Hot Cross Buns

Try these buns – There’s a day and half left of the Easter weekend and they are just too good to miss.

As you can tell from the photos of our baking session yesterday, we didn’t worry too much about how even or perfect the buns looked – life (and attention spans) are far too short when it comes to home baking. The kids and I used a bread machine to knead the dough too. It makes things easier and we could see exactly what was happening. I also find a bread machine doesn’t overheat or over-knead the dough, which is sometimes a problem when using the Kitchenaid or other mixer to knead. Using a bread machine also helps, when you’re learning to work with dough, to see the point the dough should get to so you can produce the same result when kneading by hand. But I digress – last thing I want to do today is to get too technical.

After making our own, I understand why hot cross buns are such a treat and have lasted the test of time – straight from the oven, they are nothing like the store bought Baker’s Delight or even the Brasserie Bread versions (shop bought buns just can’t be as fresh). Handmade buns are a food revelation. As with everything, I love eating the best example of a food – and even better when I can make something close to it, myself.

The buns are so good and simple I might need to make them again for a bbq with friends tomorrow and maybe in some other form in the next few months (a breakfast fruit loaf possibly?).

Buns
4.25 cups plain bread flour
2 x 8g sachets dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons mixed spice
½ tsp of salt
1.5 cups currants
40g butter, melted
300ml milk, warmed until at body temperature
2 XL eggs, lightly beaten

Paste
90g self raising flour
10g skim milk powder (if you don’t have any just substitute with more self raising flour)
100ml room temperature water

Glaze
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Method
Add all ingredients (other than the salt) to a large bowl or a bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook or to the bowl of a bread maker. (I would usually activate the yeast separately in the butter, milk and sugar, but want to keep everything simple and quick for Easter).

– If you are kneading by hand, mix the ingredients together with your hands bringing them together to form a dough and then turn dough out on floured benchtop and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth.  Otherwise follow the instructions for your mixer or bread machine. I add the salt about half way through the kneading (it tends to stop the growth of the yeast a little otherwise). If the dough is a bit too sticky add a little extra flour (I had to add about ¼ cup in the end). But note this is meant to be a sticky dough, which is really why a mixer or bread machine is such a help – if you have one they make the dough much easier to manage.

– Once dough has been kneaded on the bench, or in the mixer or bread machine, put it in an oiled bowl (just a drop of oil is enough rubbed around the bowl). Cover with a damp tea towel and put aside in a warm place for 1 hour, or until dough doubles in size. Don’t let it over-rise.

– Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Fold the dough over itself to take the air out of the dough, then divide it into 12 even pieces. Shape each into a ball (try and tuck the edges of the dough under itself – this helps them rise up rather than out) – but don’t worry too much about getting the buns looking perfect. The kids loved making their own. Put the bun balls on the tray about 1cm apart. Cover with a damp tea towel or damp paper towel. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until buns double in size. Preheat oven to 190°C.

– For the crosses, mix flour, milk powder and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick or a little more flour if it is not thick enough. I use a whisk to remove lumps. Spoon into a ziplock bag. Snip off 1 corner of the bag (just a tiny bit so the hole is quite small). Pipe the paste over tops of buns to form crosses.

– Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are cooked through and brown and crispy.

– For the glaze, heat water and sugar in a small pan stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Brush or gently spoon the warm glaze over warm hot cross buns.

The buns are best eaten straight away once cooled a little but still warm from the oven. But the next day they are still incredibly delicious reheated in the oven for a few minutes. They can also be frozen – although unlikely you will have any left.

Have a great Easter

Kamilla x

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Categories: Recipes

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One Comment on “Hot Cross Buns”

  1. 08/04/2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Kamilla , these look delicious ! I’m half tempted to abandon our cup cake baking this afternoon and make these instead 🙂 yum !
    Not sure if you’ve seen your about page , nominated you for an award and left you a note there 🙂
    Cheers xo

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