Peter Rabbit’s Currant Buns

We couldn’t find a local bakery to help us sample the currant buns Peter Rabbit’s mother buys, so we made our own.

Studying Peter Rabbit seriously put us in the mood for currant buns, and we had to take matters into our own hands. Since I’m drawn to anything Downton Abbey this year, this recipe won the prize.

Click photo to enlarge.

The buns turned out nicely, but I needed to make a few changes along the way, like adding some extra flour. Also, they turned out to be quite large, so I’ve included my speculations about how to make the buns smaller.

So, for those of you who want to make currant buns for a Peter Rabbit event, you’ve got a recipe here. And for those of you who aren’t thinking about Peter Rabbit much these days, here is a delicious recipe for soft, sweet rolls. Enjoy!

Peter Rabbit’s Currant Buns

adapted from Downton Abbey Cooks

½ cup lukewarm water
½ cup granulated sugar
1 package active dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
3½ cups all-purpose flour (plus up to 1½ cups more)
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup warm milk
¼ cup butter, melted
2 eggs, at room temperature (you can cheat this by placing refrigerator-cold eggs in a bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes)
½ cup currants (soak these in hot water for a few minutes to plump them up)
4 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons water

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine warm water and 1 tablespoon of the sugar, then sprinkle yeast over top. Let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, blend together remaining sugar, 3½ cups flour, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, butter, and eggs. Stir in the yeast mixture until combined.

Make a well in the dry ingredients; stir in the yeast mixture until a soft dough forms. Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, knead for 8-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. (I needed to add an additional 1¼ cups of flour at this point to achieve a smooth and elastic dough, so don’t be shy about using that extra flour if needed.)

Transfer dough to a large greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for one hour or until the doubled in bulk. (I usually preheat the oven to 200°, turn it off, put the bowl of dough inside, then shut the oven door.) If you can stick two fingers in the dough and the indentation remains, you are ready to proceed.

Punch down the dough; turn out onto floured surface; knead in currants. Shape into a 12-inch long log. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces for large buns. (If you’d like smaller buns, cut each of those 12 pieces in half to make 24 pieces.)

Roll pieces of dough into smooth, seamless balls. Place buns on greased baking sheet leaving about 2 inches between each bun. Cover loosely and let rest for 30 minutes.

Bake in 400° oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. (If you’re baking 24 smaller buns, start checking them after 7 or 8 minutes.) Stir together icing sugar and water, brush over warm buns; let cool on rack.

Serve with milk and blackberries to good little bunnies.

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