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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Spiced Christmas Sweet Buns.



Yesterday I baked some sweet buns. This uses my general purpose sweet bun dough that I use to make a range of different treats like hot cross buns, Chelsea buns and tea cakes.  This time I am made a sort of Christmas spiced rolled bun.  In describing this dough, I have tried to be as exact as I can, but this is one of those dough recipes where I never way anything out, its all done by eye and feel.

I start by making a pre-ferment the day before I want to bake using half of the flour that I want to use in my final dough, in this case, it was about 250 g of flow and my final dough would contain approx 500 g of flour.  The flour I have used is standard Polish wheat flour, type 650, it is not a strong bread making flour as it is not available locally.  I have discussed this in more detail in my post Bread Making with Polish Flour.  To the flour I have added about 250 ml of cold water and 4 g of instant yeast.  This is not very much yeast for this quantity of enriched dough and if you wanted to make buns within 3-4 hours, you would have to use significantly more, but as I am going to allow the yeast to have a long fermentation, this will give the yeast plenty of time to multiply into a much larger active culture.  The long fermentation of the flour by the yeast will produce byproducts that will bring a far better flavor to the dough compared to using lots of yeast and short fermentation, which will give you the carbon dioxide you need for a rise, but no flavor.  The first 3 hours of fermentation was done at low room temperature to get things moving, approx 19°C and then left overnight at a around 10°C.

The next day I loosen the pre-ferment with 250 ml of milk and beat in one egg.  I then mix a teaspoon of salt in with 250 g more flour and then mix in my pre-ferment.  80 g of melted butter is mixed in and the whole mixture left to rest for ten minutes.  The result is a sticky dough that I knead using a dough scraper in one hand and ether flour or water on my other hand, depending if I want to adjust the dough to be wetter or dryer.  The dough is then left for another fermentation at room temperature for 2-3 hours.  During this time I will gently de-gas once to prevent the dough from over stretching.

After fermentation the dough is tipped out onto a floured board and gently stretched into a long thin rectangle.  The Dough is lovely to tough at this point, is is super light, soft and silky.  If is does not want to stretch far enough, I like my dough to be no more than about 4-5mm thick, then wait a few minuted between stretches for it is relax.

Portioning sweet buns in our temporary kitchen


While the dough was fermenting a mixture of butter, dark brown sugar, cream and  some flour to stabilise it all was blended together.  This mixture is spread of the dough and a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and mace, sifted over the surface.  I have used whole spices grown down in a pestle and mortar.  The dough is then rolled up.  I use this opportunity to further stretch the dough to make each layer even thinner.  The roll is then cut into slices with a dough scraper and placed on a baking tray. 



 Baking was done in a fan assisted oven at approx 170-180°C until lightly browned, turning once for a more even bake.

The first piece of our concrete counter tops just brought up to what will be our kitchen, with the sweet buns and the spices used.

Resisting the amazing smells long enough to take a few picture for the blog gives the buns just enough time to cool down.  I'm so happy with the first piece of concrete counter top to be finished that I had to use is as a background for this image.