The Fresh Loaf

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Regent Buns (a citrusy riff on Chelsea Buns)

happycat's picture

Regent Buns (a citrusy riff on Chelsea Buns)


Lance (albacore) recently made some Chelsea buns that finally pushed me into making a cinnamon-style bun. My mother used to buy cinnamon buns at the supermarket and they were pretty bad and slathered in icing. She'd heat them up in the toaster oven as a treat. The thing I remember most was their bread part was flavourless and then you'd get a bit of cinnamon and an overly-sweet icing.

For this bake my vision was to make every part of the roll contribute to flavour. Additionally, I wanted to make the rolls as fluffy and soft as possible and capable of lasting more than a day.

I looked at a few recipes. I decided to use one as a base and then make a lot of tweaks to it.

Recipe Source


Changes I made:

  • soaked currants in orange and lemon juice over night for flavour
  • included orange and lemon zest in the main dough for flavour
  • used milk instead of water for softness
  • added a tangzhong / milk roux for softness and shelf life (ha ha ha)
  • added an egg (a tangzhong lets you increase hydration) for softness
  • did a 2 stage inclusion: folded in currants, then added filling and rolled it up
  • filling used molasses with sugar for flavour
  • proofed using 45 min timing due to enriched dough
  • used a honey glaze (not just sugar) for flavour

My Recipe


Presoak Fruit

  • 125g currants
  • 105g fresh juice (juice from a small orange plus a lemon)

Flying sponge

  • 175g white flour
  • 7g instant dry yeast  (SAF red)
  • 1 egg
  • 145g milk warmed a bit


  • 25g white flour
  • 125g milk (roux allows increase of total moisture ie egg)

Main dough

  • 75g sugar (processed with all zest)
  • 3g lemon zest
  • 5g small orange zest
  • 300g white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 75g soft unsalted butter


  • 62.5g sugar
  • 13g molasses
  • 2g each cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
  • 1.3g each allspice, coriander, fresh ginger
  • 75g soft unsalted butter

Honey glaze

  • 50g honey
  • 25g water


Prepare fruit

  1. night before, combine currants with fresh fruit juice 
  2. cover overnight

Prepare Tangzhong

  1. heat milk
  2. stir in flour until paste
  3. let cool

Prepare flying sponge

  1. warm milk
  2. beat egg into milk
  3. Mix in flying sponge ingredients
  4. cover and proof until puffy and bubbly (45 mins-1h)

Prepare dough

  1. food process sugar with citrus zest
  2. Add tangzhong and dough ingredients (except butter) to flying sponge
  3. knead 6 minutes.
  4. knead in bits of butter until smooth.
  5. Proof 45 minutes
  6. Fold dough
  7. Proof 45 minutes

Prepare inclusions and filling

  1. Roll out dough thin
  2. drain liquid from fruit (save liquid to add to pancakes or something)
  3. top left half with fruit
  4. fold right half over fruit
  5. mix filling ingredients into paste
  6. spread filling paste over top of dough
  7. roll up dough 
  8. put in fridge to make slicing easier!

Prepare for baking

  1. slice rolled dough into 6 pieces
  2. fit pieces into a baking pan and cover
  3. Proof 30 minutes.
  4. preheat oven 350f (adding another 15 on the proof)
  5. Bake until golden brown (30 mins)
  6. mix honey with water to make glaze
  7. Brush hot buns with honey glaze
  8. let cool


Here are the pieces of the puzzle for the main dough. From top left: flour and salt, tangzhong. From bottom left: flying sponge, butter, citrus zest processed into sugar (thanks Naturaleigh for that tip!)

After the proofing, here's a lovely puffy dough that is rich in colour from the egg and citrus zest. The egg, milk and zest in the dough ensures it contributes to flavour.

I wanted the plump currants to contribute flavour on their own without getting mixed into the filling. I wanted as much flavour distribution as possible.

I folded the dough over the fruit then smeared on the filling. This creates multiple flavour layers.

Then I rolled it up, stretching here and there to even it out,

Here are the rolls after proofing... they looked sloppy immediately after slicing so I think cooling the rolled dough in the fridge before slicing might have helped.

They baked up nicely! The original recipe seemed to mention using convection but no adjustment was needed for timing on these.


I was thrilled with the results. It was well baked and super soft! The bread part had a mellow citrus flavour. The currants inside the dough were plump and had a citrus zing, and where they were on the outside they had a bit of a chew. The filling and glaze were a lovely contribution. Everything was working together and delivering a complete flavour experience throughout the bake.

Lots of wow's from the couch beside me which is the real measure of success. Don't always get those. We split a single roll between us because they are quite large.

Since Benny christened his baguettes "Yorkville" after his neighbourhood, I decided to christen these buns "Regent" after mine.


gavinc's picture

Thanks for the detailed write-up. Experience showing through at every step. They look great. The blend of citrus, sweet and spices are great flavour affinities. Well done. 

happycat's picture

Thanks Gavin I find writing out recipes and editing them helps me a lot. I think through the concepts and make tweaks and simplify the steps so I don't mess up when doing the bake. 

I ate a lot of plain food growing up so spices and citrus are a relatively recent "discovery" for me :) and they'e especially welcome in the grey winter days!

GaryBishop's picture

Your description of store bought cinnamon rolls was spot on. 

happycat's picture

Ha ha yup. It's a privilege having a kitchen and some time and being able to make something that brings a moment of delight into the world.

alfanso's picture

I'm thinking of charging you for the new longer belt I'll be buying!  

I love playing around with these types of baked goods while cookies, cakes and pies are way farther down on my list of interests (leaving those for the wife).  Baked very intermittently as I also tend to eat these in small doses, not small pieces!  So they don't often make my baking wheel of fortune.

But these will be bubbling toward the top of the list.  Between these buns and the molten chocolate volcanos I'll be tipping the scales, so to speak.  Holding off on both until my betrothed returns home.

They look great, and thanks for posting.


happycat's picture

Thanks Alan.

I hope you have the chance to have some fun with some of these things. I imagine you have access to some wonderfully-fresh citrus. All of ours has to be flown/trucked in.

My wife (who is thin while I am not) shamelessly encourages these kind of bakes, so how can I resist that kind of enthusiasm?

I freeze all of my bakes after the first day and portion them out over time. These rolls are so big that we split them between us.

Benito's picture

Love your Regent Buns David, they looks delicious and I love the things to did to enhance the flavour of every component.  It may be time for me to bake sweet buns/rolls again as it has been sometime.  So we aren’t too far from each other then if you’re in Regent Park?


happycat's picture

Thanks Benny. I think this is my first sweet bun. It took the citrus idea to get me to make them (otherwise I just imagine the overly sugary ones you see everywhere). 

It'll be fun to see what you might come up with. 

I guess we are pretty close!

albacore's picture

Nice looking buns, David! It looks like your "composite" recipe has come up right first time!



happycat's picture

Thanks Lance. I'm already getting requests for another batch before this one is done which gives me a big dose of validation ;)

Not sure what to tweak. Maybe add in some fresh milled flour... that can bring in a fresh creaminess I like.

I do think I should cover them while they cool to protect them from the big draft I've got (it's hot on the 23rd floor but icy cold outside... I open the door to vent the place out).  think the draft might've dried the outer crust a bit. 

I look forward to seeing your next kick at the can! Thanks again for your post. It got me off my butt this weekend!