Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chelsea buns

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.
Chelsea Buns
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.


Chele said...

Bread making is a moody beast!!! Such a shame you had a problem with the odugh, I think I had the opposite problem, I ended up having to dump a whole lot more flour into my dough becasue it was just too wet. Can't wait to see your second attempt ;0)

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said...

I wonder what happened? Good luck next time.

I often have problems when I knead in the food processor and my dough goes solid. Bread and yeast is tempermental stuff!

mushitza said...

It's really strange Sarah, I found the recipe very good, but couldn't take decent photos as I was hungry and those buns smelled so tasty :)

Unknown said...

they look a lot like strudle cakes... bet they tasted great tho x

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

I only had dried active yeast not the fast-action stuff (which you can add straight into flour). I added it to the warm milk to froth a bit but threw the first lot away as there was not enough liquid and it just formed a solid clump. The next time round I added the yeast a couple of grains at a time whisking like mad and it worked like a dream. I love your phrase 'escalation of committment' - I've been there more than once in FFTO oven challenges (binned croissant dough anyone?). Thanks for sharing your experience - baking can be so temperamental and frustrating as well as fabulously rewarding.

Sarah said...

Thank you all so much for your comments. Baking is a pain when it doesn't work out, isn't it? Hearing from all of you makes me feel a bit better. :)

Sally, I also had dried active yeast (it's the main one sold here in Hong Kong) and I added it to the warm milk and waited for 10 minutes--I even used the thermometer to check the temperature of the milk was right... I have had some poor experiences in the past. I think that because so few people bake at home here the yeast quality can be a bit questionable. (Most people don't own an oven, so bakers are a very select few.) Oh, well, better luck next time, I'm sure!

Dad said...

I'm guessing the spelt makes the dough nuttier, which contrasts nicely with the fruit. We'll have fried cranberries on hand when you visit at Christmas and you can try this recipe again!

Sarah said...

Hi Dad, I know that you really mean dried cranberries! Tpying is hrad, eh?

Jules said...

I think we all have baking like this. I know of some FFTO challenges that haven't worked as well for me. Glad to see this hasn't put you off.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I unwittingly did a FFTO without being a member this month as i made a chelsea bun type effort the other day. As for stiff dough, I challenge you to beat the horror of the dog turd brioche I made earlier this year!!!

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