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I'm trying to make chelsea buns like the ones from my home town as I no longer live there so can't get them very often. I've done quite a bit of experimenting and while I'm quite a way off, I have created a bun I am very happy with except for one thing: a gooeyness in between the swirled up layers.

This is obviously something to do with the filling but I can't work out what. All Chelsea recipes use butter, brown sugar and fruit for the filling but the butter and sugar just disappear during cooking, leaving dry bread. In the chelseas from the bakery, there is a thin layer of brown stickiness in-between the rolled up layers. Not much, but enough to be making the buns moist and sweet on the inside.

Does anyone have any idea how to achieve this? It's as if the buns haven't fully cooked in between the layers, leaving a slightly sticky inside, a bit like undercooked dough. I can't figure out what is being put in the filling to achieve this.

I'm trying to get hold of a picture of one of these buns to better illustrate what I mean and will upload as soon as I get it.

Thanks.

EDIT I've now added the below pictures.

See how the chelsea bun from the bakery (top pic) is still moist in the layers between the rolls and the bread itself looks soft and bendy.

Contrast that with my bun and you can see the butter/sugar mixture I layered up in the middle has disappeared with cooking. It looks dried out. On top of that, the bun itself seems dry in comparison as you can see it has cracked upon unrolling whereas the bakery bun has not.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to achieve this moistness both in the dough and in between the layers??

**I've just had a thought - all chelsea recipes call for bread flour. Is it possible that plain flour would produce a softer, moister bun?

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  • How did you prove the buns after adding the crème pâtissèrie filling? Too hot and the butter in the dough and filling will all melt together: this might be the cause of the sogginess. One quick thought: as a cheat, you could try creaming sugar, butter and eggs in equal quantities (maybe with a tiny bit of flour) for a sort of almond-free frangipane, and using it as a more robust filling. Jun 11 '20 at 10:47
  • I've only made Chelsea buns once. I used a simple melted butter and dried fruit filling (add cinnamon for cinnamon buns) and got a moist but not gooey interior. Jun 11 '20 at 10:48
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Traditional recipes don't seem to aim for goo, and most of the ones you can buy aren't gooey (UK, limited sample of sources). You can try increasing the quantity of spiced, sugared butter (or even mixing a little milk and/or egg in with it) but you may be better off adapting that aspect of another recipe that is supposed to be gooey. You ought to be able to find a cinnamon roll recipe (for example) that states it has such a filling, but swap the cinnamon in the filling for mixed spice. I've been thinking more about this, and about pains au raisin, which tend to have your goo in them. According to Wikipedia they use crème pâtissière.

From my limited experience making Chelsea buns, adjusting the cooking time/temperature won't help - you still want even the middle ones to be cooked through.

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  • Thanks for your suggestion. I've looked a cinnamon roll recipes & they have the same ingredients for the filling so nothing enlightening there. Any 'gooey' recipes for cinnamon or chelsea buns online are only gooey via the addition of a sauce poured over at the end but I do not want this as this is not how it is done in the buns I am trying to replicate. I've added some pics now so you can see the difference between my buns and the bakery ones. Thanks again for your suggestion though. I was already thinking of adding more butter and egg or milk to the filling mix and will try this next time.
    – Crispin
    May 23 '17 at 20:08
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    I reckon the pain au raisin / creme patissiere suggestion might be better. But it's not easy to make just a little for this, which might explain why bakeries use it (because they use lots in other things) but recipes don't. The pouring over approach tends to give a sticky top which I don't find adds anything.
    – Chris H
    May 23 '17 at 21:16
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    I already tried the creme patissiere filling in my last experiment with these buns. It made the inside a bit soggy but it was not the same effect (the bakery buns are 'sticky' not 'soggy' on the inside. Plus I know the chelseas from the bakery definitely do not have a creme patissiere filling.
    – Crispin
    May 24 '17 at 20:45
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If you mix unmelted soft butter with your cinnamon/spices with some sugar say 200-300g of each and when you roll it out to put your fruit in spread half over then add your filling on top then roll up, once you roll it and portion it in your tin and prove it use the remaining butter sugar mixture and spoon it over the top of your buns and you get really amazing ooey goey buns it’s taking me a long time to perfect my recipe aswell oh and I find that if you put your buns in a preheated oven at the highest temp it goes for 10 mins then turn down to 170 160 fan for remaining time and use a strong bread flour or OO flour one that’s around 11 12g protein per 100g flour (you’ll find this in the nutrients column) hope that helps. Let me know how you get on.

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  • Interesting. I wonder if the hot start then turning down the oven, or spooning the sugar mix over the top helps to prevent the inner parts from dehydrating or otherwise over-cooking. Do you do anything to test for doneness or just rely on time?
    – Joe
    Nov 28 '20 at 20:20
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Are you mixing the butter with the sugar and fruit? I spread soft but not melted butter over the dough then spread the sugar, fruit and mixed spice mixture. Came out lovely. Maybe a little more butter?

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