I found a pot of creme fraiche in the back of the fridge, left over from Christmas.
It was still good but I had no plans for it and it needed using up quickly. Returning to Dan Lepard’s lovely sourcream bread recipe I scaled it up to fit the pot of cream and arrived at nearly twice the amount of dough as the original recipe.
I made two oval loaves, proved on a couche cloth. This shape fits very well on to the kiln shelf I use in the oven – for some reason there is no banneton that gives you this shape, they are all wider and shorter. This is such an easy dough to work that it was no problem to shape these two loaves. The scoring was a bit rubbish as I needed a new razor blade and this one dragged a bit.
Still had loads of dough left over so I rolled the dough out to a 40 x 30 cm rectangle, spread it with 50 grams of soft butter and pressed a mixture of 25 g cocoa, 100 g finely chopped hazelnuts and 75 g granulated sugar on top of the butter, rolled the dough up as tight as I could, from the long edge.
If you do this; don’t butter the dough to the edges but leave an inch clear all the way round, otherwise it’s impossible to roll up without filling going everwhere and it’s hard to seal the roll at the end. (Guess what I did? I’ve made similar so have no excuse !)
Cut it into 9 slices, approx 1.5 cm slices, put them in an 8 inch square cake tin, greased, bottom lined with baking parchment and leave them to join up.
I baked these at 180 º C for 25 minutes ( I think another time I should maybe move them up to the top of the oven at some point to get the tops to brown quickly without letting the buns over cook.
After pulling them out of the oven, I tested one of the offcuts that I had baked and decided they needed a little something. I made a boiled sugar syrup flavoured with vanilla, by dissolving 150 grams of sugar in 100 grams of water, bringing to the boil and then simmering for about 3 minutes. Once it had cooled a little I added a teaspoon of home made vanilla essence and drizzled this over the cooled buns. Not as sweet as you would think and less heavy than regular Chelsea buns. My sort of bun, definitely bread not cake, (no eggs in the dough), and the wonderful combination of cocoa and hazelnuts, bordering on savoury/sweet. I think there must be all sorts of possibilities for customizing buns like this to one’s own preferences, nuts, fruits, flavourings, sweet, savoury. One could always blitz some elderly cake and use the crumbs as a component to the filling too. Bread is so versatile.
The shaping and filling inspiration comes from a recipe in ‘Warm Bread and Honey’, a lovely bread and cake book by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra that I have read a dozen times and never baked from till now, lots more wonderful recipes in there to play around with soon.
The square tin with the drop out bottom is the perfect thing to use for these too!
I’d rather eat a nice bun than a cookie, maybe it’s because one of these is enough, whereas cookies demand you eat quite a few…
Are you a bun person or a cookie person?