Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Teacakes for toasting

It must be nearly sixty years since I toasted teacakes in front of the fire in the Welsh farmhouse where I grew up, The long brass fork was only just long enough to ensure I too didn't get toasted in the process. The teacakes then liberally spread with the butter my mother used to make, were quickly devoured. My recipe produces teacakes that are slightly different to the ones that are commercially available, in as much as they resemble brioche a little more than a bread bun. I prefer a lighter albeit richer teacake. I also prefer not to add spice or any other dried fruit to this tea time treat, we are so close now to Easter and I like hot cross buns to have the spice.

For this recipe you will need;
600g of strong white bread flour
75g of caster sugar
50g of unsalted butter
300ml of full fat milk
7g of easy mix dried yeast
2 eggs, lightly beaten
10g of salt
130g of raisins

Begin by melting the butter in a small saucepan then adding the milk. In a large bowl, place all the ingredients apart from the raisins, including the melted butter and milk mixture. Bring the ingredients together until you have a soft dough and knead for 5 minutes. Add the raisins and knead for a further 2 or 3 minutes. Leave the dough to rise until nearly doubled in volume. I find at this time of year this can easily take 3 or 4 hours. The extra time only helps the flavour to develop so I'm very happy about this.
Remove the dough from the bowl and on a lightly floured surface, gently divide the dough into 8 separate pieces. Take each piece and form into a bun shape. I find the easiest way to do this is to use my right hand to form the bun, cupping the dough and rolling it around  and around on my left hand. Play around with this method but at the end of the day simply form a bun shape anyway it suits you to do so. The important thing is to roll out the bun after forming it to flatten it. This is important because you want a rather shallow end result rather than a domed one, so that splitting and toasting is made easier.
Place the flattened buns on two large baking trays and leave again to rise until doubled in size.
Bake at 200C for 14 to 15 minutes.
These are best left overnight before splitting and toasting only on the cut side until a good golden brown colour. Spread with butter and serve warm.


Raisins as with all dried fruit, that are exposed to the high heat of baking tend to burn, so if there are any exposed raisins I take them out and pop them underneath the teacakes so that they bake safely into their bases.
These teacakes freeze really well and will easily keep in the freezer for a couple of months.
I avoid glazing with a beaten egg before baking, it seems like a bit of a waste of an egg to me and the part of the teacake you never do see when enjoying them is the top.

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