Hot Cross Buns

Pharmacist told me I was doing it all wrong by wishing people “Happy Easter” on Good Friday, and that Easter Sunday is the day to do it, so I figured if there was going to be a day to bake hot cross buns, it would be today. Happy Easter, everybody!

When we went to the food and wine show, we were given a free copy of the Easter 2017 edition of the Australian Gourmet Traveller. It featured a recipe for Choc-cross buns, but since MrFodder and I both prefer regular hot cross buns, I thought I’d omit the cocoa and chocolate. I’m also not a fan of candied orange, but I still wanted that fruity taste, so I replaced some of the milk with orange juice. I was a bit worried that the citric acid would interfere with the yeast, but it seemed to turn out OK.

Ingredients



Dough

60g caster sugar

10g dried yeast

3 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground allspice

450g plain flour + 1 tablespoon

150ml milk

1 tsp salt

150ml orange juice

70g butter (but I used Nuttelex)

1 egg (I used a flax egg instead – 1 tablespoon flaxmeal, 3 tablespoons water, mix together with a fork)

197g sultanas (or really, however many you want)

Cross paste

1/2 tsp sunflower oil (I used canola instead)

70g flour

50ml water (might need a bit more)

Cinnamon glaze

60g caster sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

50ml water

Method

1. Combine sugar, yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, flour in a mixing bowl. Add orange juice (it’ll be clumpy, don’t worry, we’ll add more liquid later). Heat the milk, butter and 1 tablespoon of flour in a small saucepan until the butter melts and it all mixes together. Cool until lukewarm, then add the egg (if using flax egg, you don’t need to wait for it to cool entirely as you don’t need to worry about it cooking). With the flax egg, mine looked a bit like porridge.

Mix this until the flour mixture and knead until smooth. It took me about 20 minutes until it started to come together, Mix in sultanas. Put in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to proof until doubled in size (about an hour).

Before:

After:

Punch it down, and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball by cupping your hand over it on the bench and rolling your hand around. Place the balls on a tray in 4 rows of 3 (or 3 rows of 4, depending in which way you prefer to look at it) and cover with a damp towel.

Proof for about 30 minutes, and preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celcius.

After it’s done proofing, mix together the cross paste ingredients in a small bowl. You want it to be paste-like, not too solid, otherwise you’ll have trouble piping it. You also don’t want it to be runny, otherwise it won’t hold the cross shape. Pipe crosses onto the buns.

Bake for 10 minutes at 220 Celcius, then drop down to 200 for the last 8 minutes. It should be golden brown on top, but the middle ones in mine didn’t quite get there even though I rotated the tray, so mine aren’t quite brown.

While it’s baking, heat the glaze ingredients over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Once the buns are out of the oven, use a pastry brush to glaze them.

Now is the best time to eat them, so that they live up to their name of “hot” cross buns!

Oh, I figured out why it’s rare to see hot cross buns with sultanas on outside – it’s because they keep falling off!

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