As a schoolgirl I hated cooking. I failed my Home Economics class (basically a cookery lesson) with the lowest score imaginable and for good reason: in the exam I boiled my soup dry and under-baked a cake. Over the years, I tried my hand at baking every now and again, but with the same kind of (un)success, and it wasn’t until around 18 months ago, when I decided to share a Swedish apple cake to the world and start a blog, that I really began to take baking seriously.
Since then, I’ve come on leaps and bounds. I love to experiment, especially with gluten free options, and feel very proud of my achievements. One aspect I am most pleased with is my bread making; so many people tell me how unnerved they are at the thought of trying homemade bread, but when you get the simple, basic rules under your belt, the bread-baking world is your oyster!
Inspired by the consensus that bread making was difficult, I wanted to let people know it really isn’t that bad; we all know the experts can make bread, but what about us mortal beings? So I decided to come up with some simple tips and wrote “Why making bread doesn’t need to terrify the pants off you (even if you aren’t Paul Hollywood)“.
Once you have a general understanding of how bread works, you can start adjusting the basic recipe and even make sweet versions too, like these gorgeous berry iced buns!
•25g fresh yeast
•75ml (5 tablespoons) warm milk
•75ml (5 tablespoons) warm water
•30g (2 tablespoons) sugar
•20g (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) butter
•1 egg (beaten)
•250g-350g (2-2.5 cups) white bread flour
•1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
•200g (2 cups) frozen mixed berries
•2 tablespoons honey
•1 tablespoon water
•250ml (around 1 cup) whipping cream
•150g (a little over a cup) icing/confectioners’ sugar
•2 tablespoons berry sauce (retained from the berries)
•Water (as needed)
~ Melt the butter and set to one side. Add the water and milk to a jug and crumble in the yeast. Leave for 5-10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate and then add in the sugar and beaten egg.
~ Mix the vanilla sugar with 250g (one cup) of flour, then pour in the liquid ingredients. Stir vigorously until well combined and then gradually add more flour until a workable dough consistency is reached (remember the dough should be sticky when turned out onto a floured work surface). Knead the dough for around 8-10 minutes until it is elastic and smooth. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for around an hour.
~ In the meantime, prepare the homemade berry jam: mix the berries, honey and water in a pan and cook until they have reduced down and are nice and thick (about 20 minutes), and then take off the heat and allow to cool completely. Half way through cooking the berries, pour off around two tablespoons of the juice for the icing (you will need to strain it to get rid of any fruit lumps), and then put it to one side.
~ Pre-heat the oven to 220°C. Knock the dough back and knead for another minute or two until smooth and then shape into 7 or 8 balls. Place on a grease-proof lined baking tray, cover and leave on top of the oven for another 45-60 minutes.
~ Bake for around 10 minutes (keep an eye on them because they brown very quickly) and then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
~ For the icing: add the icing sugar to a bowl and pour in the two tablespoons of berry sauce and stir until combined. Gradually add half a tablespoon at a time of cold water until a thick icing is achieved (you don’t want it so runny that it rolls off the buns, but at the same time, you need to be able to work with it). Whip the cream and spoon into a piping bag.
~ To assemble the buns: cut them in half and spread some berry jam on the bottom halves. Pipe over some cream and then either take the top and dip it in the icing or carefully spread it over the tops using a knife. Place the tops back on, and you’re ready for action! Store in the fridge until ready to eat.
Hope you enjoyed looking at these pretty little buns – go on, try them for yourselves!
The original recipe appears on my blog The Culinary Jumble.