Cinnamon Orange Blossom Honey Buns
I have had the baking bug again today. Actually I can say this proudly that I haven’t enjoyed cooking for such a long time, as much I have in the last two days. I felt as if I were in the restaurant again, working away filleting fish, making delicious fish velouté, red wine jus, steaming cockles and plenty of other jobs that I really enjoyed doing when I was still working in the restaurants. I never thought I would say I missed it, but I honestly did.
This time of the year when the days are getting longer and there is more light I feel more alive and have more energy to do lots. Easter is approaching and I have had my fair share of Easter buns but then I can never get enough of these.
Last month I bought two freshly baked Chelsea buns at Great Garnets farmers market from an old lady and gent who bake bread and buns in their kitchen at home. I was gobsmacked as they were both of retiring age and I could not believe that they were baking so much for a farmers market. Once we arrived back home we enjoyed the Chelsea buns, slightly warmed, with a cup of tea. When I took the first bite I gasped as it was the most delicious Chelsea bun that I have ever tasted. It was feather light, moist, the glaze was just right not too sweet and just simply memorably delicious.
I analysed the buns and was wondering if she had used suet as they where incredibly light. I was on a mission looking for the perfect recipe and must have paged through at least 18 bakery cookbooks and scoured the web but not even Dan Lepard’s bun recipe came close. Not one suggested using suet so I set off working on my own recipe, trying to recreate the taste and feather lightness of those Great Garnets buns.
So I have been pondering for a month on how to replicate these incredibly delicious Chelsea buns, and yes it took a month before I felt I had the right ammunition and knowledge to attempt the baking challenge.
Well the results were absolutely fantastic!!! Feather light, moist and simply delicious!!!
I had to add my own twist and as I love both cinnamon and Chelsea buns I thought I should combine the two and add my own addition of orange and blossom honey. Even though this is not close to the traditional hot cross bun it makes a well deserved alternative, perfect for breakfast and the spring picnic basket.
- 525g strong bread flour
- 150g vegetable suet
- 30g fresh yeast or 14g dried yeast (do not use fast action yeast)
- Pinch of salt
- 50g melted unsalted butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 medium free range egg
- 350ml milk
In a small saucepan melt the butter, turn the heat off and add the milk to the saucepan, let the milk warm through to blood temperature.
In a food processor blend half the flour, yeast and vegetable suet until the suet is completely broken down as fine as the flour. I used my thermomix and blended it on speed 10 for 20 seconds, but any blender will do. I found that the suet does not completely break down if you do not do this.
Transfer the flour, suet and yeast mix to the bowl of a mixer, add the rest of the flour, salt and sugar, attach the dough hook and turn the machine on to run at a low speed.
Add the warm milk and butter mixture and mix until a dough forms, add the egg and knead the dough for 6 minutes. The dough will be very soft and you might think it's too wet but it's perfectly fine, do not add extra flour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and work the dough into a ball with a smooth top. Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean dry tea towel or clingfilm, leave the dough to prove until double in size. Mine took 1 1/2 hours today (in the summer it should prove slightly faster).
While the dough is proving make the filling and continue following the method below.
Sultana and Cinnamon Filling
- 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 100g dark muscavado sugar
- 4tsp ground cinnamon
- 100g golden sultanas soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
- Zest of one orange
Cream the sugar, cinnamon and butter, if the butter is hard, soften for 10 seconds in the microwave.
Soak the sultanas in boiling hot water for 10 minutes, drain and squeeze to remove the excess water.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, use your fingers to spread the dough evenly into a rectangular shape. You could use a rolling pin if preferred, I do not like using the rolling pin as it compresses the dough and it looses it's lightness and puffiness.
Spread the softened cinnamon filling over the rectangular dough, scatter the drained soaked sultanas and grate over the zest of one orange.
Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll, dip a serrated knife into flour and cut through the sausage into 9 pieces.
Place the buns cut side flat onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave to prove until double in size.
Preheat the oven to 200 °C while the buns are proving for the second time, this should take about 20 - 30 minutes.
Bake the buns for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, if they turn dark brown before the time is up place a piece of foil over the top to prevent the buns from turning too dark.
While the buns are baking make the orange blossom honey glaze.
Orange Blossom Honey Glaze
- 200ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 50g blossom honey
- 2tbs smooth orange marmalade
Measure all the ingredients into a small saucepan.
Over low heat melt the marmalade and honey and bring the juice to a gentle simmer until reduced by half. The glaze will become shiny and sticky, do not reduce it too far as it should still be of pouring consistency.
Once the buns are cooked let them cool for 10 minutes, use a knife to loosen them by their joints to form gaps for the glaze to run into. Bring the glaze back to boiling point and pour the hot glaze over the buns.
Let the buns cool completely.