I have spent the morning baking bread and hot cross buns, a nice way to unwind after a week at work. My recipe for hot cross buns is based on one by Elizabeth David, which I have adapted and actually assemble in a rather unorthodox way but it works for me 🙂
- 2 eggs
- 230 ml milk, heated to blood temperature
- 90 g butter, saltless
- 60 g soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp grated lemon rind
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 500 g strong wheat flour
- 2 tsp active yeast
- 40 g sourdough starter
- 60 g currants or raisins
For the glaze
- 2 tblsp milk
- 2 tblsp caster sugar
For the piped cross
- icing sugar
- lemon juice
I use my kitchen aid here
- With paddle attachment combine sugar and eggs, then add milk.
- Mix the yeast into the sourdough starter and add into the mix above.
- Mix all the spices, salt and lemon rind with the flour.
- This is my unorthodox bit: I grate the butter into the flour and make sure it is all mixed in.
- Take out the liquid mix and swap paddle to dough hook.
- Place flour mix into the bowl and gradually add the liquid mix into it as the dough hook is going at low speed. Once it all becomes doughy, stop and let it rest about 15 mins. Then start the dough hook again for another minute. Repeat this procedure about 3 times.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead and shape into a ball which you place in an oiled bucket.
- Leave the dough to rest until it has doubled in size.
- I roll the dough into a sausage and slice it to roll and shape the buns.
- Place the buns in greased bun/muffin tin. Leave to rest again, so that the dough has a chance to recover from the shaping.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C. Actually I baked the bread before I did the buns, so the oven was nice and hot 🙂
- Now is the time to prepare your glaze. In a pan, dissolve the sugar with the milk , let it bubble and reduce. Place aside. Elizabeth David in her book on English Bread and Yeast Cookery, says that providing the dough has matured properly the glaze will have a beautiful mirror like shine instead of being sticky or tacky.
- Slash a cross on the buns and place the tray into the pre-heated oven. Bake for approximately 10 minutes (this will depend on the size of the buns – I make mini buns as well and they naturally take less time to bake)
- Take the tray out when the 10 minutes are up and baste the buns with the glaze you made earlier. Return the buns back into the oven for another 10 minutes, until they are golden.
- Cool down the buns on a rack.
The cross has always had a symbolic significance, even before it was adopted by Christians. Greeks and Romans saw the cross as a symbol representing all the seasons and used in festive cakes for this reason. To make the cross on my hot cross buns I mix icing sugar, (which I have pushed through a sieve first) add a little lemon juice and mix in just enough cream to make a mixture I place in a piping bag. When the buns are cool enough I pipe the cross on them with this mix.
By using brown sugar the buns will be more chocolaty in colour, rather than white, like the ones from the shops. In my books it gives them a more authentic “home-made” feel. It really is not that much work and the result is infinitely better than bought supermarket ones!
Enjoy, and Happy Easter to everyone!