For years I have been in search of the sweet yeast and buns of my childhood. They were the memories of the bakery at the end of my Grandmother’s street, Werner Street, in Geelong…I have to add opposite from the Cats’ home ground and as hard as I have tried I cannot remember the name of the bakery.

The smell of sweet baking yeast was our morning wakeup perfume ritual and I quickly learned bakers were sentimental blokes who loved children. Werner Street was a bizarre mix of Irish and Protestant and I was desperately in love with Peter Finlayson a forbidden Irish Catholic and the adored naughty neighbour girls who painted their fingernails red and did square dancing in beautiful skirts, their mother a brilliant seamstress made. I remember a train journey to Warnambool to visit my Grandmother’s sister Auntie Min where my grandmother too furious with me for disobeying her to use acetone, filed the red nail polish from my little fingers for the entire journey. I later suspected she was more mad at Uncle Jack who lusted after these gorgeous girls than she was at me.

My Grandmother, a woman of great beauty I later pieced together, had a long standing affair with the shop owner [Uncle Jack] where she worked a few hours a day. It was a street of the 50s divided by religion that us kids failed to understand and completely ignored.

A fat little kid, the only small girl on the street, I was the one shoved daily to the huge bakery door, commanded by the older kids to ‘look sad’. I always wondered how a chubby, obviously well-fed kid could ever look sad, but I did my best. Bizarrely it always worked and baker dusty with flour, his whiskers and eyebrows powdered white, would give me the treasured ‘Boston Bun’.

It was round, about 25 cm and about 10 cm high with a hidden internal sparing smattering of currants, glossily glazed, thickly white iced and liberally dusted with coconut. Sixty five years later I can still remember the smell and taste and feel the warmth of the bottom of the bun.

Having gratefully thanked the baker I started to walk up the street, knowing the treasure would be ripped from my hands before I reached home. Even the snarls of my Aunty Betty’s Cocker Spaniel Chipper did not deter the boys of the street.

They tore it apart dividing in amongst themselves and I always knew my share was never fair.

This is just the start of where I will take this perfect dough…iced apple and cinnamon buns, London buns studded with currants, glazed with gritty sugar, of course the Boston Bun and so much more…AO

for the spice mix
Make this in quantity..vacced it freezes well and you can grab it whenever!

120g cinnamon sticks
6g whole cloves
100g juniper berries
12g cardamom pods
30g whole nutmeg, crushed roughly

Put everything into the Thermomix and powder. Vac and freeze until ready to use.

makes three loaves loaf tin size 30 mm x 230 mm or equivalent

for the fruit
300g dried cranberries
100g cold water
100g crystalised arancini [pr peel] finely chopped

for the glaze
100g caster sugar
50g water

for the dough
20g very soft unsalted butter
+ a couple of tablespoons extra flour for preparing the tins
16g dried yeast
750g warm water
60g caster sugar
100g EVO or vegetable oil
1000g Lauke Wallaby Bakers flour
48g spice mix
5g salt

additional ingredients
fennel seeds
Maldon sea salt

for the fruit
2 days before you want to make the dough

Weigh the fruit and the water into a bowl and stor over at least three times a day.

for the glaze
Weight the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Place it on high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Immediately turn the heat off and allow to cool completely.

for the dough
Butter and flour the tins. Weigh the yeast and water into a large mixing bowl and whisk together. When the yeast and sugare are dissolved weigh the sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the oil and whisk in. Then weigh the flour, spice mix and salt on top. Using your preferred dough hook work the dough together [it is a little sticky] and when it is properly combined add the fruit and work justlong enough to mix in. Scrape the sides of the bowl clean, cover with a damp cloth and allow to double in size.

When the dough has doubledscrape it out onto a lightly floured surface and using a little extra flour as possible knead it. Divide the dough into three equal[ish] portions and knead each portion into a rectangle. Drop each portion into a prepared tin, smoothest side up. Brush the top with the glaze and liberally scatter fennel seeds and Maldon on top and set aside until it has again double in size.

pre heat oven to 200°C
Bake until risen and godlen and coming lose from the tins….approximately 45 minutes. Tip out onto a rack to cool and turn them top side up.

divine….sliced and buttered straight from the oven it is also makes wonderful breakfast toast. Store in the fridge…if you’re lucky enough to salvage any! Also freezes well. Slicing prior to freezing is good advice.