Sunday, 20 April 2014
Hot Cross Buns
Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have been enjoying the long weekend. I haven't done much myself as yet, but have plans to go to a farm tomorrow and I've got my fingers crossed to see some lambs and rabbits! Today my boyfriend made a delicious roast dinner for us, whilst I made these Hot Cross Buns. They did take a while to make, which makes them perfect for a lazy Sunday bake. The results are definitely worth the effort - warm, sticky, spiced buns, yum yum. I followed a Paul Hollywood recipe to make the buns as it was my first attempt at making them, but I did make a few changes along the way...
I started with 500g strong white bread flour, 1 sachet yeast, 1 tsp salt and 75g caster sugar in a large bowl. I stirred them together.
In a small pan I heated up 300ml plus 2 tbsp milk, I used semi-skimmed. Once it was hot I took it off the heat, added 50g butter and left it to cool until it was warm enough to dip my fingers in without saying ouch!
I made a well in the flour mixture, and poured in the milk and butter as well as 1 beaten egg. I formed it into a dough, tipped it out onto a flour surface and kneaded for 5 minutes. It was extremely sticky! Hence why there are no photos as my hands and fingers were completely covered in dough goo. After 5 minutes of kneading I put the dough into an oiled bowl, covered it with oiled cling film, and left it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
One hour later it had risen beautifully! I added 250g mixed dried fruit, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp all spice. I would have added more spices if I was at my flat, some nutmeg and ginger too for sure. I kneaded all the fruit it until mixed well, the recovered the oiled bowl with oiled cling film and returned it to a warm place for another 1 hour.
I removed the risen dough from the bowl and on a flour surfaced I cut it up until I had 16 pieces. I cut the dough in half, then each piece in half again and again until I had 16. You can weigh the pieces if you like. Paul's recipe recommends they are 75g each. I rolled them into balls and placed them on lined baking trays. I covered the trays again with oiled cling film, covered with a blanket (or you can use a tea towel) and left for 1 hour.
Just before the hour was up, I made the flour paste for the cross on the buns. I mixed 100g strong white bread flour with 5-6 tbsp water until a thick paste formed. I put it in a piping bag and snipped off the end.
The shaped dough had risen nicely! This is really the best part of making bread for me (well, except eating it).
I used the piping bag to draw the crosses along the shaped dough buns.
I baked the buns on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 - 20 minutes until dark golden brown on top. I almost forgot to take a photo of them as I was so eager to glaze them.
Just before they came out of the oven I warmed up some apricot jam on the hob, you can sieve it too if you want, but I didn't bother. When the buns came out of the oven, I brushed the jam on top to give them a lovely shiny and sticky sweet glaze.
The Hot Cross Buns turned out great, they were baked all the way through and tasted delicious! I scoffed one right after they came out of the oven and I'm looking forward to enjoying one for breakfast tomorrow. I really enjoyed making these and was really proud of how they turned out. It's nice to get the time to make a lengthy bake like this and enjoy the results. You could add different kinds of dried fruits, citrus zest, or even chocolate chips if you wanted, to this recipe for a variety of flavours!