With Easter hot on our heels, I have been inspired to get back into the kitchen and try my hand at a traditional favourite.
I have been suffering from a shoulder injury, and so naturally been a bit depro. No gym... and so it has been easy to throw myself into work. But I've been gone for too long, and the baking bug has bitten again.
Hot cross buns are the perfect Easter indulgence. I love smearing butter on a warm, spicy bun.
It took three attempts before I got to a recipe I felt was worth a share. The first batch turned out like bricks, so I decided to use less flour and butter (in fact, I ended up using a dough identical to that used for the cinnamon rolls). The second my buns were a bit dull in terms of flavour. So I increased the amount of spice, and added sultanas and peel. Through this, I realised I tend to enjoy them more with little or no raisins and peel, but plenty of spice. So please feel free to adjust these ingredients based on personal preferences.
What do you need?
500g White Bread Flour
10g instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
250ml full cream milk
60g brown sugar
80g butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
60g (1/4 cups) seedless raisins or sultanas
80g mixed peel (optional)
The hot crosses
125g white bread flour
125ml full cream milk
1 spoon softened butter
1 pinch baking powder
60g castor sugar
What do you do?
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Sift the flour into a medium-sized bowl.
Add the yeast to the one side of the flour, and the salt to the other. DO NOT place the salt and the flour on top of each other, as this will kill the yeast.
Pour the milk into the bowl with the flour, add the softened butter and the eggs and slowly mix the ingredients together until fully incorporated.
Sprinkle in the spices, raisins/sultanas and mixed peel.
Using a dough hook, or your hands, knead the dough for approximately 5 minutes on a medium speed. The dough will look sticky, but fear not... it will be easier to handle when you turn it out onto a floured surface (a little later).
Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth or cling wrap and place in a warm spot.
Leave the dough to prove until it has doubled in size. This should take about an hour, but could take longer if it is particularly cold.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
Divide the dough into 12 or 15 equal sized balls, and place into a baking dish or on a tray that has been smeared with butter. space the balls about 2cms apart.
Cover the tray or baking dish with a damp towel or cling film and set aside to prove for a further 30 minutes.
In the meantime, mix together the ingredients for the crosses. The mixture should form a thick paste capable of piping.
Once the balls have risen a little, use a piping bag, or squeeze bottle to neatly pipe crosses onto the balls of dough.
Place the oven dish into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Be careful of placing two trays in the oven at the same time, as this may make it difficult to get the golden brown colour you are after.
Meanwhile, mix the sugar and water together for the glaze in a small saucepan. Heat gently, bringing the mixture to a simmer, and then turn off the stove.
As soon as the hot cross buns are ready, remove from the oven and brush the surface of the buns with the glaze.