Ginger Chelsea buns

24 February, 2006
Dan Lepard

Dripping with sharp lemon icing, these chewy, fruit-studded ginger Chelsea buns will introduce your customers to one of the more unusual grain varieties in Britain.

Spelt is one of the oldest traditional crops and when milled into wholegrain flour gives a sweet nutty taste. It produces a dense loaf on its own, so here it is mixed with white flour to keep the crumb light and aerated.

It might sound like a lot of yeast, but the ginger, sugar, butter and oil can potentially slow or stop the fermentation. A generous quantity of yeast, mixed in a sponge then combined in warm soft dough, keeps it lively.

Makes 50 at 125g raw weight

For the sponge

Strong white flour - 850g

Warm milk at 30ºC - 900g

Warm water at 30ºC - 900g

Light brown sugar - 75g

Block yeast - 75g

Make sure the flour is not too cold, as you want to end up with a warm sponge mixture at around 30ºC.

Either by hand or in the bowl of a large upright planetary mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water and milk, then beat in the sugar and flour.

Mix for one to two minutes until roughly combined then leave to rise for 1.5 hours.

For the final dough

Sponge from above - 2.8kg

Sunflower oil - 190g

Whole eggs - 370g

Strong white flour - 1.7kg

Spelt or wholemeal flour - 970g

Salt - 25g

Light brown sugar - 500g

Unsalted butter, softened or melted - 250g

Raisins, dried cherries or currants - 1.42kg

Ground ginger - 30g

For the filling

Light brown sugar - 350g

Unsalted butter, softened - 575g

Ground ginger - 20g

Preserved ginger, finely chopped - 350g

Method

Combine the eggs, oil and sugar and beat until smooth. Add this to the sponge and beat again well.

Add this to the bowl of a spiral mixer or an upright planetary/Hobart-style mixer with the flour, ground ginger, salt and softened (or melted) butter.

Mix for two minutes (slow) then switch to fast speed and knead for six minutes.

Then add the raisins and mix for a further two to three minutes until combined.

Remove from the mixer, transfer to a lightly oiled container, cover and leave in a warm (25-28ºC) place for 1.5 hours or until doubled in height.

While the dough rises, make the ginger butter. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and beat for 30-60 seconds until evenly mixed.

Pin the dough out to about 1cm thick and spread with the ginger butter.

Then roll the dough up tightly into a scroll about 7-8cm high and cut at 3-4cm intervals.

Lay these cut-side upwards and spaced 2cm apart on a deep-sided tray lined at the bottom with non-stick baking parchment.

Leave for two to 2.5 hours in a warm (25-28ºC) place, covered loosely, until doubled in height.

Heat the oven to 200ºC (top and bottom). Bake with a little steam for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden on top.

When cold, drizzle with a simple lemon icing made by mixing together 750g icing sugar, 150g fresh lemon juice and the freshly grated zest of five lemons. Thin this with a splash of water before use.





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