If you have been on my sweet dough course it is very likely that you will have made a Shropshire Butter Bun with me. If not, you have been missing a treat. I used to dream about butter buns until I finally worked out how to make them in 2015. I used to buy them from Sidoli’s in Wellington and was a tiny bit heartbroken when Sidoli’s sold their cafes and bakeries and moved to wholesale desserts and ice cream only. You can still buy a butter bun from Hignetts, the Ludlow Food Centre, Bread & Loaf, Shrewsbury and the Shrewsbury Market Hall but making your own is even better.
My recipe was based on my best approximation of a butter bun from my happy memories. Last week, I was contacted by Edward Aston who some seventy years ago apprenticed with Thomas Wedge Bakers in Broseley and he wanted to share the original recipe that he says came from Tom Wedge’s father-in-law Mr Rhodes, a baker from Market Drayton before the recipe was lost. The video below shows you how to make a Shropshire Butter Bun according to Edward Aston with changes to the filling and the way that they are set out for baking.
The recipe reminds me of what a small world it is. When I was first trying to work out the recipe in 2015 I went to see a very good friend for lunch and there on her kitchen wall was a framed certificate for an award won by Sidoli’s. Her husband, of Italian descent is closely related to the Sidoli family. (By the way before this I only ever knew Sidoli to be pronounced in true Shropshire style as Sid’oh”li, it is pronounced by the Italians as Sid’uh”li, I still pronounce it with an ‘oh’ sound, old habits die hard). I didn’t dare to ask my friend’s husband if he knew the recipe in case I was stealing a trade secret. Yesterday, I shared that I was filming the recipe from the Tom Wedge Bakery on social media only to have my youngest daughter’s best friend’s mum (are you still with me?) tell me that she is the great-granddaughter of Tom Wedge. I have asked her if it is OK that I share their trade secret and as the recipe has probably altered over the years and her father retired and closed the Wedge bakery in 2008 she assures me that it is ok (phew, thank you Lucy).
I hope you enjoy the recipe. Maybe try it with both fillings and let me know which one you prefer. My butter bun recipe that I pieced together in 2015 is available on The Ordinary Cook blog.
You can watch the video of me making these gorgeous buns on my YouTube channel.
For the dough:
300g strong white flour (bread flour)
250g plain white flour
10g fine salt
7g easy bake yeast (instant yeast) or 10g fresh yeast (the fresh yeast can be dissolved in a little of the warm water that you will be using for the recipe)
50g caster sugar
150ml warm water
For the filling:
150g unsalted softened butter
150g light soft brown sugar
60g lemon curd
For the glaze:
50g caster or granulated sugar
Warm the milk and the butter together in a pan over a gentle heat. Yeast dies at 55C so you don’t want the water to get too hot.
Place the flours, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Keep the salt and yeast separate as salt can kill yeast. If you are using fresh yeast dissolve in a small amount of the water that you are using for the recipe before adding it to the flour.
Add the egg, warm milk and warm water and mix well. You can now use a stand mixer to mix the dough, knead for 10 minutes or use the stretch and fold method to develop the gluten in the dough. Leave the dough to ferment until it has become light and airy and has doubled in size. This can be at room temperature and will take between 1-2 hours depending on how warm your room is or in the fridge overnight.
Meanwhile make the filling. Beat the sugar and butter together until soft and fluffy. Add the lemon curd and mix to combine. Set aside.
Make the glaze by placing the sugar and water in a small pan over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then simmer for a couple of minutes.
When the dough has become light and airy turn it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 8 large pieces or 12 smaller pieces. I like the bigger bun but you might prefer the smaller size.
Roll each piece into a circle. Place a teaspoon of the filling not each circle. Fold the circle over and seal the edges. Place another teaspoon of filling onto the half moon shapes and fold in half again so that you now have a triangular shape.
Place four of the triangles onto a baking tray (you can use baking parchment on the tray to save the washing up effort) to make a circle and repeat with the remaining triangles.
Leave in a warm place to prove or place in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
When the buns have risen by about half preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6, 400F or use the roasting oven of the Aga and bake for 20-25 minutes. depending on your oven.
As soon as they come out of the oven brush them with the simple syrup glaze generously and leave them on the tray for 10 minutes to soak up any excess butter and allow the treacly toffee to stick to the bun. Finish cooling on a wire rack and eat the toffee bits stuck to the tray as a cook’s bonus.
Try both this recipe and my version and let me know which one you prefer or which one brings back happy memories of enjoying butter buns.
Want to learn how to make bread?
You can join me for a full day of baking sweet treats at our cookery school in Ironbridge.
My online Bread Made Easy Masterclass takes you from a novice to a confident bread maker.