The shop from which these buns originated would, in its heyday, sell as many as 250,000 buns in one day. The owner, Richard Hand, was known as 'Captain Bun'. The buns are easily recognised, as the dough is baked in aflat coil and given a shiny sugar glaze.
15 g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast or 7.5 ml (1 1/2 tsp) dried
100 ml (4 fl oz) warm fresh milk
225 g (8 oz) strong white flour
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter, diced
1 egg, beaten
100 g (4 oz) mixed dried fruit
50 g (2 oz) light soft brown sugar
clear honey, to glaze
1. Grease a 17.5 cm (7 inch) square tin.
2. Blend the fresh yeast with the milk. If using dried yeast, sprinkle it into the milk and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes, until frothy.
3. Put the flour and salt in a bowl, then rub in 25 g (1 oz) of the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast liquid and the egg, then beat together until the mixture forms a dough that leaves sides of bowl clean.
4. Turn on to a lightly floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Cover with a clean tea-towel and leave in a warm place for about
1 hour, until doubled in size.
5. Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface, then roll it out to a large rectangle, measuring about 30 x 23 cm (12 x 9 inches). Mix the dried fruit and sugar together. Melt the remaining butter, then brush over the dough. Scatter with the fruit mixture, leaving a
2.5 cm (1 inch) border around the edges.
6. Roll the dough up tightly like a Swiss roll, starting at a long edge. Press the edges together to seal them, then cut the roll into 12 slices. Place the rolls cut side uppermost in a greased 17.5 cm (7 inch) square tin. Cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes, until doubled in size.
7. Bake the rolls at 190°C (375°F) mark 5 for 30 minutes, until they are well risen and golden brown. Brush them with the honey while still hot. Leave them to cool slightly in the tin before turning out. Serve the Chelsea Buns warm.
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