Please read right through before commencing.

The process used to make these buns is called   FERMENT AND DOUGH PROCESS.

It is a two stage process , usually used when making a high sugar content type dough. Although yeast likes/needs sugar to grow, excessive amounts will actually stop it growing all together, so by growing the yeast first, before allowing it to come in contact with the sugars it allows it to grow and produce the Carbon Dioxide to give the required volume. Fat also will retard the yeast, as it coats the flour grains, making it hard for the yeast to access the sugars in the flour. 

Oven Temperature.  235C, 215Fan, 450F, Gas mark7.

This recipe should make 16+ buns

Stage 1 (Ferment)

   225ml (8oz) Milk @ 40C (105F)

   28g (1oz)  Fresh yeast (if using dried yeast 21g,( 3/4 oz) but do not use the fast acting type).

   85g (3oz) Strong white, bread flour.

  28g (1oz) Sugar.

Stage 2 (Dough).

   455g (1lb) Strong white bread flour.

   Pinch Salt

   Half a level Teaspoon of mixed spice.

   85g (3oz) Butter.

   85g (3oz) Sugar.

    1 Small egg or (half a large egg, crack L egg into a container ,blend the yolk and white together and then      divide and use half , remainder will be used in the bun glaze later).

    100g(4oz) currants

     50g( 2oz) sultanas

      25g (1oz) mixed peel (optional)

  1. Method/mixing. Stage 1. (ferment) Carefully warm the milk to 40C (104F) This is just above body temp (lukewarm not hot) Place in a bowl taking into account that the volume will increase at least by 4 times.
  2. Add the yeast and disperse into the milk.
  3. Finally add the sugar and flour and whisk thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps and that the sugar and the yeast are completely mixed in.
  4. Cover with cling film or put bowl into a large plastic bag and place in a warm area free from draughts. Allow to stand for 25 minutes. During this period weigh and prepare stage 2.

  1. Stage 2 (dough)
  2. Sieve together the flour, salt and mixed spice and place into mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour.
  3. Mix together the egg and sugar.
  4. Using the now developed ferment add, with the egg sugar mix, into the flour and begin to mix the dough.
  5. This is a very soft dough and will need to be beaten well, a wooden spoon is recommended, if mixing by hand. Mix to a smooth clear dough, do not be tempted to add more flour.
  6. When mixed, leave in the bowl and cover with cling film and place in a warm draught free place for 30 minutes.
  7. Weigh the fruit and check that it is evenly mixed  together (if not using mixed peel, increase the amount of sultanas.
  8. After 30 mins , remove dough from bowl onto a suitable work surface. you now need to "tear" the fruit into the dough (not all at once) Mixing it with a beater or by machine will damage the fruit and make it "bleed" spoiling the end product.
  9. When evenly mixed, return to the bowl ,cover and leave for another 15 mins,
  10. Turn on Oven (if not already done so)
 Click/Hover thumbnails below for mixing details.

Adding the fruit. 

 After standing for the 15 mins, carefully tip the fermented dough on to the lightly floured work surface.

You now need to weigh lumps of the finished dough into 56g(2oz)  pieces. These need to be made into balls and left on the bench for 5 minutes covered with a cloth to stop them skinning.(As above in thumb nails)

Have prepared baking sheets lightly greased or baking parchment lined. This mixing will make approx 16+ buns so, according to the size of your oven, you will require 2 trays. These buns need to be well spaced when baking.

After 5 mins uncover the buns and re-round them, the less flour on the work surface the better. Place the formed buns onto the prepared trays making sure they are evenly spaced and allowing for expansion. . Cover with lightly greased cling film or a large plastic bag, make sure the dough does not come into contact with the film or the plastic,it is liable to stick. Place in a warm draught free area and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Whilst the buns are fermenting you need to prepare the crossing material.

Crossing paste (1) 100g/4oz lain flour, 50g/2oz butter, 25g/1oz water.

Rub together the flour and the fat then add the water and mix to a smooth dough. Using flour for dusting, roll out the paste to 3mm thick and cut into thin strips about 50mm long. When the buns have stood for 30 mins, carefully remove the covering and using the strips of paste lay carefully as a cross on each bun. Although the paste is edible it is usually carefully removed from the bun when cool enough to do so. This leaves a very distinctive cross on the surface of the bun.

Crossing paste (2)  100g/4oz self raising flour, pinch salt, 20g/1oz butter, 100g 4oz milk. 

Sieve together the flour and the salt, add the butter and rub in thoroughly. Add some of the milk until a paste is formed. Then add the remaining milk and beat to a smooth batter. Using a   piping bag  fitted with a small plain nozzle, pipe the crosses on the risen buns taking care not to knock the tray or puncture the buns.. If you do not have a piping bag, place the mixture in a small freezer bag and carefully cut off one of the corners to form a small hole and use as a piping bag..

You will see from the clip below how important it is to keep the buns in straight lines, evenly spaced and allow sufficient space for the buns to expand in baking without touching each other. Also note how the crossing mix is allowed to drop down each bun. This ensures that the cross is not just on the top.

Bun glaze 140ml/ 5oz/ 1/4pt milk, 1 small egg, 28g/1oz caster sugar. Whisk all together thoroughly to ensure sugar has dissolved

When piped, carefully place in the oven , If using a fan oven you should be able to bake two trays at the same time  (you may have to change them around after 10 mins) and bake 12-15 minutes. 

Oven Temperature.  235C, 215Fan, 450F, Gas mark7.

On removal from the oven brush with prepared bun glaze and leave on tray for at least 5 minutes before placing on a cooling wire.

Top Tips.

Turn on oven......Do not use high speed yeast (fast acting)...Ensure fruit is moist and room temperature,

Avoid knocking the tray when the buns have risen....Kitchen should be warm and draught free ( do not be tempted to open a window if it seems to be hot....Keep doughs covered at all times.