Chelsea Bun Signature Challenge

It’s finally Bread Week on GBBO2018! Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith have asked the bakers to make them 12 identical Chelsea buns that the bakers can fill with whatever they want.

I always look forward to Bread Week as I love making bread. However, I’ve got a long way to go before I’m able to tell readiness of a dough, prove or bake without second-guessing myself. That’s why I always stick to a tried and true recipe!

So for my Chelsea bun, I use Paul’s recipe as a base and just change around the fillings and icings as I need — usually depending on what I have in the cupboard!

Pulled apart Chelsea buns on a plate with coffee


  • Heat the milk/butter mixture at 30-second intervals to prevent scalding the milk.
  • If you have leftover melted butter after brushing it on the dough for the filling, use that to grease your baking tin first and whatever’s not covered, use the cooking spray.
  • Make sure you roll your roll tight, otherwise you won’t get the lovely spirals.
  • Cover the Chelsea buns with tin foil after 25 minutes in the oven (if not yet done) to keep browned parts from burning.
  • Use a small squeeze bottle if you want clean lines of icing.

Chelsea Bun Recipe

  • 500g (4 c) strong white (bread) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g sachet (2 1/4 tsp) fast-acting yeast
  • 300ml (10fl oz) 2% milk
  • 40g (just short of 3 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1 free-range egg
  • vegetable oil for greasing the proving bowl
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray for greasing the baking tin


  • 25g (1 3/4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ~75g (just short of 1/2 c) soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60g (1/2 c) dried cranberries
  • 60g (1/2 c) dried blueberries
  • 60g (1/2 c) sultanas
  • 85g (3/4 c) slivered almonds


  • 7.5 ml lemon juice
  • As much icing sugar until desired pourable consistency


  1. Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine with a fork. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast.

  2. Warm the milk and butter in a roomy, microwave-safe bowl. Pour into the flour mixture, add the egg and stir thoroughly until the contents of the bowl come together as a soft dough.

  3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface; lightly oil the bowl the dough was originally in and set aside.

  4. Knead dough for five minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, then place it back in the oiled bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel or tea towel and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.

  5. Carefully tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out dough into a rectangle about 36 x 20 cm (14 x 8 inches).

  6. Brush all over with the melted butter, then sprinkle over the butter: lemon zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, almonds and dried fruit.

  7. Tack down the long side of the dough rectangle nearest to you by pressing it down onto the work surface with your thumb. Tightly roll the opposite long side of the IMG_0710-1dough towards you until the roll is complete and tight. Cut into thick rounds – about 3cm (~1 1/5 in).

  8. Grease baking tray thoroughly with butter and/or cooking spray.

  9. Place the buns, cut side up, into the greased baking tray either touching or about 1cm (½ in) max of space between each one. You want them to be close enough so that when they rise further and then bake, their sides will touch and you can pull them apart when done.

  10. Leave to rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place.

  11. Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F.

  12. Place on center rack and bake for 20 – 35 minutes until golden-brown. If the buns had space in between them at the start of the second prove, check after 15 minutes for doneness. If there was no space in between each at the start of the second prove, check after 20 minutes. Cover the buns with foil if they are getting too brown.

  13. Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool slightly before flipping them from the tin to a cooling rack. The underside should be gooey.

  14. Add 3 tbsp of icing sugar to the lemon juice and mix. It should have the consistency of a runny custard. If it’s too thick, add some milk or water a little bit at a time until you get to the right consistency.

Two Chelsea buns filled with dried fruit

IMG_2730Do you love baking bread and are ready for something more challenging?

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Author: Jorina Fontelera

I love eating carbs, feeding people and watching the Great British Bake Off (aka in the US, the Great British Baking Show). I'll be chronicling my attempts at all the challenges per GBBO season.

37 thoughts

  1. I love cinnamon rolls. These sound like them. I haven’t heard of Chelsea buns but I love them already. Another excuse to head into the kitchen and start baking.

    Liked by 1 person

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