Shoo Fly Buns

by rubadubdublog

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Welcome to south west Queensland, Australia. Some of my most treasured memories of childhood holidays are here and we were here again this Easter. This time we stayed with my aunt and uncle. You know how you hear about those brave souls who pack up their lives living in funky terrace townhouses in the inner suburbs and move a zillion miles away to a small place in the country to find a quieter lifestyle making woodfired artisan breads? Well these guys did, and staying here is like a retreat.

You get to wake up from the best, quietest sleep you’ll ever have to fresh sourdough, tomatoes, eggs and silverbeet from the dewy autumn garden. You hit on every pastoral cliche really…cutting flowers to put inside or watching your child frolicking (well, thumping) through the garden to visit the cows or pick herbs for lunch. If you need nuts or millet or raw cocoa you just head out to the industrial-sized pantry out near the big rain water tank. And while I am most definitely a coastal girl at heart, it’s just my kind of place. Maybe it’s because you can’t beat fresh baked bread or waking up to a big breath of country air. Or perhaps the microbakery that is now in full swing is run by two of my favourite people.

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I would give the bakery, Chalala a plug and claim that I don’t receive anything in return for doing so but that isn’t entirely true. Every time we leave we drive away with a boot full of granola, several loaves of bread and an assortment of nuts and crackers. The eating begins before we even reach home.

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As this was the first time I had stayed since starting the blog I couldn’t help but take some photos. And for Easter, Laurie has given me his beloved bun recipe. This is heavy folks…this kind of stuff doesn’t happen every day. Make them and you’ll realise just how lucky we all are that these guys did the whole sea (country) change thing. Also, you may notice that with white sugar and flour this recipe doesn’t necessarily sync with the whole Rubadubdub theme. But hey, it’s Easter. And throw in some whole Spelt flour and coconut sugar with honey instead of sugar in the glaze and it may not be Laurie’s Shoo Fly Buns but you might be able to justify having a few more….

Ps. I was fortunate to be able to contribute to the super cool The Post Social last month. Great ideas, great design and such kind and friendly people to work for. Check it out!

I’ll hand it over.

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This is my favourite bun recipe!  It’s from “Baker” by Dean Brettschneider and Laurine Jacobs.  This recipe comes from the Babka Bakery Café in Fitzroy Melbourne.  I usually make it with sourdough leaven as well as some bakers yeast and include candied kumquat.

Shoo Fly Buns

500g strong flour (higher protein e.g. OO flour)
10g salt
50g sugar
25g milk powder
50 g unsalted butter
8g dried yeast
250g whole oranges, seeded and peeled for pureeing
150 g water (varies depending on how juicy the oranges are)
250 g currants

100g sugar
60ml water
Zest of half an orange


Wash and puree oranges. Place the flour, salt, sugar, milk powder and butter on your work bench and make a well. Add the yeast, water and pureed orange. Combine into a dough which should be soft and not too firm (This is a similar technique to when you make pasta). Add the currants and knead in gently.

Place in a bowl and set aside. The dough should sit at about 26 degrees Celsius. Allow to double in size (approx 1.5 hours). Knock back* and leave for another 30 minutes. Tip the dough onto a clean and lightly floured bench. Cut into approximately 100g pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

Place on a tray for another hour or so under some plastic to prevent skinning**.  They should be nice and plump and puffy.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes

Once cooked, place sugar and water in saucepan and bring to the boil (don’t stir) to melt the sugar. Remove and glaze the buns.

If you aren’t confident with yeast bakery make two batches.  Put one batch in when you think they are proved and put one batch in a little bit later.  In my experience people tend to underprove dough rather than overprove.

*Knock back means to punch the air out of the risen dough. It will rise again stronger.

**Skinning is when the outer layer of the dough dries. The less it skins, the nicer the top of the bun.

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As I mentioned above, our family celebrated Easter last week. Regardless of whether you did too I hope you had a wonderful, safe and blessed weekend.

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