Raw honey dough bunny

Honey Bunnies

The recipe for this dough comes from one of the many digital manuscripts made available by The Wellcome Library, and dates from 1699. The original was a bit sparse in some of the instructions (“add honey to sweeten” “what spice you will”), but I’ve experimented and come up with a version that is rich, not too sweet and delicately spiced. I specifically wanted a recipe that did not contain fruit, but feel free to throw some in if you like. Additionally, mix it up with your own spice blends.

Honey Bunnies

Makes 12 bunny buns

450g strong, white flour – plus extra for kneading.
1 sachet easy-blend yeast
2tsp ground cinnamon
2tsp ground nutmeg
1tsp ground allspice
250ml whole milk
113g honey
113g unsalted butter
2 large eggs

  • Put the honey, butter and milk into a small pan and warm gently until the butter has melted and the honey dissolved.
  • Whisk the eggs in a bowl.
  • When the milk mixture has cooled to blood temperature, pour into the whisked eggs, stirring briskly.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the wet ingredients.
  • Stir together until the mixture comes together in a soft dough. Important: The texture of the dough depends on the moisture content of the ingredients, including that of the flour, eggs, butter and honey. It is probably going to look too wet. Don’t panic. Knead in extra flour to bring it back to a consistency with which you’re happy. It is better to have it slightly too soft, than too dry.
  • Knead for 10 minutes until smooth.
  • Cover and set to rise until doubled in size. The butter and the honey will mean that it will take longer to rise than regular bread dough, so think more in terms of 2-3 hours than just a single hour.
  • When risen, tip out from the bowl and press out the air.
  • Fold the dough together loosely and weigh it.
  • Cut into 12 portions. Using a digital scale will give you the greatest accuracy and therefore a more even batch overall.
  • Shape into buns. To help you shape the dough into bunnies, I’ve prepared a photographic how-to:
dough tail head
Divide each portion of dough into 3 – about 5g for the tail, 1/3 for the head/ears, and 2/3 for the body. Roll all three into smooth balls. Roll the medium ball into a sausage shape as above.
forming ears
Hold your hand as if you were going to do a karate chop, and roll the bottom edge of it back and forth over the sausage of dough, about 1/3 of the way from the left. The smaller portion of dough will form the head, and the remainder the ears.
Shape the 'ears' portion by flattening it slightly and adding a point at the end. It will be roughly leaf-shaped, whilst the 'head' portion remains rounded.
Shape the ‘ears’ portion by flattening it slightly and adding a point at the end. It will be roughly leaf-shaped, whilst the ‘head’ portion remains rounded.
Using a sharp knife or the edge of a scraper, divide the ears by cutting down the middle of the dough.
Using a sharp knife or the edge of a scraper, divide the ears by cutting down the middle of the dough.
Shape the body. I pondered long and hard how to describe the shaping of this piece of dough, until I had a brainwave: make it into the shape of a computer mouse. Vaguely oval, with the back end higher and rounded and the front sloping downwards.
Shape the body. I pondered long and hard how to describe the shaping of this piece of dough, until I had a brainwave: make it into the shape of a computer mouse. Vaguely oval, with the back end higher and rounded and the front sloping downwards.
Using a little dab of water, attach the tail. Shape the two front paws by cutting approx. 1/3 of the length of the dough, dividing the front part into 2, just like with the ears.
Using a little dab of water, attach the tail. Shape the two front paws by cutting approx. 1/3 of the length of the dough, dividing the front part into 2, just like with the ears.
Raw honey dough bunny
Add another dab of water to moisten and lay the head/ears onto the body.
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