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Disastrous Chelsea Buns

(20 Posts)
TeenTimesTwo Mon 17-Sep-18 11:41:01

So, partly inspired by Bake Off, and partly because DD2 is getting into cooking, we tried to make Chelsea Buns at the weekend.

It all went horribly wrong at step 1 which was mix the flour, easy bake yeast, sugar and warm milk and leave for 20 minutes and it should go frothy.

It didn't. We thought we'd continue anyway, but although it grew a bit during the later 1 hour proving, the buns ended up more like weird mince pies than bread.

So what did we do wrong? What is it that makes the yeast activate properly? Would the fact that the strong bread flour had a best before of 2013 (when DD1 needed some for food tech) have anything to do with it? (The yeast was new)

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redsummershoes Mon 17-Sep-18 11:49:51

the flour should have been fine (unless it has been cooked), it keeps for aaaaages if stored properly, i.e. dry and cool.

ime the proving times are often too short in recipes, esp for rich doughs.
one hour sounds tight tbh, unless you have a non-drafty very warm place for proving.

Thecatisboss Mon 17-Sep-18 12:08:35

I made sourdough cinnamon and raisin bins (aka chelsea buns) at the weekend too with some normal yeast as well as my starter was a bit sluggish.

First prove was 90 mins and second prove was 60 minutes and they rose beautifully though they were in a warm place for the proofs.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 17-Sep-18 12:16:29

We had warm for the proving. So maybe we should have left it longer. We did the put it in a loosely tied bag and put in warm conservatory.

But what about this frothy bit? (It could have been a rubbish recipe, but my Hamlyn's All Colour Cook Book hasn't let me down before smile)

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TwitterQueen1 Mon 17-Sep-18 12:16:30

A very unstealthy boast but I made Paul Hollywood's leftover turkey & stuffing chelsea buns yesterday and they are absolutely delicious! The best I've ever made. Normally I'm rubbish at breads and buns.

I think the difference for me this time was not adding loads of flour whilst kneading and I used fast action yeast so there was no need to wait for the mix to froth - I kneaded it straight away for 10 minutes and then left it for an hour in a very warm porch.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 17-Sep-18 12:17:21

So what makes the yeast activate?
And what is a 'starter'?

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TeenTimesTwo Mon 17-Sep-18 12:19:32

Maybe I messed up on the type of yeast versus what you have to do with it? I thought yeast was yeast. We had one of those sachet things.

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redsummershoes Mon 17-Sep-18 12:21:50

yeast is activated by adding flour and water.

fast action yeast doesn't need that extra step. (but doesn't taste as nice imo)

ChardonnaysPrettySister Mon 17-Sep-18 12:22:06

The frothing tells you the yeast is alive and viable. It's activated by carbs, so the sugar and the flour.

What you do is mix a bit of the flour with the yeast and some sugar and leave aside in a warm place. It should be liquid. When that's gone nicely frothing you mix with the rest of the ingredients and leave to prove again.

It the first mix doesn't froth then the rest won't work at all.

TeddyIsaHe Mon 17-Sep-18 12:23:07

You should activate the yeast separately before you add it to the flour. So blood-temp milk (too hot and it will kill the yeast) add the yeast, stir and then add the sugar and whisk it in. Leave for 15 mins or so until it starts frothing. Then you pour that milk mixture into the flour and work it till you have a smooth dough.

Enriched doughs take longer to rise, so 90mins minimum in a warm place, or until at least doubled in size.

redsummershoes Mon 17-Sep-18 12:23:44

did you knead well?
you need to knead intil the dough forms a non sticky ball and you call pull a long string off it.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 17-Sep-18 12:25:55

So the recipe said use milk, not water.
And it wasn't very liquid, perhaps too much flour.
(Will also check recipe v what we did, DD2 was reading it out).

Thank you all so much

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TeenTimesTwo Mon 17-Sep-18 12:26:53

I think I need to find a youtube video.

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ChardonnaysPrettySister Mon 17-Sep-18 12:27:46

Kneading is done to activate the gluten so the buns rise and then stay risen when you bake them, it's not always needed.

If your yeast isn't alive no amount of kneading will make the dough rise.

TwitterQueen1 Mon 17-Sep-18 12:28:28

No, you don't need to activate the yeast separately before adding the flour. That's why it's called fast action yeast.

Here is Paul's recipe for chelsea buns.

ChardonnaysPrettySister Mon 17-Sep-18 12:28:31

No, it's liquid to start with you then add more flour to make a proper dough.

ChardonnaysPrettySister Mon 17-Sep-18 12:30:08

No, you don't need to activate the yeast separately before adding the flour

True, but it saves a lot of ingredients if the yeast isn't viable.

I always use fresh from the Polish shop, to at least since I discovered they sell it.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 17-Sep-18 15:12:00

I'll try Paul's recipe. At least is says use a sachet of yeast.
I will try to remember to report back.
Thank you all.

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HardAsSnails Mon 17-Sep-18 15:14:44

If the yeast was as old as the flour that might be why it was dead.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 17-Sep-18 15:18:42

The yeast was newly purchased from Waitrose.

We might have killed it with the heat of the milk / butter reading through guidance here.

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