Chai-spiced Honey Brioche Knots

Life seems to be ever changing at the moment but at the same time, standing completely still. Life’s never been so different with current politics and Covid. We’ve all had to adapt and change our everyday routines although life is quite stagnant. Days which I would usually look forward to celebrating seem to be passing me by like any other. So how do I find joy in what could be seen as a grey world right now? Well, the comfort of food.

I seek solace in my kitchen whether it be a simple slice of hot toast, or one of these fragrant buns. I can forget about the world outside and its just me and my bakes. I hope that these can also bring you a lift in times when other little happiness’s are absent. Lets revel in the smaller delights.

Ingredients – Makes 8 Buns

Brioche dough

  • 400g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 45g caster sugar
  • 90ml whole milk
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 170g unsalted butter, softened

Filling

  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • 25g honey
  • 30g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. each ground nutmeg, clove and all spice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Syrup

  • 120g honey
  • 75ml warm water

Method

Brioche (the night before):

Combine the strong flour, salt, cinnamon, yeast, sugar, milk and eggs together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (make sure you keep the yeast, salt and sugar away from each other until mixed.) Mix for 5 minutes on medium speed until you have a smooth dough. Gradually add in the butter in small chunks and continue to mix on medium until all the butter has been incorporated. Mix for 5 more minutes or until the dough is smooth, elastic and slapping against the side of the bowl when mixing. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight.

Shaping (the next day):

First, we can make the filling for our buns. Combine all the filling ingredients together until you have a soft fluffy butter. You may need to warm it for a few seconds in the microwave if your butter isn’t extremely soft. Set aside until needed. Prepare two baking trays lined with greaseproof paper.

Take your brioche dough from the fridge and tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 40x50cm rectangle. Spread over your spiced butter filling, leaving a cm without filling around the edge. Letter fold the dough by taking one third, folding it into the centre and taking the second third and folding that on top. Roll this out to a 40x50cm rectangle again.

Cut your brioche in half lengthways and then into 8 so you are left with 8 flat rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 3, leaving the top inch attached. Plait the 3 pieces and roll up into a ball. Turn the bun over and pinch the base where the two ends meet, this ensures it wont unravel too much in the oven. Place four onto each baking tray, leaving plenty of room for them to proof and bake.

Cover loosely with a tea towel or clingfilm and leave at room temperature to proof for 1 hour, or until puffed and doubled in size. Pre-heat your oven to 170°C.

Bake the buns in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. While your buns are baking, you can prep the syrup by simply stirring together the honey and warm water.

Once the buns are baked, bring them out of the oven and leave at room temperature for 5 minutes before brushing liberally with honey syrup. This will keep the buns soft and moist. Use up all of your syrup, you should be able to go over them at least twice.

Best served warm and fresh!

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