How to Make Devon Buns

Make your own Devonshire Splits (also known as Devon Buns or Chudleighs) to serve at your Afternoon Tea. These sweet buns are enriched with butter and sugar.

What’s A Devonshire Split?

Dating back to the 19th century, Devonshire Splits are yeasted buns served at Afternoon Tea. There’s some contention whether they originated in Devon or nextdoor Cornwall, two counties that also dispute the ownership of original clotted cream! But we know that Splits are – and long have been – served in both regions, with treacle or Jam and clotted cream.

Recipe: Devonshire Splits

The dough needs a few hours to rest, so give yourself enough time, or start it the night before, if you have guests.

You Need:
  • 225g (8oz) plain white flour
  • 1tsp dried instant yeast
  • 25g (1oz) caster sugar
  • 150ml (5fl oz)water
  • 40g (1½ oz) unsalted butter
  • 25ml (1fl oz) single cream
  • 25ml (1fl oz) milk
  • Jam and clotted cream, to serve

First, prepare the dough. In a saucepan, warm the water, butter, cream and milk until it melts together. Set aside to cool: you want to wait until it reaches a temperature that you can comfortably dip your fingers into.

Sift the flour into a roomy bowl, and stir in the sugar and dried yeast. Make a well in the middle and pour in the liquid ingredients. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to bring in the flour from the edges, gradually incorporating it into the liquid; when the dough comes together, transfer it to a lightly floured board. Now knead the dough for ten minutes, pushing away from you with the heel of your hand, then folding the dough back over itself and repeating. Keep kneading until the dough is soft and bounces back when you prod it.

Put the dough back into the mixing bowl. Run the hot tap lightly over a clean tea towel, then wring it out so it’s just slightly damp. Put it over the mixing bowl, and place the bowl in a warm place. Let the dough rise for at least half an hour – it should have increased in size and be puffy to the touch.

NOTE: If you’re making the dough the night before, at this stage, wrap it in oiled clingfilm and put into the fridge. The next morning, let it come to room temperature before shaping and proving, as below.

When the dough is ready, remove it from the bowl. Butter a baking tray and set it aside. Divide the dough into 10-12 pieces and shape each one into a round bun. Place them on the baking tray, spaced quite far apart, then cover again with the warm tea towel and put in a warm place to rise again.

The buns need an hour in a fairly warm place (but not too warm – this could cause them to sink back down a little bit). Preheat the oven to 200ºC, giving it 30 minutes to preheat fully. (Even if your oven reports reaching the required temperature after 10 minutes, we’ve found it creates better buns if you give it longer to heat up really well.)

Finally, slide in the tray of buns and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden and risen. Cool the buns slightly (cover with a tea towel if you want to keep them warm for a bit) before splitting and eating warm, slathered in good jam and topped with clotted cream.

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