Antiguan raisin buns are quite similar to any other raisin bun, but the way they are commonly enjoyed is certainly unique.
Bun and cheese. Commonly eaten during Easter, but popular all year round.
Yes, to someone like me that sounded strange, but I’m always up for trying unique foods. And it did not disappoint. The saltiness of the cheese works perfectly well with the sweetness of the bun. I’m definitely making these again!
In Antigua they use a specific brand of cheese called ‘Tastee Cheese’. Supposedly it is like cheddar, so that is what I had, and it worked well.
These buns are also popular in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, but I will make something different when it’s Jamaica’s turn in the Baking World Tour.
You will get 6 decently sized buns from this amount of dough. If you would like to make more, then simply multiply the amount of ingredients.
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the dough –
250g (8.8oz) strong white bread flour
3g (0.1oz) instant dry yeast or 3.6g (0.12oz) active dry yeast or 9g (0.3oz) fresh yeast
5g (0.17oz) salt
50g (1.75oz) soft butter or shortening
30g (1oz) brown sugar
7g (0.25oz) cinnamon
1g (0.03oz) nutmeg
5g (0.17oz) vanilla syrup or paste
80g (2.8oz) raisins or currants
140g (4.95oz) cold milk*
*To learn more about dough temperature control click here.
For the syrup –
25g (0.9oz) water
25g (0.9oz) sugar
- In a bowl combine the milk, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt & yeast. Mix well to dissolve any large sugar crystals and to hydrate the yeast. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
- Tip the dough out on your table and knead it for 3 minutes. Add the soft butter and press it into the dough. Keep kneading for another 4 minutes until the dough becomes nice and smooth. *Desired dough temperature 26C (79F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
- Cover and rest for 15 minutes.
- Stretch the dough out, sprinkle with the raisins. Spread them evenly over the dough and fold them in. Folding in the raisins makes the job easier and less messy as opposed to kneading them in.
- Cover and ferment for 1 hour.
- Ferment for 1 more hour.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. This dough is not sticky, so you don’t need any flour when handling it.
- Pre-shape the dough pieces into round balls.
- Rest for 20 minutes.
- Final shape into buns. Pick off any stray raisins as they will dry out as they bake.
- Final proof 2 – 2.5 hours. Yes, this takes a while since the buns are being weighed down by the raisins, and the sugar content slows down yeast activity. If you want your buns to be nice and soft and fluffy, then you should give them the time they need to rise well. *During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on.
- Pop the buns in the oven and bake for around 35 minutes. Just before they come out the oven make the syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil.
- Brush the buns with the sugar syrup as soon as they come out the oven.
Let them cool down and enjoy with cheese or as they are. I decided to brush the buns with butter and quickly toast them in a pan for a nice crispy, butter interior.
Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.
Watch the video here