My name’s Pud-Hog and I have a problem: I’m ADDICTED TO BUNS.
Since playing around with some yeast last week, I have made three batches of sweet, sweet buns – I’ve even developed my very own recipe.
The magic of watching things rise – not to mention the fun of pounding out frustrations on the oh-so yielding dough – has made this my favourite project yet.
Soon I’ll show you some of the flavours I’ve played with. But, before that, I want to share my first successful experiment with you: Orange and Dark Chocolate Buns.
The idea for them came about after riffing with the Cinnamon variety, and – though I do say so myself – they turned out to be most excellent.
Soft in the middle, with wholesome chunks of chocolate, they make a wicked breakfast treat, or a wonderful accompaniment to tea (or water, or air…).
As daunting as cooking with yeast might seem, please don’t be deterred. You just need an hour or so to let things rise, plus the energy to knead dough for ten minutes. Then these glorious homemade buns can be yours!
Orange and Dark Chocolate Buns (makes 6 large buns, or 12 not-so-large)
For the dough:
- 120ml warm water (make up with half boiling, half cold)
- 7g of dried yeast (approx one sachet)
- 310g strong white bread flour
- 1 egg
- 35g melted butter/vegetable spread
- 1 tsp salt
- 40g sugar
- 2 tsp orange extract
For the filling:
- 100g roughly chopped dark chocolate
- 35g (approx) butter/vegetable spread (at room temperature)
- Pour the warm water over the yeast and leave it somewhere warm (e.g. above the boiler)
- In the meantime, measure out the rest of the dough ingredients (flour, egg, melted butter/marge, salt, sugar and orange extract), and place into a large mixing bowl
- When the yeast/water mixture has started to bubble a little (after about ten minutes), add it to the rest of the ingredients
- Quickly combine everything using a spatula or wooden spoon at first (or else you’ll make one hell of a mess). When it starts to resemble a dough ball, take it out and knead it on a lightly floured surface for at least ten minutes (or longer, if you need to release some stress)
- Once the dough is smooth and elastic, put it back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel or plastic bag, and place somewhere warm to rise
- After an hour (or when it has doubled in size), tip the dough on to a floured surface. Leave it under a tea towel to rest for ten minutes
- Roll the dough into a rectangle (approx 8 inches by 10) and spread liberally with your butter/vegetable fat
- Sprinkle the chopped chocolate evenly across the surface and cut the dough into 6 or 12 strips, depending on the size you would like them to be (NB. this means bisecting the 10 inch side, so your strips are all 8 inches long)
- Roll each strip into a swirly bun, and place on to a greased baking tray, sprinkling any chocolatey stragglers over the top
- Cover and leave to rise in a warm place again for half an hour
- Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees (gas mark 5)
- Bake your risen buns for about 15 minutes, or until golden
- Place on a wire rack to cool
- EAT EAT EAT (while still warm, ideally)
- Feel generally full and satisfied with life