I can’t imagine where eleven years have come and gone baking bread after bread with Babes. Somehow, here we are on our eleventh anniversary. Simple, complex, straight or sour dough, I never tire of flour and yeast. I never seem to see a bread coming either. Although there are breads I have sort of in a reserve place that I think the Babes must bake one day. One that comes to mind is salt rising bread. I’ve tired it twice and it’s good but not for the faint of heart.
Recently I got hooked on The Great British Baking Show. Obsession doesn’t come close to how much I was watching. And when it came to the breads, I watched many of them over again immediately. In late December, I watched one where they baked Chelsea Bun Christmas Trees. It some how caught me that the bread and the bun were basic but the shape and the filling should be the challenge that suited a February Valentine. I had some really fancy ideas in the beginning but when it came to execution, simple took over and Gorn was won with a very simple heart … I think it had something to do with the some what cherry pie like filling I came up with. Cherries will win him over any day, even in a bun.
Serving Size: 15
400 grams bread flour, plus extra for dusting
400 grams white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
15 grams sachet fast-acting yeast
400 ml milk
60 grams unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 free-range eggs
You make it up!
Place the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other side. (That’s how the cutie Paul Hollywood does it.)
Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter is melted and the mixture is lukewarm.
Pour into the flour mixture, add the eggs and stir thoroughly until the contents of the bowl come together as a soft dough. The dough will be sticky.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Alternatively this can be done in a stand mixer using a dough hook. I found this to be an easy dough to do by hand.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl and leave to rise, covered with a shower cap, for one hour or until doubled in size.
Mix the filling. I used a cherry preserve that was cherry pie like filling and added some dried cherries to that. I also sprinkled my dough with some brown sugar for that extra.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out dough into a rectangle about 20in x 14in.
Tack down the long side of the dough rectangle nearest to you by pressing it down onto the work surface with your thumb. Brush all over with the melted butter. Then spread the your filling over the dough leaving a 2cm boarder. Roll the opposite long side of the dough towards you quite tightly, until the roll is complete and tight. Trim the ends to neaten.
With a sharp knife cut into 15 thick rounds – about 1.5in.
Line a very large baking tray or use the grill tray from your oven with baking parchment.
Arrange rolls on the prepared tray, cut side up, in heart shape: I just drew a heart on parchment paper and filled it in. You want the buns to be close enough so that when they rise further and then bake; they will bake with their sides touching. They can then be pulled apart and you get a lovely soft edge.
Cover loosely and let rise for 30 – 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F.
When the buns are ready, put them in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden-brown.
Check after 15 minutes or so and cover the buns with foil if they are getting too brown. Mine needed no foil.
Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool slightly before transferring them from the tin to a cooling rack.
Melt the additional preserves in a small saucepan with a splash of water until smooth. Brush the jam over the buns to glaze and allow to cool.
It’s sort of a heart … it went fast enough that the shape didn’t really matter.