Hot cross buns…one a penny, two a penny…hot cross buns…
I’ve baked 48 hot cross buns in the last 48 hours and now have two recipes that I’m happy with. The first recipe is a sourdough one and it’s Pete’s favourite, but it takes a lot more time and a bit more effort.
The second recipe is far easier (and Small Man’s bun of choice) and uses commercial yeast, so it’s much quicker to make. It’s loosely based on Richard Bertinet’s sweet dough recipe, which we’ve changed up quite a bit over time. I wrote a detailed tutorial on our version here.
- 500g bread flour
- 10g instant yeast
- 8g fine sea salt
- 40g brown sugar
- 60g unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 75g currants
- 250g full cream milk, at blood temperature, or UHT milk, unrefrigerated
- 3 Tbsp self raising flour
- 2 Tbsp cold water
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 2 Tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
(Update 11th April 2017) I’ve simplified the instructions for making the dough – after quite a lot of testing, we’ve found that the extended kneading process really isn’t necessary.
The dough can also be made in a stand mixer using a dough hook. In that case, melt the butter first and add it with the wet ingredients. Mix to form the dough, then turn off the machine and let the dough rest for half an hour or so, covered with a tea towel (I just leave the splash guard on). Then turn the machine on again and knead for a few minutes more. Scrape the hook clean, then proceed from step 4 onwards.
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, yeast, mixed spice and sea salt. Rub in the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and currants, then add the eggs and milk.(Note: I use UHT full cream milk, unrefrigerated and straight out of the carton)
2. Mix well with a spatula or a clean hand until it forms a shaggy dough. Allow the dough to sit in the mixing bowl, covered with a clean tea towel or clingfilm, for about 20 minutes.
3. Uncover the bowl and give the dough a brief knead. I usually fold the dough onto itself a few times using a scraper.
4. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 1 – 1½ hours, depending on ambient temperature – don’t rush it).
5. Turn the risen dough onto a floured bench and give it a couple of gentle folds, then divide into 12 equal pieces (about 86-90g each). Shape each piece into a small ball, trying to keep the currants inside the ball as much as possible (currants on the outside tend to burn). Place them side by side in a lamington tin which has been lined with a sheet of parchment paper (four rows of three, not quite touching – they’ll rise into each other). Allow to rise, loosely covered with a tea towel, until doubled in size (mine took about an hour, don’t rush this bit either, let them get good and puffy). Preheat oven to 220C with fan.
6. Mix the SR flour and water together to make a paste and spoon that into a plastic freezer bag or small piping bag. Clip off the very end of one corner. Pipe crosses over the top of the buns, doing all the lines in one direction first, then the other. Spritz the tops with water.
7. Turn the oven down to 200C with fan and put the buns in. After 10 minutes, turn the buns around and bake for a further 8 – 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
8. When you’ve rotated the buns, start making the glaze. Heat the milk and caster sugar together in a small saucepan until thick and syrupy. Stir constantly and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil over. When the buns are finished, pull them out of the oven and glaze the hot buns with two coats of glaze. Allow to cool on a wire rack before scoffing.