. This recipe makes 12 buns.

Ingredients

  • 700 g Plain or Strong White Flour
  • 5 g Salt
  • 55 g Caster Sugar
  • 250 ml Tepid Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 60 g Melted Butter
  • 25 g Fresh Yeast
  • 25 g Caster Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Curd (diluted)
  • 125 g Raisins
  • 75 g Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 40 g Granulated Sugar

Method

  1. Place the flour, salt and sugar (55g) into a machine mixing bowl and blend lightly.
  2. In a jug, whisk together the milk, eggs and melted butter.
  3. In a small dish add the yeast and sugar (25g) and work the yeast until it becomes a liquid.
  4. Add the worked liquid yeast to the milk and mix well.
  5. Add the liquid to the flour and using a dough hook, mix the ingredients together until the dough leaves the side of the bowl.
  6. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Form into a ball and place the dough back into the machine bowl. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to prove and double in size in a warm area, for 2 hours.
  7. After 2 hours, transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll to flatten to a thickness of approximately 1 cm.
  8. Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  9. Mix the raisins, sugar (75g), cinnamon and mixed spice together.
  10. In a cup, mix the lemon curd with 1 tbsp of hot water. Paint the entire surface of the dough with the diluted lemon curd. Then sprinkle the dried fruit mixture over the entire surface of the dough.
  11. Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the dough away from you until it looks like a Swiss roll shape. Then divide the entire length of the dough into 12 equal pinwheels.
  12. Place the pin wheels (cut side up) into a deep non-stick baking pan, positioning 4 x 3. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm area to prove for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until they have doubled in size and joined together.
  13. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush lightly with tepid water and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Allow to cool. Separate the buns by gently pulling apart.

What is a Chelsea Bun?

Simply put, a Chelsea Bun is a type of currant bun. It is made of a rich yeast dough flavoured with lemon peel, cinnamon or mixed spice (Wikipedia).

History of the Chelsea Bun

There is an interesting article by Sejal Sukhadwala which looks at the history of the Chelsea Bun. Briefly, this bun was first created at the Chelsea Bun House on the Chelsea / Pimlico borders. According to legend, on the first day that it was sold 50,000 people queued up to buy one.

Even Hanoverian royalty were fans of the Chelsea Bun. A local poet, also a fan of the buns, wrote:

Fragrant as honey and sweeter in taste!
As flaky and white as if baked by the light,
As the flesh of an infant soft, doughy and slight.”

And it wasn’t just royalty and poets that liked the Chelsea Buns. They were just as popular with the working classes. On Good Friday large crowds of working people would queue to buy Chelsea buns with their Hot Cross Buns. In fact, there were so many people queuing that the police were needed to keep order!

Nothing beats a warm sticky bun straight from the oven, so why not try the recipe?

You won’t be disappointed although you may regret the resultant calories! Nevertheless it is sometimes worth being indulgent just once in a while.

Chelsea Buns

For more recipes using yeast click here.

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