I am so excited that Great British Bake Off is back on our screens! Thank goodness and hurrah for BBC iPlayer. Without it I would be bereft of my Mary, Sue and Mel time and I fear that my poor father would be dodging arrest after burning the series onto DVD and making weekly runs to the post box to send it to me! I don’t know about you, but I’ve immediately taken to the majority of the contestants this year. Last year it took me a while to warm up to them all but no such effort needed this time round. It’s going to be a goodie, me thinks!
As usual, the start of the GBBO has heralded my urgent desire to get back into the kitchen and get baking, much to the Perky Kebab’s excitement. Though said excitement is mainly a result of a) not having to sit through the first 2 episodes, and b) my choice of inaugural baked good: a batch of Stafidopsomo (Raisin Buns if you’re not Greek). It turns out that these were a childhood favourite of my lovely hubby and since it’s taken me 10 years to find this out I thought I’d better get baking quickly to make up for lost time!
I’ve made this recipe a few times now and have finally managed to perfect it. The dough in the first 2 batches was too sticky to work and required a huge amount of extra flour but some tweaks to the liquid volume and flour weight have sorted this issue out. It’s still a very sticky dough though so be prepared for some messy hands, but it needs to be like this to ensure you end up with fluffy and (dare I say it…) moist buns.
Ideally you need to start the night before you want to bake by soaking your raisins in water. Don’t worry if you forget though. You can use un-soaked raisins but they just won’t be so plump and juicy. You could also add a dash of cinnamon to the below recipe if you were so inclined, or perhaps a grating of orange and/or lemon peel. Both would be excellent additions but I’ve kept things traditional for now.
P.S. I doubled the recipe in the above pictures so you won’t have quite as many buns if you use the quantities below.
This time last year: Giant Prawn Burgers
Raisin Buns (Stafidopsomo)
Makes 8 buns
30g unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
225g wholemeal flour
125g plain flour
1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. The night before you want to make the buns, place the raisins in a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak overnight until plump and juicy and drain before you get baking.
2. The next morning, place the honey and butter in a small bowl and warm gently in the microwave for 1 minute until the butter is melted. Pour in the milk and HALF of the beaten egg (the other half will be used to glaze the buns). Mix together.
3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a free-standing mixer, mix together the flours, drained raisins, salt and yeast. Add the milk mixture and either knead by hand for about 10 minutes (it’s so sticky, it’ll be more akin to mixing than kneading!) or use a dough hook attachment of your mixer to knead for 5 minutes making sure all the flour is incorporated from the bottom. The dough will be very soft and sticky but don’t be tempted to add more flour!
4. Cover and leave to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size (mine took 2 hours).
5. Preheat the oven to 190°c/170°c fan/350°f. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
6. Wet your hands with water and then take an eighth of the dough and form it into a ball. Place on the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have 8 balls making sure you wet your hands in-between each bun to avoid a messy disaster. Brush the buns with the left over beaten egg.
7. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes until they are risen and golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
The buns will keep for about 24 hours if they’re well sealed but they’re best eaten on the day of baking. You can also freeze them once baked – just leave to defrost for a couple of hours and either warm through in the oven or toast.