Chelsea Buns Recipe


The River Cottage Bread HandbookAccording to Mrs Beeton, Chelsea buns are sweet rolls made with dried fruit… similar to hot cross buns but without the cross. However, these are Chelsea buns as we know them – sticky, curranty, swirly and square.

  • Yield: 9


  • 550 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50 g caster sugar, or vanilla sugar
  • 5 g powdered dried yeast
  • 10 g salt
  • 150 ml warm milk
  • 225 g butter, melted
  • 1 medium free-range egg
For the Filling
  • 25 g butter, melted
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 200 g currants
For the glaze
  • 50 ml milk
  • 50 g caster sugar
How to Make It
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt, then add the milk, butter and egg and mix to a sticky dough. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth and silky. Return to the cleaned bowl, cover and leave to rise for about an hour until doubled in size.
  2. Brush the base and sides of a deep 30 cm square baking tin with a little of the melted butter and coat with a little of the sugar (for the filling), shaking out the excess.
  3. Tip the dough out on to a floured surface, dust with flour and roll out to a rectangle, about 60 x 40 cm. Brush the melted butter all over the dough to the edges, leaving a 2 cm margin free across the top (long) edge. Sprinkle with the sugar and scatter the currants evenly on top, right to the edges, but leaving the top margin clear.
  4. Press the currants into the dough, then starting from the edge closest to you, roll up the dough to enclose the filling and form a long sausage. Moisten the margin at the top with water and press to seal. Cut the roll into 9 equal pieces. Turn each piece on its end and press with your hand to flatten slightly, until no more than 3 cm high. Arrange in rows of three in the baking tin they should just touch each other.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Leave the buns to prove for about half an hour until doubled in size again. Sprinkle a little of the sugar for the glaze over them and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Warm the milk and remaining sugar together in a pan until dissolved, then brush over the buns to glaze when you take them out of the oven. Best served warm.

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