We mostly have baked stuff for breakfast because we aren’t really cereal eaters (I love porridge, but am in a minority of one in the family…). I confess I am a bread snob and am not so keen on most of the available options locally – although we are hoping things change as our local community bakery gets going.
So, as punishment for my snobbery, I batch bake at the weekends, and usually have a supply of teacakes and breakfast buns in the freezer. When I have a bit more time in the morning I sometimes make sourdough pancakes, and apple and banana bread is always a (very nutritious) favourite. But sometimes the freezer is bare (I know, can you believe it?) and we need a quick breakfast that doesn’t need an overnight ferment or rise or something equally arcane…
The emergency breakfast (and I know this is all relative – home educating our kids means that are mornings aren’t quite as tightly timed as most) of the moment are lovely curranty soda buns. I can get a batch of these ready in the time it takes to heat the oven up to 230C – maybe 10 minutes? And then they are about 9-10 minutes to cook and then you have a wonderful fresh-baked feast – the best way to start the day, and worth getting up 20 minutes earlier for.
A little note about buttermilk, which is one of the ingredients in this recipe. It seems obscure, but you can get it easily at the supermarket (and if you can get hold of the Longley Farm version, I highly recommend it), and once you have it, you can keep it going indefinitely. If you don’t have it in, and want to have a go at the buns anyway, you have options – I usually use natural yogurt thinned down with whole milk.
Soda buns with currants
450g plain flour (I use 250g wholemeal and 200g white, but anything is fine – you might need a touch more liquid if you use just wholemeal)
1tsp caster sugar
1tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Makes around 15-16 buns
- Preheat oven to 230C/Gas Mark 8. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and have a scone/biscuit cutter ready (I use one with a 2.75in/7cm diameter).
- Sieve the flour, sugar, salt and bicarb into a bowl and then give it a quick stir.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk. Start stirring it all together using a knife until you have a very rough mix (basically until all the liquid is absorbed), then add the currants.
- Using your hands now, bring the dough together in the bowl, adding more buttermilk if you need to. The mixture should be soft with the tiniest tiniest bit of stickiness. Try and keep your touch light and don’t knead the mix.
- Tip the dough out onto a work surface and flatten gently with your hands so it is a generous 1 inch (2.5cm) thick and cut into rounds, transferring them to the prepped baking tray as you go. I don’t generally flour my work surface, but if you feel you need to, don’t hesitate!
- Put straight into the oven and bake for 9-10 minutes (definitely check after 9!). If your oven is anything like mine, there will be hot spots, especially at high temperatures, so I tend to check after about 6 minutes and turn the tray through 180 degrees to make sure the buns get a fairly even colour.
Cool on a wire tray for about 5 minutes before serving. Delicious with butter, and, if you are feeling indulgent, your standard breakfast toppings! No breakfast is complete round here without a certain brand of chocolate spread for twin 2 and some honey for twin 1….
A confession – you might look at these pics and think, no way are those currants… They aren’t, I ran out! So I can tell you raisins and sultanas make a great alternative, but currants are quite definitely the best.