I have mentioned plenty of times before how much I love making bread. There’s just something therapeutic and exciting about it at the same time. Baking is wondrous in how it turns something colourless and shapeless into a piece of edible art, and I think this magic is more evident in yeast breads. It starts out as a sticky piece of dough that somehow has a life of its own thanks to the yeast. You wait patiently as it rises and grows and puffs up, and once you shape it and put it into the oven it bakes into perfect little breads with beautiful crumbs. It sometimes pays to sit back and just appreciate the transformation from dough to bread. It can be mind-blowing.
It’s quite sad that lately I haven’t had the chance to make any yeast breads due to time constraints. (That and I have been tired a lot.) Every time I think of making bread there are other “more pressing” plans that have to take priority over a relaxing day in the kitchen. Having just one day off work in a week just isn’t enough anymore haha! There’s just so much that I want to get done that it’s hard to stuff it all into one day. That’s why any opportunity or stolen moment I have to make bread, I snatch it into my hands and hold on tightly.
Now if there’s anything I love more than plain old breads, it’s filled breads. It’s not that I would call plain breads boring– I appreciate all sorts of yeast breads too much to say that. It’s just that filled breads are a joy to munch on; and anyway you add spreads on plain breads most of the time. Why not just bake the spread into the buns, right?
The truth is I was very excited to make this particular recipe because it combines two of my favourite flavours: lemon and almond. Lemon buns with marzipan filling. Remember my story about finally getting my hands on a pack of marzipan? I was lucky to find out that one 500-gram pack is enough for two different recipes, so I jumped right in for the chance to make these buns!
(Apologies for the ugly gif colour. Can anybody teach me how to solve this?)
My obsession with the lemon flavour has always been a mainstay in my life, so it’s completely understandable why this particular bun would make me feel all giddy just thinking about it. But the bonus for me was to get to see how marzipan would fare as a filling. Could I perhaps use it for future filled bread experiments? It’s interesting to discover different types of flavours that go well together, and today the focus is on the lemon-almond tandem.
To say I was not disappointed would be an understatement. In fact I was very very pleased, most especially with how the bread itself turned out. Aside from the fact that the dough was ridiculously easy to make and is an overnight sort of dough you just toss in the fridge after mixing, the result is a lemon-lover’s dream. (Oh hey, that’s me!) The bread is soft and smells amazingly citrusy. It tastes amazing as well; every bite dancing with beautiful lemon notes.
As for the marzipan, my only issue is the unevenness of it as a filling. I feel it is not well-distributed since it mostly stayed baked as a solid log in the center of the bun. Some of the logs even melted as it was being baked. Perhaps next time it would be better to cut the marzipan up in small chunks and sprinkle that on the dough instead. Now I keep wondering if I should have sealed the filling inside the dough, or thought up another way to fill the buns with the marzipan. The lemon buns were fantastic on their own but the marzipan isn’t my favourite filling for this bread.
Regardless of my nit-picky complaints, the Lemon Buns are still fantabulous in taste and texture, and the marzipan provided this nice sweet almond flavour within the bread. I loved eating these warm!
Lemon & Almond Buns
Makes 9 buns
- 400 grams all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- 2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 100 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup 240ml whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 250 grams marzipan
- melted butter, toasted slivered almonds, and icing sugar, to finish
Start the dough the night before
- 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flour, salt, lemon zest, yeast and sugar.
- 2. Beat butter with the milk and egg. Pour into the dry ingredients, and using the dough hook, mix everything thoroughly together until a soft, sticky dough forms.
- 3. Cover the bowl tightly and leave in the refrigerator until morning.
Once the dough has proofed overnight
- 4. Remove dough from the refrigerator and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a 10-inch baking pan with foil, leaving two overhangs on opposite sides. Lightly butter the foil.
- 5. Using the mixer with the dough hook (or by hand on a lightly floured surface), knead the dough until smooth. Lightly flour a work surface, then roll the dough to a long rectangle about 28 x 4-inches.
- 6. Roll the marzipan into a 28-inch cylinder, place along the centre of the dough, then roll the dough around it to seal. Pinch the edges to seal. Roll dough over so that the sealed part is the one underneath.
- 7. Leave the dough to relax for 10 minutes, then cut into nine slices and place in three rows, sealed-side down, into the prepared pan. Leave to rise for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
- 8. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Bake the buns for about 35 minutes or until golden. Cool in the pan then brush with melted butter, sprinkle with the almonds, and dust with the icing sugar.
If you happen not to have any marzipan or have no plans to purchase any, go on ahead and stuff this with whatever filling you like with lemon. Or don’t stuff it at all and enjoy it just as it is. It’s brilliant on its own, and that photograph of its soft fluffy crumb pretty much speaks volumes about how awesome this bread is!