I’ve been doing lots of bread at college recently as part of my bread and dough unit. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been getting behind on my pastry course but my tutor got me ticking off a load of things in my Wednesday lesson. I started one dough; I finished with three breads.
The dough that I started with was simple enough. It started with 900g strong white bread flour, 50g milk powder, 75g caster sugar and 12g salt in a machine mixing bowl. Into this went 75g margarine, which I rubbed in (I had to stand on my tiptoes to do this... the worktop with the bowl on top is just a little too high for me). In a measuring jug, I measured out 620ml tepid water and added 50g fresh yeast (no spoon for stirring here; hand straight in the water). A beaten egg also went in with the water. With the mixing bowl on the machine with a dough hook, I started it off on a low speed and added the liquid. I started the kneading process in this way too. But I’m too used to working dough by hand, so I finished it off by turning it out and kneading it by hand. Once smooth and elastic, it went into another bowl, got covered with cling film and put on top of the pastry oven to double in size. The top of the pastry oven is actually a little too hot for dough and it has a sort-of fast forward effect... dough at college is normally doubled in size in about 25 minutes and can turn into a bit of a monster if left for an hour (and sometimes ended up with a slightly crusty, dried out bottom). But on the plus side, I didn’t have long to wait for the next step.
Or steps. Because this dough got cut into 3 pieces and each piece turned into a different product. Pretty fun, but it did turn the evening into a bit of a hectic one.
Bread no. 1: doughnuts. I cut the dough into about 9 even pieces and rolled each piece into a ball. They went onto a greased baking tray, were covered with cling film and left to double in size.
Hop over to bread no. 2: Devonshite splits (aka cream buns). Again, this piece of dough got cut into even pieces, think I managed 8 this time, and formed into balls. The balls then got rolled into sausage shapes, placed on a greased baking tray, covered and left to double in size.
And finally, bread no. 3: Chelsea buns. This time, the piece of dough got rolled out into a rough rectangle. This was spread with melted butter and then liberally sprinkled with caster sugar, candied peel, currants and mixed spice. Time for some skill transference from my cakes and sponges unit because the dough needed rolling up, a bit like a swiss roll. The ends were neatened up before this roll was sliced into inch thick pieces. The pieces went on... you’ve guessed it, a greased baking tray... but these ones needed to go with a swirl facing up. The flapping end was tucked underneath, just for neatness. You’ve probably guessed the next step too... yes, they were covered with cling film and left to double in size.
This shaping took a fair amount of time and, what with the atmosphere in our pastry kitchen leading to super-fast proving, the doughnuts were about ready by the time I’d finished shaping the Chelsea buns.
So, time to turn bread no. 1 into doughnuts. Because, as they stood, the doughnuts and the Devonshire splits were essentially the same beast, just of a slightly different shape. We turned on the deep fat fryer and set it to 180°C. Each ball of dough was then carefully moved to a spider (no, not the things with great black furry legs; it’s a piece of kitchen equipment used for placing things in and removing them from deep fat fryers)... not quite carefully enough on my part, because each little dough pillow seemed to deflate slightly when I picked them up. Still, they got lowered into the oil and fried on each side until golden, and they re-inflated quite a bit during the cooking process. When they came out of the oil, they got dunked in a tray on caster sugar mixed with cinnamon. After cooling down, I made an incision in each one and rooted around inside to make a hole, then piped raspberry jam into the gap... although I got a bit too enthusiastic with some of them and the jam started oozing out again when I put them down. Still, the mess aside, bread no. 1 was done.
The cooking process for breads no. 2 and 3 were essentially the same. They went in a oven preheated to 220°C and, despite the fact that the recipe said they’d take 15-20 minutes, my tutor told me to check them after 5. She wasn’t kidding either; they coloured and cooked very quick, then came out and went on a cooling rack. The fingers needed to be completely cool before they were finished.
