If you share a hot cross bun with someone else, you’re supposedly going to be friends for the year, especially if you say
“Half for you and half for me. Between us two shall goodwill be”
~ Mobilecuisine.com ~
Wow, I never knew how many interesting facts there are about Hot Cross Buns! Between Wikipedia and Mobilecuisine.com, I was greatly entertained! It seems to make ill people healthy and protect against shipwrecks. I also learnt if they are hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year. In the past when I’ve bought Hot Cross Buns from the supermarket, I might well have had a stale bun to hang in the kitchen. But with this recipe for Hot Cross Buns, you will want to eat them all on the spot!
Converted to the sweet side
I would normally not bother to bake something like this. In many of my recipe books, there are recipes for enriched breads like Brioche and Pantone. But as I have mentioned a few times, I prefer savoury flavours and therefore I stick with normal bread. In 2018 I attended a brilliant course on Artisan Bread Baking at the Crust and Crumb in Alberton. Nathan and Dominique Odell are the bakers in charge and in a day I learnt some very useful baking skills, and produced three amazing loaves! Since then my bread baking has improved no end. Crust and Crumb maintain a Facebook group for people who have completed the courses and as it is Easter and we’re in lockdown, they published this brilliant recipe for us to try. After trying these Hot Cross Buns, I might even do their Enriched Dough course!
Sugar and spice and all things nice
This Hot Cross Bun recipe is really easy and even though we’re in lockdown, I managed to scrape together everything I needed to bake them. I had some Safari Cake Mix left from a recipe for Hot Cross Bun Biscotti. Mixed with a little bit of chopped apple, it was perfect for the fruit component of the recipe. Then there’s the basic spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and you have amazing, flavourful Hot Cross Buns in a few hours! I don’t know whether I will ever buy them from a supermarket again! The recipe conveniently is for twelve buns. You can have six when you bake them and freeze six for when it is actually Easter. Happy baking and happy Easter!
Hot Cross Buns
- 450 g white bread flour
- 234 g milk
- 68 g butter
- 1 egg
- 68 g sugar
- 5 g salt
- 7 g yeast
- 9 g spice blend Note 1
- 135 g fruit (soaked and drained) Note 2
- 50 g flour
- 65 g water
- 30 g sugar
- 30 g water
- Before mixing, heat up the milk to almost boiling, and then let cool. This is important to do as a protein in the milk that inhibits gluten formation gets deactivated by heating.
- If you are mixing by hand, add all the ingredients (except the raisins) to a mixing bowl. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth. Add the raisins at the end. Cover the dough until doubled (1 - 2 hours). OR
- If using a stand mixer with a dough hook, add all the ingredients (except the raisins) and mix on a low/medium speed for about 6 minutes. Add the raisins at the end. Cover the dough until doubled (1 - 2 hours).
- Divide the dough into 85g pieces. Then shape each piece into rounds and place on a lined baking tray. Cover and let rise until roughly doubled. (mine took nearly 3 hours)
- Mix the flour and water for the cross mixture until it forms a paste and put into a piping bag. Pipe the cross mixture over each bun.
- Bake at 200°C for 16 - 20 minutes until browned nicely.
- Spice blend: equal amounts (3g) of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. You can also add Allspice.
- Fruit: Raisins or Currents. You could also add lemon/orange zest or candied lemon/orange. Some recipes also use small pieces of chopped apple. I used 85g Safari Cake mix (mixed raisins and cadied orange peel) and 50g of very finely chopped, peeled apple.
- As with everything I have learnt at Crust and Crumb, their recipe came as a Baker's Formula or Percentage. For those who are interested:
- If you would like to try these with sourdough starter instead of yeast, here are the changes: