with many thanks to Dan Lepard for teaching me how to make milk breads in the first place and for advice on UHT milk
15 g fresh yeast
500 ml UHT milk – at room temperature or slightly warmer
320 g strong white bread flour
All of the above plus
a dessert spoon of golden caster sugar
40 g of melted butter
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 medium egg
13 g salt
175 g chocolate chunks and chips
350 g strong white flour
1463 g dough in total
Mix the sponge 2 – 4 hours or so before you want to make the dough. I am currently using a very strong flour which seems to absorb a lot of liquid, you may wish to reduce the amount of milk in the sponge if your flour is not so strong or add more flour to the final dough.
When the sponge has risen and flowed gently all over the worktop, while you were out walking the dogs, scrape it back into a bowl, take a deep breath and add the melted and cooled butter and the egg, vanilla essence and a spoonful of sugar.
Mix these well and then add the rest of the flour, leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
Add the chocolate last to the dough; chips, chunks, whatever you have, try and get them distributed evenly through the dough.
I don’t do intensive kneading if I can avoid it, only enough to make sure the dough is well mixed. Leave for half an hour, come back to it and give it another light knead, oiling the worktop lightly with oil if the dough is very sticky to make it easier to handle. You can do this again later if it makes you feel better, but I forget.
Total time for first prove is about one and a half hours.
Divide dough into 14 balls. You might need a dusting of flour to help with this part. Shape and place on baking parchment lined trays. Leave to rise for another hour. Cover the trays with either a plastic box or clingfilm or put them inside a carrier bag and prop it up with something.
Bake at 210 degrees C in an ordinary oven for 22 minutes till golden brown and sound good and hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack, and brush the tops with a glaze of 2 spoons of boiling water, 2 spoons of sugar and a teaspoon of Fiori di Sicilia ! The air will fill with the glorious perfume of orange and vanilla and make you think momentarily of Jacobs Club Biscuits and school trips. Actually it’s better than that and a little goes a long way. Thanks Lynne for that inspiring gift! Enterprising importers and artisan baking suppliers please note we want you to stock this, please please please! You’ve got until Christmas to sort it out.
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I really adore these buns, they look like traditional english bread rolls, but they are soft and rich tasting from the addition of the egg and the butter and have just enough chocolate in them and a hint of panetonne taste as you take the first bite!
I tell myself they are less fattening than croissants or pain au chocolat with its layers of buttery pastry, but are still yummy enough to please a fussy elephant!