So, to finish bread no. 2. The fingers were “split” (well, sliced down the middle, but not all the way)... no Devonshire split without the split, so it was a necessary step. Once completely cool, I piped cream into the gap. Or, my tutor did 2 and then I attempted to copy her example, but I’m not sure I managed it with quite as much skill. Still, I at least got it in the gap. I piped a thin line of jam on top of the cream (cursing the raspberry pips every time they blocked up the hole in the bag) and, voila, bread no. 2 was done.
By the time I got onto finishing bread no. 3, the lesson was actually meant to be over and I was verymuch ready to go home. But my tutor pointed out that I couldn’t get ticked off on the Chelsea buns without doing the final bit so, with a sigh, I hung around to be shown how to glaze them. Apologises here for the instructions on this step below being a little vague, because it was more of a case of me being shown how to make the glaze rather than me doing it myself. It involved granulated sugar and water in a pan, with a similar consistency to wet sand, being heated until thickened and this sugar syrup clung to the pastry brush but still had a bit of a dropping consistency. This was simply brushed over the Chelsea buns. The odd bit made it onto my fingers... so my sighs at finishing the lesson later were then accompanied by curses at my burning fingers. Finally, bread no. 3 was also complete. But, in my rush, I forgot to take a picture. Rather annoyed about that now.
The lesson may have overrun a little, but at least I’d had a productive night. 3 breads down for my unit. Unfortunately, I don’t actually know how many more I’ve still got to do...
900g strong white bread flour
50g milk powder
75g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
50g fresh yeast
620ml tepid water
1. Put the flour, milk powder, caster sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl
2. Rub the margarine into the dry ingredients
3. Put the yeast in the tepid water and mix until dissolved. Then add the beaten egg
4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. If using a machine, mix it with a dough hook on a low speed for about 5 minutes. If doing it by hand, knead for about 10 minutes. You want a smooth and elastic dough (so, the normal really...)
5. Put the dough in a mixing bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to double in size
1. Turn the dough out onto a worktop and divide into pieces of even size (the full quantity specific above will make between 24 and 30 doughnuts... you might want to scale the recipe down a little)
2. Shape each piece of dough into a ball
3. Place on a lightly greased baking tray, cover and leave to double in size
4. Heat oil for deep fat frying (... carefully, as always) to 180°C
5. Once the dough balls have proved, gently place them in the oil. Cook on one side until golden, then flip over and repeat
6. To finish, coat in caster sugar; we added some cinnamon to the sugar for a bit of spice. Or coat one side in icing. Or use a knife to create a cavity in the doughnut, then pipe jam into the cavity
For Chelsea buns
Mixed candied peel
Sultanas and/or currants
Granulated sugar and water
1. Turn the dough out onto a floured worktop and, using a rolling pin, rolling out to a rough rectangle shape
2. Gently brush the dough with melted butter, then sprinkle with the caster sugar, mixed peel, sultanas and/or currants and mixed spice
3. Roll the rectangle up, like you would a swiss roll. Try to keep the roll quite tight
4. Cut off the scruffy ends and then make 1 inch slices
5. Place on a greased baking tray, swirl side up and tuck the flapping end under the main bit. Cover and leave to prove
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C. Check after 5 minutes because these things colour and cook incredibly fast
7. Put the granulated sugar in a pan and add enough water to much a sludgy mix. Place on a high heat and boil until the mix becomes thick but still drops off a pastry brush. Use this to glaze the buns to finish
For Devonshire splits
1. Turn the dough out onto a worktop and divide into even pieces (as with the doughnuts, this recipe will make between 24 and 30, so you may want to scale it down)
2. Shape the pieces of dough into balls and then roll out slightly into sausages shapes. Place onto a greased baking tray, cover and leave to double in size
3. Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C. Like the Chelsea buns, check after 5 minutes. They colour and cook very quickly
4. Allow to cool completely, then make a slice down the middle (but don’t cut through completely). Pipe the whipped cream into the gap and then finish with a stripe of jam