Image supplied by Holly Bell
Hot cross buns aren't necessarily hard to make, they're just a little time consuming. The yeasted dough likes to sit about, lazily getting fatter and fatter until it's knocked back down ready for it's second growth. Don't let the hands off time put you off, just choose a day when you're in the house anyway.
These are just delicious and a great change for anyone who isn't so keen on the traditional spices and peel.
Made 11 for me.
500g strong white flour
7g sachet fast action dried yeast
15g olive oil
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
350mls warm, body temperature, milk
1 clove ground very finely
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g white chocolate chips
100g dried cranberries
Egg wash made from an egg with a pinch of salt stirred in
'Cross' paste made from 70g strong white flour mixed to a pipeable but stiff paste with cold water
Glaze made from boiling 60mls water with 50g caster sugar
Okay. Here we go. Mix together the flour, yeast, salt, olive oil and caster sugar until everything is evenly distributed. Then add the warm milk and mix again. Then add the egg, beaten and mix again. Now you need to knead until shiny and elastic - probably about 10 minutes by hand or about four in a mixer. I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer as this is a VERY sticky dough - it's enriched with milk and eggs which mean it's hard work by hand. It isn't impossible but I am just warning you. A dough scraper might be useful if you do do this by hand. And remove all rings.
Once shiny and elastic (but still sticky) cover in clingfilm and leave to double in size. Once doubled add the clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Mix well whilst knocking back the dough then scrape onto a floured work surface and divide the dough into as many pieces as you wish to make buns. I managed 11 oddly.
Flour a baking tray lightly and then take your piece of dough, dip it in a little of the flour on the work surface so it doesn't stick to your hands - then squash it in your hand and pull the edges into the middle, like you're folding something exciting into the centre. Pinch these edges together and then place the bun pinched side down on the tray. Continue until all the dough is used and leave about a 1cm space between each bun. Cover loosely in clingfilm and leave to proof until double the size.
Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas six. Make the flour paste for the crosses by mixing 70g strong white flour with a little water until you have a stiff paste. It needs to be pipeable but not too thin that it drips down the buns. Once the buns are double the size brush them in egg wash then pipe a cross onto each bun. The buns will be touching by now through the proofing process so it's actually easier to pipe along all the buns in one direction and then turn the tray and do the same - rather than pipe each cross individually. Pop into the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes but keep an eye on them as enriched doughs, especially ones with sugar in, have a tendency to burn easily. Also your buns might be bigger or smaller than mine so will likely have a different baking time. They're done when browned and risen.
Whilst they're baking make the glaze by boiling 60g water with 50g caster sugar. Had I thought about it at the time I might have added a little orange water or even lemon juice to this mixture but I didn't. When the buns are ready grab them from the oven and brush with the still warm glaze. Beware using too much as it makes for soggy bun bottoms by dripping under the buns and pooling on the baking tray. When cool enough to touch pull the buns apart and transfer to a rack. Eat slightly warm with chocolate spread or toasted with salted butter. Or in bread and butter pudding.
You can find more recipes from Holly at Recipes from a Normal Mum