March 6, 2010

Chelsea Buns

Chelsea Buns BBC - inside





I made these using the dough from James Martin’s Hot Cross Buns recipe (April issue of BBC Good Food magazine), but I used a different filling as I didn’t fancy the apricots and almonds that he used. These were better than my last attempt as they were big and soft, but they did taste a tiny bit too yeasty. This recipe used twice as much yeast as most other dough recipes, which would explain the yeasty flavour and also why the dough rose at an accelerated rate and resembled a B-movie blob monster!


Chelsea Buns BBCI had a hard time fitting all the buns into the tin and after the second proving they were even more squashed and attempting to make a break for space and freedom.


Chelsea Buns BBC - baked After the 10 minutes baking at Gas 6 they were very golden brown and on the verge of burning and I was afraid they would become rock hard like my last attempt. So I kept a careful eye on them for the 10 minutes baking at Gas 4. I’ll admit that I did open the oven door a few too many times to keep checking and therefore I did need to bake them for another 5 or so minutes as they weren’t cooked properly. Even though I’d checked with a skewer to see if it came out clean, the middle bun was a bit underdone but the others were fine.



The buns were incredibly large, so I would make them smaller if I used this recipe again. I think there was too much yeast which gave them a slightly funny taste, so we weren’t that keen on the flavour. They were also quite a lot of hard work and the reward wasn’t really justified! So I’m still on the hunt for the perfect Chelsea Bun recipe.


  • Makes: 8 very large buns
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 6/400°F/200°C then reduced to Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C
  • Oven shelf: middle
  • You will need: a deep 21 or 23cm cake tin, greased


Ingredients for the dough:

  • 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 50ml warm water
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 100g mixed dried fruit (I used currants and sultanas)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon apricot jam
  • ½ Tablespoon water
  • caster sugar for sprinkling



  1. Put the flour, yeast, caster sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, warm water, beaten egg and melted butter. Mix everything together to form a dough – start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands.
  2. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and springy. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover. Leave in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in size – this will take about 1 hour depending on how warm the room is.
  3. Meanwhile make the filling by mixing all the filling ingredients together.
  4. Top the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds. Roll out the dough to a rough 20 x 30cm rectangle. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, then roll it up firmly like a Swiss roll from one of the long sides – dampening the open edge to help it stick if necessary. Cut into 8 even slices with a sharp knife, shape into 8 round pinwheels, then arrange in the tin, cut-side up. Cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 20 minutes until roughly doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6/400°F/200°C. Bake the buns for 10 minutes, then lower the oven to Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  6. Melt the jam with the water and brush all over the buns, then sprinkle with a little more caster sugar.


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