This week buns are back, yay!! The eponymous Elizabeth David, who was born 100 years ago this last Boxing Day, writes in “English Bread and Yeast Cookery” how “all these ‘small, soft, plump, sweet, fermented cakes’ are English institutions”
The British Bun institution
We pretty much sold out of bread and all sausage rolls at the pop up point this Saturday – shame, there wasn’t even a small Multiseed loaf left for the Rex Baker’s children’s lunch boxes for back to school 🙁
So that taught us that it is OK to offer our Friends of Rex Bakery a limited bread list in January. And certainly the Rex Baker gained valuable daytimes otherwise spent in bake preparations, for critical business & shop fitting planning. However, overnight during baking he couldn’t resist preparing some extra dough & baking up some of his favourite buns – so we had a fuller range to offer at the pop up point afterall and we have decided that the same will be true throughout January.
The Bun really is a long standing British Baking institution which has been usurped more recently, as yummy butter-rich overseas invaders like the Croissant has taken its place as a breakfast or mid-morning snack. Who else remembers a bun at elevenses as a British child in the last century, before the advent of the brunch & continental viennoiserie?
A bun should be slightly sweet, not too rich, light and most importantly it’s delicious eaten fresh. In keeping with the lighter New Year bake list, we have a great opportunity to explore the British Bun.
1) Chocolate Buns have been a favourite of Rex Bakery since our Village Day launch. Our chocolate buns, inspired originally by an Italian bread, are sweetened just by honey, top glazed with sugar syrup & flavoured by Callebaut Belgium Chocolate Cocoa Powder and Chocolate Drops, giving chocoholics that chocolate hit but without the fat levels of a chocolate bar or cake. There is no egg or butter in this bun so it’s light unlike most chocolate products.
2) Rex Bath Buns are also light unlike the original 250 year old, Sally Lunn buns of Bath, because ours are not dripping in butter. We do enrich the slightly sweet dough with egg and flavour with Rex-made citrus peel, lemon zest, anise (a very old fashioned baking spice) and a few raisins. If you go back to the Victorian era, apparently nearly 1 million London “Bath Buns” were baked for the 5 1/2 months of The Great Exhibition of 1851 – although with such a quantity some were criticised as irregular, cloying, prone to staling. It seems that those set the tone for the commercial London Bath Bun mass-produced since then. So you can see that originally they were popular but perhaps it’s time for a new direction for the Bath Bun. We feel ours taste great, meet all our January criteria (light, fresh, tasty, only slightly sweet) and hopefully are our little contribution in reviving the great British Bun tradition.
So now you know all about the goodness, care & tradition that can be in one humble British bun – reassuring for those New Year healthy diets!
Have a great week xx