My recipe for Whitby Lemon Buns using sourdough starter; these famous Yorkshire buns have been made in Botham’s of Whitby for over 100 years.
A Yorkshire Tea Time Recipe
North Yorkshire, my home county and one that I miss so much sometimes. And, it’s not just the coastline, moors and people I miss, but I miss some of my favourite cafes, shops and bakeries, such as Botham’s of Whitby and their Whitby Lemon Buns
Whitby Lemon Buns are light and airy, with plump sultanas inside them and rather generous dollop of lemon icing on top. They are quintessential Yorkshire bakes, insofar as they are plump. generous and filling.
You can order your supplies of Whitby Lemon Buns directly from Botham’s, as I have done in the past, or, you can attempt to make your own Lemon Buns with sourdough starter, which makes a heftier and more substantial bun, but in the manner of a real Botham’s Whitby Lemon Bun.
I am really pleased with my sourdough recipe for these Lemon Buns, they rose beautifully and were bursting with sultanas, whilst the tangy lemon icing really was the “icing on the cake”!
You can make these with a non sourdough starter too, just follow my recipe for Yorkshire Tea Cakes, but use all white bread flour, omitting the mixed spice and add the same amount of sultanas in this recipe, as well as making the same fresh lemon icing.
Make a batch of these lovely Lemon Buns for afternoon tea, or for the school and office lunch box, making sure you keep some aside for elevenses too.
Slide Show of Method
More Yorkshire Recipes
- Traditional Yorkshire Parkin
- YORKSHIRE STICKY FRUIT BUNS – SOURDOUGH
- Yorkshire Teacakes Recipe
- Home away from Home: Betty’s Fat Rascals Recipe
- Yorkshire Potted Ham
- Yorkshire Season Pudding with Herbs
- Grandma’s Traditional Yorkshire Pudding Recipe
- Potted Shrimps for a Traditional Yorkshire Shrimp Tea
Pin me for Later
About Botham’s of Whitby
- Elizabeth Botham set up her bakery in the ancient fishing port of Whitby over 150 years ago.
- She began by selling her bread and cakes from a basket at the local market and eventually bought the premises on Skinner Street.
- Botham’s traditions are now proudly continued by the fifth generation of her family.
- Find more history here: Elizabeth Botham and our history
Notes and Substitutions
- You can make these with a non sourdough starter using this recipe here: Yorkshire Tea Cakes – Omit the mixed spice, use all white flour and add sultanas to the mix, Finish off with the lemon icing.
- You can omit the sultanas and make a plain bread bun with the lemon icing.
- M & S add lemon curd to their Whitby Lemon Buns. You can add lemon curd before baking if you wish.
- The buns can be baked ahead of time, then frozen. Defrost and add lemon icing once they are fully defrosted.
- If you don’t want to bake these, order them here from Botham’s! WHITBY LEMON BUNS (PACK OF 4) – TO POST
Botham’s Whitby Lemon Buns
Recipe for Whitby Lemon Buns
- 150g recently fed sourdough starter
- (Feed it with 90g flour and 90g water 2 to 3 hours before you need to start the dough)
- 10g sea salt
- 320ml tepid filtered water
- 80g melted butter
- 1 large free-range egg, beaten
- 50g white caster sugar
- 500g extra strong white bread flour
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 100g sultanas
- LEMON ICING:
- 150g icing sugar
- Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1. 2 to 3 hours before you want to start your sourdough buns, take the starter out of the fridge and feed it with 90g filtered water and 90g strong white bread flour. Mix well, cover with cling film (or a shower cap) and set to one side to start working. After 2 to 3 hours the starter should be frothy and light with lots of bubbles and it may be making a noise, as in singing! It's now ready to use. Put the covered starter back in the fridge until it is needed next time you want to bake.
2. Place the sourdough starter into a large bowl and add the salt, water, melted butter, beaten egg, sugar and the flour. Mix until it has all come together in a rough ball.
3. After an hour, uncover it and with your hands, bring the dough from the outside, and fold it into the middle. Then add the grated lemon zest and sultanas, and fold them into the dough. Do this for about 15 to 20 times - I find it is easier if I rotate the bowl at the same time. Cover it and set to one side.
4. Do the folding and turning action two or three more times over the next few hours, by this time the dough will be smooth, elastic and sticky. I start this at about 3pm to 4pm and the dough is ready to bulk prove overnight at about 8pm to 9pm.
5. Once the dough is smooth and elastic (see above) and it will have risen by now too, cover with cling film/shower cap and set to one side in a cool place to prove overnight. (I use my pantry which is about 10 degrees C or my fridge if I have room)
6. In the morning, the dough will have risen overnight and you will have a large, round ball of smooth dough that's ready to bake after the buns have been shaped.
7. Line a large baking tray/sheet with non-stick baking parchment. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands. Place the buns onto the prepared baking tray/sheet. Cover the buns with the tea towel and set aside to rest for 20 -30 minutes.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/190C Fan/400F/375F Fan/Gas mark 6 whilst the buns are resting.
9. Bake the buns in the pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pale golden-brown, and when they are turned over and tapped underneath they sound hollow. Allow the buns to cool on a wire rack.
10. Make the lemon icing by adding the fresh lemon juice to the sifted icing sugar and mix well until you have a thick, shiny icing.
11.Spoon the lemon icing over the buns.
12. Serve them split and buttered, or as is traditional in Whitby, cut them in half and turn the lemon iced top inside with the butter, like a sandwich! It's up to you.
You can make these with a non sourdough starter using this recipe here: Yorkshire Tea Cakes - Omit the mixed spice, use all white flour and add sultanas to the mix, Finish off with the lemon icing.
You can omit the sultanas and make a plain bread bun with the lemon icing.
M & S add lemon curd to their Whitby Lemon Buns. You can add lemon curd before baking if you wish.
The buns can be baked ahead of time, then frozen. Defrost and add lemon icing once they are fully defrosted.
If you don't want to bake these, order them here from Botham's! WHITBY LEMON BUNS (PACK OF 4) - TO POST
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Lemon Buns Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 333Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 30mgSodium 388mgCarbohydrates 63gFiber 2gSugar 24gProtein 7g
I’m linking this recipe to Cook Blog Share Week 3