I love hot cross buns, it’s like someone crossed bread with fruitcake and then decided that what resulted couldn’t be had all year round so decided to give it a religious connotation. Officially eaten to symbolise the end of lent, the cross depicting the crucifixion, they are now cheap and easy to get from most supermarkets.
Although the tea room always gets its bread from Stacys in Ilkeston, this year I thought I should really make these. So sit back, grab a cup of tea and enjoy me fooling around making them rather than buying them.
Hot Cross buns
- 300ml Full fat milk
- 2oz Butter
- 1lb Strong Bread flour
- 1tsp Salt
- 4oz Caster sugar
- Yeast (back to fresh yeast yay)
- 1 Egg
- 6oz Currants
- 2oz Mixed peal
- 1tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Orange zest
- Apricot Jam for the glaze
- 3oz Plain flour for the cross
Start by collecting all the ingredients that you need and then taking a picture. Or in this case forgetting to…….Then start planning a couple of hours walks while the dough proves. This is a recipe for people with a lot of time to spare…………….
Start by heating the milk on the AGA till nearly boiling. Don’t let it fully boil, just warm till it’s on the verge and then take it off. You know it’s done when you start to get little bubbles forming at the side and middle. Then add the butter (cut into small chunks). Cool till warm.
Whilst the milk/butter cools, measure out the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Don’t be fooled into leaving the salt out, it brings out the full flavour of the fruit. The flour should be a good strong white bread flour – Allisons is my go to choice.
Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the cooled milk/butter. When the dough has formed, slowly add the heated egg. This enriches the bread dough and makes it lighter and richer.
Continue kneading for around 5-10mins, till it has gone through the wet stage and forms a nice smooth ball. Now put into an oiled container with a lid and allow to prove till doubled in size. This usually takes around an hour, so go for a walk.
When doubled, add the currants, cinnamon, mixed peal and orange zest. Knock back the dough and gently knead again till all the fruit is evenly distributed. Then guess what, leave to prove again for another hour (or doubled)……… Walk number 2 of the day.
Ok, now well exercised, it’s time to form the buns. Knock back the dough for the last time and separate into the required amount. I’m selling these so 4oz wet weight to allow people to get value for money in the tea room.
Weight out and roll all the buns into tight balls. I’ve slightly got the maths wrong for a dozen, but who cares. Transfer to a lined and greased baking tray then cover with a buttered piece of cling film (stops it sticking to the buns). Prove again for 1hour or till doubled – Just get a coffee this time………
Ok, home stretch. When doubled in size, remove the cling film and admire. The next step is to add the cross. I always though this was icing when I was a child, but in fact it’s just plain flour and water mixed to form a thick paste. Pipe onto the bun to make it neat (observe the free hand mess at the back left!!)
Bake in the oven at around 220C (or upper part of the AGA) for around 20mins till they are a lovely golden brown.
Glaze with warm Apricot Jam to give them a beautiful shine.
All that remains is to taste the bun on the Aga……….
Now sit down, get a cup of tea and enjoy with some butter and if you are feeling very posh a small put of honey.
I even managed to find some flowers and a matching plate and mug (both Emma Bridgewater)