These heart-shaped buns are the perfect Valentine's Day treat, enriched dough makes the buns irresistibly soft and pillowy, then fill them with love (and jam)!
Heat the milk in a pan over a low heat for 3-4 mins until steaming (don’t let it boil). Stir in the butter to melt and set aside for 5 mins. Meanwhile, mix the flour, lemon zest, yeast, caster sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the milk mixture, stirring until everything comes together in a very soft, sticky dough.
Enriched dough starts off quite sticky: try to keep kneading without adding more flour (flour will make the buns tougher). The dough will lose its stickiness the more it’s kneaded.
Mix for 7 mins using an electric dough hook, or by hand on an oiled surface for 10-12 mins, until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise at room temperature for 1 hr or until doubled in size.
Divide the dough in half; roll out each half into a 35 x 40cm rectangle on a lightly oiled or floured surface. Spread both with the jam, leaving a 3cm border. Roll both long ends of 1 rectangle so they meet in the centre, then cut into 8 slices. Use a sharp knife to slice the rolled dough: this will help it keep its shape better. For more even sizes cut the length in half first, then into 4 equal pieces. Pinch the bottom of the rolls to create a heart shape. Repeat with the second rectangle.
Line a 35cm square or round baking tray with nonstick baking paper. Put 4 slices in the centre of the tray with their points all facing inwards, leaving a 5mm gap between each. Place the rest in a ring around the central 4, with a 1cm gap between the ring and the centre. Alternate the direction of the slices and leave a 5mm gap between them. Cover with clingfilm; leave for 30-45 mins until risen but not quite doubled in size.
Leaving space between the buns is vital so they have enough room to rise properly. If your kitchen is cold, transfer the tray of buns to the (cold) oven and place a pan of boiling water on a lower shelf.
Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Pinch the hearts again to reinforce the points. Brush lightly with egg and bake for 20-25 mins until puffed slightly. Using beaten egg to brush the buns ensures a golden finish and shine. You could also use melted butter or milk, though these would give a lighter finish.
If the buns brown too quickly, cover with foil for the last 5-10 mins. Leave to cool for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Mix the icing sugar, lemon juice and 1 tbsp water to a smooth paste, then drizzle over the buns. You can freeze the buns, baked but un-iced. Defrost overnight, then warm for a few mins in the oven; ice while warm.
We've made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need to make these fluffy heart-shaped buns. Don't forget to screenshot before you go shopping!
290ml whole milk 50g unsalted butter, diced500g strong white bread flour1 lemon, zested, ¼ juiced7g fast-action dried yeast50g caster sugar½ tsp saltsunflower oil, for greasing150g raspberry jam1 medium egg, beaten50g icing sugar
Takes 55 mins plus proving and cooling
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