Piot bread (soldier buns)

Piot bread (soldier buns)

Piot means a small person, but can also mean a soldier. Whichever you prefer, it is also a small long bun packed with raisins, sold in the market in Antwerp, and it is one of the treats I longed for each Friday when it was market day. These piot buns are placed close together on the baking tray, to cosy up against the other buns so they can be torn apart.
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  1. Step 1

    Soak the raisins or currants in 2 tablespoons of the water for 1 hour, then drain
  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar, butter and yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the egg and pour in the milk and start kneading. When completely absorbed, pour in the remaining water and knead for 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes
  3. Step 3

    Add the salt and knead for 10 minutes. Rest the dough, covered, for 30 minutes and then knead briefly
  4. Step 4

    Finally add the soaked currants and raisins and knead carefully, or on slow speed, to mix in the fruit without crushing it. Cover the dough and set aside for 1 hour until it has doubled in size
  5. Step 5

    Divide the dough into 16 portions and shape into long narrow finger buns of 16 x 2 cm. Place the buns close together on a baking tray lined with baking paper, with not too much space in between as they are supposed to stick together. Cover and set aside to rise again for 1 hour
  6. Step 6

    Preheat the oven to 210°C/gas mark 7. Do not use the fan setting. Brush the top of the piot buns with the egg wash and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown
  7. Step 7

    Cool on a wire rack