29 March, 2013
Hot Cross Buns
For us, one of the joys of Easter is Hot Cross Buns, and this year I got out my Mum’s Hot Cross Bun recipe – my copy is quite old (dated 1993!) but some things just don’t date. Mum posted this recipe on her website this year too, check out her version here.
This is my twist on her basic recipe.
First start out with getting your yeast going. Put about 1 tablespoon of honey into a heat proof jug or bowl and melt with 150ml of hot water; then add 150ml of cold milk. Your liquid should now be about body temperature, I put my little finger in to check (if it is too hot it will kill the yeast). Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of active yeast over the top and put in a warm spot to get going – I like using the windowsill on a sunny day. You’ll know it is ready once it is frothy on top, like this:
While you are waiting for the yeast to do its thing, start measuring out your dry ingredients:
- 300gm High Grade white flour
- 170gm Wholewheat flour (if you don’t like this, replace with more High Grade flour)
- 30gm Gluten flour – the gluten in the flour is what makes the ‘framework’ when the dough rises, so this helps it along
- 1 tsp salt
- 150-300gm dried fruit mixed – I prefer my hot cross buns to be more fruity so I add quite a lot, and it is just a mixture of what you like, this year I’ve been using raisins, sultanas, mixed peel and chopped dried apricots
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 2 tbsp sugar, rounded
Once the yeast is nice and frothy, add to the dried ingredients with one egg, slightly beaten, and approximately 1 tablespoon of neutral oil (I use Rice Bran).
Now mix the ingredients together to form a dough, adding more High Grade flour as required so it isn’t too sticky. Once the dough is formed it needs to be kneaded for about 10 minutes. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can use this to mix and knead the dough, it will take about 3 minutes of kneading in a mixer. You will be able to tell if it is kneaded enough by giving it a gentle press and it should bounce right back.
Leave in a warm spot for 15 to 30 minutes depending on how warm it is, it should start to rise. Then knock it down with a little more kneading, spilt into 12 equal parts and shape your buns. Put them on a tray, about a finger width apart, and leave to rise for about an hour – they need to be touching each other to be ready for baking.
Once they are ready for baking, you need to add the crosses. Mix together 2 tablespoon cornflour, 2 tablespoon white flour, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt, and 3 tablespoons of milk. This should make a thick paste that can be piped onto your buns with either a piping bag or a small clean plastic bag with the corner cut off.
Once you have crosses on your buns it is time to make them hot! Bake at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until they are golden brown. As soon as they come out of the oven the need to have their glaze: mix together 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of hot water, and brush over they hot cross buns.
Leave them to cool for a short time (so you don’t burn your tongue), and then enjoy! Happy Easter everyone.