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. Well, more importantly, that Pete is happy with, since he’s the Hot Cross Bun fanatic in the family. Small Man loves them too, but Pete ate four between lunch and dinner today.
The first recipe is a sourdough one and it’s the family favourite, but it’s quite a lot of work and the instructions go on for ages – I’ll update this post with a link once I get them written up.
The second recipe is far easier (though still a little fiddly) and uses commercial yeast, so it’s much quicker to make. I’ve based it on Richard Bertinet’s sweet dough recipe, which you can watch him make here (it’s worth watching the video clip before you start, to get some idea about the consistency of the dough and his kneading technique).
- 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
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 until well combined. Allow the dough to sit in the mixing bowl, covered with a clean tea towel, for about 15 minutes before you start kneading (this will make it easier to handle).
3. Scrape the dough onto a lightly oiled bench (Bertinet doesn’t use oil, but I find it makes it a little easier) and knead until smooth and elastic. You don’t want to pummel the dough, but rather stretch it out and fold it over on top of itself. Note that this is a very wet and sticky dough and you could probably knead it in a stand mixer with a dough hook (I haven’t tried though). You might need to add a little more flour to make this workable if you’re kneading by hand. It needs to be handled in a particular way – traditional kneading won’t work with a dough this wet (please see above video). Oh, and be prepared to pick up currants, which will fly everywhere while you’re kneading.
4. Scrape out the mixing bowl and give it a quick spray with oil. Once the dough is smooth, place it in the mixing bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow it to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (about 1 – 1½ hours, depending on ambient temperature).
5. Turn the risen dough onto an oiled bench and knock the air out of it, then divide it into 12 equal pieces. 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 Bake (four rows of three, not quite touching – they’ll rise into each other). Allow to rise, loosely covered with an oiled piece of Gladwrap, until doubled in size (mine took about an hour, but it was a cool day!). Preheat oven to 220C.
6. Mix the SR flour and water together to make a paste and spoon that into a plastic freezer bag. Clip off the very end of one corner, to create a piping bag. Pipe crosses over the top of the buns, doing all the lines in one direction first, then the other.
7. Turn the oven down to 200C 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. When the buns are finished, pull them out of the oven and glaze the hot buns with two coats of syrup. Allow to cool on a wire rack before scoffing.