Hot Crossed Buns
Even if it is once a year, banish those store bought buns and turn your hand to baking some. These home made buns are simple to make and extremely satisfying. Their delicate flavour and wonderful texture will delight you – I promise.Easter is a long weekend and it could rain or even snow. Take your time and get baking!
- bowls, scale, scrapers, baking tray, non stick parchment, piping bag or sturdy plastic bag for piping on the "crosses"
- 50 g Sugar
- 150 g Strong wholewheat flour
- 300 g Plain white flour
- 2 g Instant yeast OR 4.5 g dried yeast OR 9 g fresh yeast
- 300 g milk heat it up to boiling point and let it cool completely or you will kill the yeast
- 75 g Butter (unsalted)
- 1 Egg
- 9 g Salt
- 250 g Sultanas
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Mixed ground spice
- 1 tsp Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp All spice
- 50 g Strong white flour
- Pinch Baking powder
- 1.2 tsp Vegetable oil Olive, sunflower
- 50 g Cold water
Making the dough
- Put the dried fruit in a little bowl and completely cover it in water (or in rum or brandy or in cold tea if you would like a grown-up hot cross bun). Let this sit while you prepare your pre dough.
- Measure the flours in a big mixing bowl and blend them together. Make a big well in the flour. Sprinkle in the yeast and the sugar. Pour over 280 g of the the milk that you have heated up and cooled down. Flick a layer of flour over the milk to close the well and leave it for one hour.
- Add the egg, salt, and spices and knead well for 10 minutes. The mixture will be sticky but don’t let that stop you. Use a scraper and use it to gather all the dough up as you knead. Add the butter and knead it in for another 10 minutes. It won't get less sticky! You can do all the kneading in a machine on the lowest speed.
- Pop it back in the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid, and incorporate the fruit into the dough gently with your hands. Don't worry about the dough – it will recover. Just don't squish the fruit or you get brown smeary bits in the dough!
- Pop the dough back into the bowl, cover it and let it rest for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- When the dough has risen, scrape it out onto onto the counter. Don’t put any flour down as you will need a sticky surface to shape the buns.
Shaping the buns
- Divide the dough into blobs about 75 grams in weight. Flour your hands (not the dough) and make tight rolls by rolling the blobs around on the counter. Use the counter as a "sticking point" and rotate the buns around by moving your hand either clock wise or counter clock wise. The bun sticks to the counter and this stickiness pulls the surface of the bun around itself to shape it into a tight ball. The dough is really soft – don't worry about that – just gently make little balls as best you can. It takes some practice!
- As you make the balls, transfer them to a baking tray that you have lined with non sitck parchment. Snuggle them against one another as this makes them easier to "cross".
- Cover them with a tea towel and let them rest for 45 minutes. As they are resting, mix together the crossing mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
- When the buns are ready for the oven, spoon the crossing mixture into a piping bag or a sturdy plastic bag. If you are using a plastic bag, snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Pipe the crossing mixture over the top and pop them in the oven for 18-20 minutes. They should be nice a golden brown when they are done.
- As the buns are baking, boil the liquid in which the fruit was soaking until it is a thick syrup.
- Remove the buns from the oven and when they are still hot, glaze them with this syrup.
- Let them cool fully on a cooling rack.
- Eat. Yum.