I’m so gosh darn pleased with myself that I can now bake bread there’s just no stopping me. This is an adaptation of a recipe I saw on the website, Kidspot. It brought back childhood memories of a fluffy sultana bun with pink icing and coconut from the school tuck shop. Did anyone else have these at their school, or local cake shop for that matter?
A few months ago I would have come across a recipe like this and immediately moved on, but now, with baker confidence under my belt, I pounced.
While coconut was the traditional school bun topping, I saw these hundreds and thousands in the supermarket that were coloured naturally and knew I had to use them instead. I also use strawberry jam in the icing instead of strawberry essence that the recipe called for, because I just can’t bear unnatural flavours. It does make for a more textured icing, so pass it through a sieve if this bothers you, or go for the strawberry essence by all means.
This recipe also happens to come just in time for school holidays. If you have kids around, these are a great way to spend a morning with children. They’ll love all the usual things about bread making – kneading, watching the dough rise, and helping roll out the buns – but these have the added appeal of painting on the glaze, spreading the icing, decorating the tops, and, of course, devouring with their friends at morning tea.
I encourage you to use strong bakers’ flour (or bread & pizza flour – same thing) which most supermarkets have. It will give you a lighter, fluffier bun than regular flour (although regular flour will be fine if you can’t find it.
- 2 cups strong bakers’ flour (I used the Lighthouse brand and it gave a great result)
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons yeast powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup warm milk – warmed to about baby bottle temperature, or just a bit more than tepid
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 2/3 cups organic sultanas
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon strawberry jam
- 3 drops pink food colouring, or squeeze grated beetroot if you want a natural colour
Heat the milk and add the yeast, stirring to mix in. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt and sugar and add the sultanas. Stir in the milk and yeast mixture, and the oil. Mix well. Flour a clean dry surface and knead for 10 minutes (or use a mixer with a dough hook if you have one, for the same length of time). Brush a clean bowl with oil and place the dough ball in. Cover with cling wrap and leave for about 2 hours in a warm place (in winter I put it on the rear dash of the car) until the mix about doubles in size.
When you think the dough has risen sufficiently (it doesn’t have to be exactly double, and if it’s been 2 hours that will be long enough) take it out and on a floured surface lightly knead it again to knock it back to the original size.
Lightly oil a baking tray or dish. Break the dough into 8 balls roughly the same size, then roll each into a log. Place them about 3cm apart on the tray. Cover with a damp cloth and again leave in a warm place to rise, until they are touching, about 30 minutes (longer is fine too).
When you’re just about ready to bake, heat the oven to 200°C. Bake the buns for 15 minutes. (If your oven is prone to burning from the bottom like mine is, drop the temperature just slightly, or put the buns on a higher rack). Take out the buns and put them on a wire rack to cool.
While the buns are cooling, prepare the glaze and icing. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan, boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.
Combine the icing sugar, butter, water, strawberry jam and colouring until a smooth paste.
When the buns are cooled a little, brush the glaze over the tops, let dry for a few minutes, then spread the icing over the top. You can just spread in a clean straight line, or you can drizzle the icing over like I did. Sprinkle with coconut, hundreds and thousands, or anything else that takes your fancy.
Now try not to scoff one immediately 🙂