Bath Buns

It goes without saying that I was inspired to make these bath buns by my recent trip to Bath. I like playing the role of tourist ever once in a while. In some ways I still am a tourist. I am not a British citizen, but a guest who has paid quite a lot of money to stay as a permanent resident. Unless I leave for more then two years, then it’s void. So, one could say I am still a tourist. 

The other form of inspiration comes from Jane Austen's books Persuasion and Northanger Abbey; her heroines, in both titles, spend some time in Bath. It is also rumoured that Miss Austen enjoyed a good Bath Bun from time to time. 

While we were visiting Bath we did try Bath Buns from a tea room of he same name. They were good, but these were better. It’s not because I’m some great bun baker; I am still finding my way with bread and yeast risen bakes. I would say it’s because they were fresh … anything fresh out of the oven is usually better then something that came out of the oven that morning or perhaps even the day before. 

I’m really not trying to be rude about bakery’s because I love a good bakery, they are professionals and I’m just a home experimental baker. I just think home baked goods have a different feel/taste to them! 

The sugar cube in the middle of these sweet buns is what makes them a Bath Bun. There are several variations such as sugar covered caraway seeds, sultanas or raisins, or candied fruit peel. I however kept them simple and just used sugar! Sugar is good for you in moderation! 

Bath Buns

7g dried yeast 
250ml milk, tepid
450g strong white flour 
30g sugar
1 tsp salt
225g butter, softened 
12 demerara sugar cubes 
1 egg, beaten

Stir the yeast into the milk and set aside. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt and work in the butter until it resembles bread crumbs. You can use a stand mixer for this, as I did. Stir in the yeast/milk which should look a little bubbly by now, with a wooden spoon until completely mixed together. This is a wet dough, now leave to rest for 10 minutes.  

Since I used my mixer here is what I did: 
After letting the dough rest, using my dough hook I kneaded the wet dough for about 5-6 minutes, before tipping it out on to a floured work surface and finished kneading by hand for another 4-5 minutes until the dough was smooth and elastic. As it was a wet dough I liked using my mixer first as it kept it from being too sticky, but as I’m learning more about kneading I wanted to feel the dough, hence the stopping early. IF you are doing one or the other in the mixer do not knead for more then 8 minutes and if doing it by hand about start by stretching it out in the bowl before kneading it on a floured work surface for 10 minutes.

Place the smooth and elastic dough in a large bowl and leave for an hour to an hour and a half in a warm place until it’s doubled in size. 
Once it has risen, turn it gently out on to a clean work surface and knock it back by gently punching it. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces as best you can. I start by dividing it in half and then each half into six. Roll the pieces into balls, by cupping the dough in your hand and gently rolling it on the work surface until it become ball shaped. 
With the dough ball seam side up press a sugar cube into the dough and fold the dough around it so it’s completely enclosed. If needed re-roll into balls and place on a prepared baking sheet seam side down. Repeat with all 12, cover with a clean damp towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. 
Heat the oven to 190C. Once doubled in size brush the beaten egg over the buns and bake for 15-20 minutes until they are starting to turn golden and sound hallow when tapped. 

to finish:

Milk Glaze: 1 tbsp milk & 2 tbsp sugar
Sugar Topping: demerara sugar cubes, smashed 

Prepare the milk glaze when the buns are just about to come out of the oven, by gently heating the milk and sugar in a small saucepan until he sugar has dissolved. Once they are out of the oven cover the buns with the milk glaze before topping with crushed sugar cubes. 

notes: the recipe is adapted from Jamie’s Magazine Issue 27 Mar/Apr 12 it can also be found online here. My Bath experience was posted yesterday and can be read here. 

challenges: Bready Steady Go hosted by Jen’s Food along with Utterly Scrummy 


  1. I've been to Bath so many times but never had a Bath bun, what's wrong with me?! The sugar cube in the middle brilliant. Thanks for joining in with Bready Steady Go :)


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