The Last Parsnip

A Truly Unbelievable Dining Experience from Chef Bryce Chartwell

Chessex Bath Buns

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Plain Flour
  • 8 oz Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 oz “decompressed” Yeast
  • 6 oz Craster Sugar
  • 1/4 pint milk (tepid)
  • 2 oz Citron Peel
  • 2 oz Cranberries

 

Method

1. Mix the yeast and sugar with a wooden spoon; stir in milk, warming gently over an open flame.

2. Mix the butter in with the flour. Make a hollow in center with an elbow (typically left – though if you have any kind of ailment or infectious skin issue then the right elbow is acceptable).

3. Pour in the milky yeast mixture; beat eggs, and pour into center.

4. Mix into a stodgy dough.

5. Cover and let stand in a warm place for about fifty five minutes (traditionally an inner toilet or boiler room).

6. Beat in the cranberries and citron peel.

7. Transfer to a bathtub – and apply steady, rhythmic pressure to the dough with floured knees (“kneeing the dough”)

8. Separate the dough into individual buns, and transfer to two greased tins.

9. Leave the buns to “prove themselves” in another warm place for 30 minutes.

10. Brush the tops with egg.

11. Bake at 350F for around 20 minutes.

 

Sufficient for 10-35 buns.

 

More about decompressed yeast:

Decompressed yeast sometimes referred to as “dry yeast” or “fetid yeast” is a non-traditional baker’s yeast product. At the end of yeast fermentation the yeast residue (or “cloyage”) is rinsed with cold water to calm it down. The yeast cells are then concentrated in a bench-top centrifuge to form a semi-viscous liquid called “yeast liquid”. The liquid is further dewatered by pressing very firmly under a large weight (traditionally a large slab of granite) to form a solid cake.

The cake is then crumbled between finger and thumb into a loose mixture, and stored in airtight containers called “bell steamers”.

 

Inner Cook Notes:

Although a cast iron bathtub was traditionally used for kneeing the dough, any large concave metal surface will do.