The recipe below makes a basic bun dough that can be used to make many variations: doughnuts, bath buns, Chelsea buns, hot-cross buns and so on.

Ingredients

Baker's or strong flour is higher in gluten than plain flour so it is more suitable for yeast breads and puff and choux pastry.
 

  • 50g (2oz) fresh yeast 
  • 900g (2 lb/8 cups) baker’s or strong flour
  • 75g (3oz/scant 1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 175g (6oz/1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 organic eggs, whisked
  • 300–450ml (1⁄2 – 3⁄4 pint/1 1/4 – scant 2 cups) water at blood heat

Bath Buns
Bath buns are probably the best known and best loved of all the sticky buns. 
 
Makes 16 buns
 

  • 1.1kg (21⁄2 lb) Basic Yeast Bun Dough (see recipe)
  • 110g (4oz) sultanas
  • 50g (2oz) Candied Peel (see recipe), chopped 
  • grated zest of 1 organic lemon
  • 1 organic egg for egg wash
  • 50g (2oz/1/4 cup) sugar nibs or coarse sugar
  • Bun Wash (see Basic Yeast Bun Dough recipe)

 
 

Method

  1. Dissolve the yeast in a little of the tepid water. Sieve the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl.
  2. Rub in the butter and then add the whisked eggs. Add the yeast mixture and enough additional water to make a fairly soft dough. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  3.  Turn out onto a floured board. Knead well, about 5–10 minutes, until the dough becomes firm and springy. It should bounce back when pressed with a finger. 
  4.  Put into a deep Pyrex bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise until it doubles in size. Punch down to knock out the air and redistribute the yeast back in contact with the dough. Knead well for 2–3 minutes. Leave to rest for a further 5 minutes, then use and shape as desired. 

 
Bun Wash

  1. Put 600ml (1 pint/2 1/2 cups) water and 450g (1 lb/2 cups) sugar into a pan and boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Brush over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven to give them a sweet, sticky glaze. This makes a large quantity of bun wash but it keeps very well.

Bath Buns

  1. Knead the sultanas, candied peel and lemon zest into the bun dough. Roll into a thick cylinder and break off into 16 equal pieces.
  2. Shape each into a round roll and arrange on a lined baking tray. Flatten slightly and brush the tops with egg wash.
  3. Dip the tops with nibbed sugar and leave to prove until doubled in size. 
  4.  Bake at 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8 for 10 minutes. 
  5.  Brush the tops with bun wash. Leave to cool.