Sepia Saturday on Sunday!
London “Bath” Buns for Best of British and Seventy Years of Be-Ro Baking
Yes, it’s my weekly Sepia Saturday post, where I bake my way through seventy years of Be- Ro cookbooks from my treasured collection, only, of course it’s SUNDAY now, and therefore Sepia Saturday is Sepia Sunday this week……with apologies for the tardy post, but I have been very busy lately, and we also have eight guests staying with us at the moment, so time is at a premium! And my weekly Be-Ro bake this week is a NEW recipe for me, London Buns, or London “Bath” Buns, and I can honestly say that I have NEVER made these before, and I am not sure if my mum or grandmother have made them either; but, I DO remember trying something similar in a café before, as well as a church fête cake stall.
The history behind these buns is interesting; little fruited and sugar topped buns that were produced outside of Bath were sometimes known as “London Bath buns” or “London buns”. And, I could have made this recipe from several other recipe books of mine; in the book “Good Things in England” (one of my favourite historical cook books) the author, Florence White, gives two contrasting recipes for Bath buns – one from 1904 with peel, currants and crushed sugar, and one from the early eighteenth century with sack, rosewater and caraway comfits. The Be-Ro version is obviously based on the 1904 recipe, but the currants have been dropped and only the peel and crushed sugar remain. These “modern” London Buns were also though to have originated from the Great Exhibition of 1851, where vast amounts of “Bath” style buns were made, but without the yeast, and in the manner of a scone or rock cake.
But, as I am baking my way through my collection of Be-Ro books, my recipe today is the easy and rather “scone” like Be-Ro London Buns recipe…….taken from the 24th million edition of one of my old Be-Ro cookbooks.
Now as these delightful tea time treats appear to originate from the Great Exhibition of 1851, which was in Crystal Palace in London, and as they are called London buns and have some provenance from London, I am also hoping that these little treats will win me £50 of Amazon vouchers, by entering them into the latest Best of British Blog Challenge, which is being hosted by Fiona from London Unattached this month, and the region is LONDON of course! New World Appliances are sponsoring this challenge and there’s a £50 amazon token for one winner chosen at random from this month’s entries…plus a GRAND prize of £300 of amazon vouchers for the overall Best of British Blogger which will be judged! So, here’s hoping that my rather HISTORICAL London Buns recipe may be in with a chance…..
But back to my recipe briefly; I made the recipe as printed in my Be-Ro cookbook, but, in place of lemon essence, I added some grated lemon zest and some fresh lemon juice, as well as adding an ounce more of mixed peel too. These buns reminded me VERY much of Fat Rascals, they weren’t as rich, but the texture and shape were very similar. These are a cross between a scone and a rock cake or rock bun, and just like scones, I think they are best eaten on the same day, although I popped a couple in the freezer and defrosted them this morning, and they were still lovely and fresh, so freezing them is an option too.
These will make a GREAT treat for the school or work lunch box, as well as family afternoon tea on Sunday maybe, and, the fat and sugar content is MUCH lower than most commercial cakes, scones or buns too. They would also be great for children to bake along with mum (or dad) in the kitchen, and for a lower calorie count, you can make them smaller of course. I love historical recipes, and next time, I am going to make a batch from the Florence White book, “Good Things in England”, and see how they turn out. I hope you have enjoyed my weekly Be-Ro and Best of British bake, I am back on the fast next week, so look out for some NEW 5:2 diet fast day recipes, as well as my usual meal plan on Monday and many other treats and surprises! Have a wonderful Sunday, Karen
London “Bath” Buns
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||20 minutes|
|Total time||30 minutes|
|Allergy||Egg, Milk, Wheat|
|Meal type||Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish, Snack|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold|
|Occasion||Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter|
|From book||Be-Ro Home Baking 24th Million Edition|
- 8 ozs Be-Ro self raising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 ozs margarine (or butter)
- 2 ozs caster sugar
- 1 oz mixed peel (I used 2 ozs)
- 1 egg (beaten and 1 tablespoon put aside for the tops)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- a few drops of lemon essence (I used lemon juice and a little grated lemon zest)
Delicious little London Buns, made quickly with self raising flour and no yeast; London buns, also known as London Bath Buns, date back to the 18th century. They are large, plump fruit buns with a taste of citrus with crushed sugar on top. They go well with a cup of English breakfast tea and can be eaten as a breakfast bun or as a tea time treat.
|Step 1||Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Rub in the margarine or butter. Add the sugar, mixed peel and |
lemon zest. Add the beaten egg and the lemon juice.
|Step 2||Mix with a little milk to form a dough. Divide into 8 portions, forming |
into buns in well-floured hands.
|Step 3||Place on a greased baking sheet. |
Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. (I used coffee "rock" cane sugar and crushed it in a pestle and mortar; you can also use sugar cubes crushed too)
|Step 4||Bake in a hot oven at 200C/425°F (gas mark 7) for about 20 minutes, until risen and golden brown.|
|Step 5||Best eaten on the same day; freezes well.|
If you fancy joining in, just add your recipe/post link to the Linky below, or if you don’t have a blog, please just leave a comment and let me know that you baked along with Be-Ro! Happy baking,
Food Stories says
Love all that history & great recipe, too 🙂
Thanks so much – we ate the last two earlier on with a cup of tea!
I’ve never made these either and would have sworn they didn’t exist, if it wasn’t for the evidence of the Be-ro book! I’m still thinking about what to make and am thinking laterally – be warned!
LOL! I have been warned and am walking away backwards! 🙂 Karen
These sound delicious Karen, I have not had bath buns. Chelsea buns yes but had no idea about these. Enjoying your food history lessons and photos too
I LOVE Chelsea Buns, as well as Bath buns too, these London Buns are none yeasted Bath Buns really! Karen
Bath buns are definitely a hit here. Love them love them – pinning this!
Thanks Denise, I also LOVE them too! Karen
Maya Russell says
Never heard of London Buns but they look really nice.
Fiona Matters says
Gorgeous as ever. I am running out of superlatives. I love your old recipes and these look just fabulous. Shared on twitter.
Tracy Nixon says
Lovely thanks! G+1’d
I just made these for tea and they’re absolutely lovely, but I found the dough quite dry. It doesn’t seem to have had a negative effect on the taste of the buns, but they don’t look half as charmingly round as yours. Is it something to do with temperature/flour brand?
Karen Burns-Booth says
Yes, different flours absorb liquids differently, but you could have added a little more liquid to the dough before shaping and baking – maybe you can do that next time? VERY pleased that they tasted nice though! Karen