Chelsea buns are a new idea for me--and a tasty one! Similar to cinnamon rolls, they enclose a buttery, sweet filling. Instead of cinnamon they are studded with dried fruit--I used raisins and dried figs. Chelsea buns were this month's Fresh From the Oven challenge, set by Wendy of Notes from the Quirky Kitchen. They sound scrumptious, don't they? My Chelsea buns, though, were a disaster.
As soon as I mixed the dough, I knew there was a problem. It was much too hard and kneading it was difficult, to say the least. I was using my full body weight to press the dough over--a sure sign that it was too stiff! I added a bit of water, which improved things slightly. A bit more butter might also have helped.
Why do things like this happen? There is not enough liquid in the dough, perhaps. Or not enough fat. Also maybe the yeast was not bubbly enough when I started. After trying to fix it and it was all still a bit heavy going, I was left with two choices: carry on with a slightly less rock-like dough, or throw it out and start again.
I decided to continue; after all, how badly could the buns turn out? The dough was kneadable, so I decided that was good enough. I suppose it was what the psychologists call "escalation of commitment." Having come this far I was not keen to give up.
The rise was high enough to encourage me, but buns were a bit dense when finished. I imagine that they were meant to be soft and pillowy; mine were more akin to a sofa cushion than a pillow. No matter, my stubbornness produced edible buns. And a desire to attempt them again another time.
makes 9 buns
90 ml warm wilk
1 1/2 t yeast
4 t fruit sugar (or 2 T caster sugar)
1 c plain flour
3/4 c spelt flour
1/4 t salt
4 T (50 g) unsalted butter, softened, divided
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c (65 g) brown sugar
3/4 c (115 g) dried fruit
Mix the warm milk, yeast, and sugar, and allow to proof for 10 minutes until bubbly.
Combine the flours, salt, 2 T (25g) of the butter, egg, and the yeast mixture in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon, then turn out onto a floured surface.
Knead until smooth, then return to the bowl, coat with a little oil, cover, and let rise until doubled.
Roll out into a rectangle about 9" x 12" (22 cm x 30 cm).
Spread over the remaining 2 T (25 g) butter, and sprinkle with the brown sugar and dried fruit.
Roll up the dough, beginning with the long edge. Cut into 2" (5 cm) sections, and place them, cut side down, in a baking tray.
Bake at 360 F (180 C) for 15-20 minutes.
Let cool and ice if desired.