Ok, well I wasn’t able to save an extra hot cross bun. I didn’t realize it was missing until Josephine silently strutted across the room with a half-eaten bun. Sneaky girl.
Yikes! Its been a week since I’ve been able to get this post up! I obviously need more WordPress training. Bear with my terrible formatting skills this time. It can only go up from here, I hope.
So here is my take on hot cross buns. I got this amazing recipe from The Fabulous Baker Brothers in the April 2012 edition of Delicious magazine but made my own tweaks. And yes, this is fabulous! Read along for directions and some tricks when making bread…oh! If you’re in the States, follow the ounces (oz); everyone else, use the grams (g)! Essential directions in italics.
Fabulous Hot Cross Buns
This is gonna take a few hours to do but only really 30 minutes of work. Read on and I hope to make this as easy as possible! You can do this! I promise the end result will be awesome…
24 oz/680g bread flour
1.06 oz/30g fresh yeast (In Edinburgh, you can get this at Real Foods, or ask any bakery if they can sell you some! Or just use 2 packets/14g of fast action dried yeast)
0.35 oz/10g kosher salt
3.5 oz/100g sugar
2.8 oz/80g unsalted, room temperature butter
0.5 oz/15g mixed spice (or just mix cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger together- easy on the last two)
5.9 fl. Oz/ 175ml whole milk (remember fluid ounces are weighed differently from regular ounces)
5.9 fl. Oz/ 175 ml water
1 medium egg
5.6 oz/ 180 g currants and sultanas (I used a mix of sultanas, raisins and dried peel from Real Foods-yum)
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
3.5 oz/ 100g bread flour
Pinch of salt and sugar
0.88 oz/ 25g butter, melted
4.2 fl. Oz./ 125 ml water
2.5 fl. Oz/ 75 ml boiling water
1 tbl. Sugar
Pinch of mixed spice
- Get all the ingredients together for just the buns. In one bowl, place the flour (sifted, if possible), mixed spice, salt, ½ of the sugar, butter and egg together. In a pot, gently heat up the water and milk to when you touch it with your pinky finger, it will feel just slightly hotter than your regular body temperature. We are looking for nothing hotter than 110°F/43°C. Aim for 100°F/38°C. If it gets hot, your yeast will die! NO! Yeast is our friend!
- Once you get your liquid to temperature, pour it into a bowl with the other ½ of the sugar and yeast. Mix together and leave alone for about 5 minutes to get frothy. Adding the sugar here gives the yeast some food to help it grow and make your buns soft.
- Now that your yeast mixture is ready (it’s ok if its not super frothy), it’s time to gently pour that into your bowl of dry ingredients. Fold it together using a spatula if you must but you will soon have to get your hands doughy, add in the zests, sultanas and raisins and mix in. If you own a Kitchenaid, then mix on low then up to medium speed for 10 minutes. But we are here to connect with our bread and get a little arm workout! Once your dough begins to come together, place it on a floured surface and begin to knead. We do this to make the gluten in the flour develop a chewy texture and give it elasticity for the bread to expand. Knead for 10 minutes. Fold the dough onto itself, stretch and repeat. Yes, your arms will begin to hurt 2 minutes in. But it’s not about using force, be relaxed and have some vigor. It helps to have some music to rock out to- today my playlist was The Black Keys and The White Stripes during this part of the baking process. The Shins is better music to scale to.
- Your dough will begin to feel smooth. Now we proof it. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap (aka cling film in the UK), and leave it in a warm area to double in size. It could be about 30 minutes. Where is a good place if you don’t have a fancy proof box? You can create a lot of steam in your bathroom from the shower and leave it there, leave it in a shady part in your car if it’s a humid day, or the easiest way is to put your oven at the lowest setting, prop the door open and leave your dough inside. But remember to keep an eye on it!
- Once the dough has doubled, remove the film and give it a gentle punch to release the gases created by the yeast. Take a bench scraper or any sharp knife and divide it into 16 portions. If using a scale, I got about 2.25 oz. for each roll. If not, then cut the dough in half, then each side in half, and that again in half until you get 16 pieces. Round each piece with your hand, making a circular movement with the palm of your hand and cupping the dough with your fingers. Place these with some space in between in a tall baking tray or pie tins like I had to. Cover these again in film and place back in your “proof” box to once again double in size!
- When your buns have doubled, heat your oven to 410°F/210°C.
- Time to make the cross: Whisk all ingredients together to smooth. Place in a piping bag or ziplock bag and cut a small hole in the corner. Pipe a cross onto your buns! Easy!
- Put those buns in that oven! Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. As your buns are baking, heat up your bun wash together until the sugar is dissolved.
- Once your buns are ready, take them out of the oven and give them a nice brush with the bun wash you made. Now doesn’t the kitchen smell amazing? If you are familiar with the “Constant Comment” tea, these buns smell just like it! Orange, cinnamon, fresh sweet dough- it’s just delightful!
- Give your hot cross buns 10 minutes to properly cool off before you devour them. In that time, make a cup of tea, then cut a bun in half, toast, butter, enjoy. You aren’t even thinking about how sore your arms are now. Tea and toast, a perfect beginning or end to your day.