Chelsea Buns

farinam's picture

In response to requests, I have decided to post the recipe that I used for my recent post on this topic.

I have not given timings as I know that everybody's starter has a different activity and temperatures vary widely.  Mine bulk proved for 3 hours and then proved for 7 hours before baking.  The proving time was probably a bit long but I was away from the house longer than expected.  The sugar in the fruit mix had liquified to some degree, probably due to the long contact time.  I didn't note the room temperature but it was probably about 17-18C.

This recipe has been adapted from Use Your Loaf by Ursel Norman.

Hope you enjoy and I look forward to feed-back and suggeations for improvement.


The Dough: 
Starter (100% hydration)
Caster sugar
Mixed spice
Margarine/butter (melted
Caster sugar (extra for sprinkling)

Prepare and activate your starter in your preferred way.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt and rub through the butter/margarine.  Make a well.

Beat the egg and mix with the milk.

Add the starter and the egg/milk to the dry ingredients.

Mix to a dough (fairly soft and sticky to start) and knead until smooth and elastic.  Use your preferred method of dough development.

Allow to bulk prove.

Mix the currants, sugar and spice.

Roll/stretch the dough to a rectangle 250mmx300mm.  Brush with melted margarine/butter and sprinkle evenly with the fruit mix.

Roll into a log from the long side and cut into 25mm rounds with a sharp knife.

Place the rounds on a greased baking tray and prove until doubled.

Bake at 220 for 20 minutes.

Heat sugar and water gently until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for a couple of minutes until the syrup thickens.  Brush buns with syrup while still warm and sprinkle a little caster sugar on each one.


5 users have voted.


HopesHope 2011 October 30

 Thank you for the recipe.   I have one question, what do you mean by "mixed spice"  what specifically are the spices you use in this recipe?

albuck99 2011 October 31

I use these proportions for sweet baking, it matches commercial blends pretty well:


All spices are ground (powdered)


4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves


I sometimes add a little black pepper (especially for Xmas mince pies)

Hilaryk 2012 February 27

Hello Farinam


I decided to try your chelsea bun recipe today.  My dough did indeed start out soft and sticky but no amount of kneading made it smooth.  I tried the method I learned in a bread master class of lifting and folding over repeatedly but no joy.  I have eventually added quite a bit more flour which means I have changed the recipe significantly.  I am waiting for it to prove now so that I can do the last bit


Do you have any suggestions for next time?  Or has anyone else tried this recipe?


Grateful for any advice


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 February 27

Hello Hilary,

I have checked the recipe against my notes and the quantities are correct.

I used a series of three vigourous 5 minute kneads using what I call the 'Bertinet' method at approximately 45 minute intervals during the bulk ferment.  I have to admit that I have not tried stretch and fold with this recipe but I would have thought that any method of dough development would suffice.  However I could be wrong.

I don't make rich doughs very often but perhaps I should try some different development methods as well.

Hope this helps and good luck with your projects.


mimig64 2012 July 1

 I've just tried making this as well, followed the instructions to the tee.  Have also found no amount of kneading has helped with improving the dough.  I've added around 3TBLS flour, tried spreading out & rolling into a scroll and it all stuck to the bench :(


Letting it prove now overnight & hope it will rise & develop ready to cook in the morning!



farinam's picture
farinam 2012 July 21

Hello mimig64,

Sorry to hear you had problems.  I can only offer the observation that different flours and climates can affect the effective hydration of doughs and you have to be a bit adaptable to get the texture right.  By and large, recipes are a guide and not a chemical formula.

I do hope your efforts turned out OK and if not, don't be disheartened.  I watched and noted my mother's sponge-cake making recipe and technique in fine detail but my first effort had about a tenth of the volume of hers - only after several attempts was I able to approach (but never quite achieve) her feather lightness and texture.  Ah well, she could never make bread - because she couldn't get it to 'work'.

Keep on bakin'


BreadintheBone 2013 April 14

I had a similar difficulty when trying to make Hot Cross Buns. Try adding the egg to the flour mixture, but hold back the butter. When you have kneaded the dough, using whichever method works for you, until it's smooth and responsive, start to work the butter in a little at a time. Keep working the dough. It won't be quick, but finally the dough will incorporate the butter and become smooth. This works for brioche as well.

It took me a long time to get this right.

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