Recipe Courtesy Jane Mason
The Book of Buns

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In London, where I live, there are plenty of excellent Lebanese shops and restaurants and both sell a tempting array of sweet things. Among the different kinds of baklava there are usually some other baked goodies including Sfoofs. The name says it all, really, and of course they are great. The turmeric makes them eye catching and the spices and nuts make them delicious.

  • 500g plain white wheat flour
  • 2.5g instant yeast, 5g dry yeast, or 10g fresh yeast 80g sugar
  • 250g milk, heated to just below boiling point and cooled to room temperature
  • 10g salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground mahlab (or 1 ½ teaspoon of the following mixture: ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground bay leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 100g butter


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar


  • pistachios
  • baking sheets lined with non-stick parchment paper

Makes 12 buns

Put the flour into a bowl and make a well. Sprinkle the yeast and the sugar into the well and pour over the milk. Flick some flour on top of the milk to close the well. Cover and allow to rest for 1 hour.

While you wait, chop the pistachios for decoration by hand into coarse bits.
When the dough has rested, sprinkle the salt around the edge of the flour and add the eggs, spices and orange blossom water into the middle of the dough. Bring the ingredients together into a ball in the bowl and then tip this out onto the counter.

Knead for 10 minutes and then add the butter bit by bit. Knead for another
10–15 minutes until the butter is well integrated and the dough is deep yellow and shiny.

The dough will be sticky and that is fine. Don’t be tempted to add more flour.

Pop the dough back in the bowl, cover and allow to rest for 2 hours.
Pull the dough gently out onto a floured surface.

Shape the dough into a tight sausage (see How to shape a tight sausage, below)[1]. Divide the dough into 24 equal portions. [2] Roll each portion into a long thin rope about 20 cm long. [3] Take 2 ropes and twist them together. [4, 5] Form the twisted ropes into a ring and pinch the ends to seal it shut. [6, 7] Repeat with the remaining dough until you have 12 twisty rings. Place the rings on the prepared baking sheet. [8] Cover with a dry tea towel and allow to rest for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas 7.

To make the glaze, mix together the beaten egg, water, salt and sugar. Brush each bun with the glaze. Sprinkle the buns with the chopped pistachios.
Pop the buns in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.


Book of BunsThis recipe is from The Book of Buns by Jane Mason. This gorgeous collection of more than 50 authentic, easy-to-follow recipes means you will be baking freshly baked buns at home over and over again. From all over the world, there is a bun to suit almost every occasion. Legend has it that buns were developed to enable poor people to buy bread with dignity. Not being able afford a loaf was humiliating because it was impossible to buy just a slice or two. There is every kind of bun on this beautiful book and the recipe instructions are brilliantly clear and are often accompanied by step-by-step photography which makes it both fun and easy to bake buns as part of your every day repertoire.

This recipe has been shared with permission from Rylands Peters & Small and is from The Book of Buns by Jane Mason. Priced at £13.00