Monday, 6 April 2015


Happy Easter everyone! Whilst you might be tempted to stick your face into all those Easter eggs over the next few days there is one thing that you can't have Easter without. Hot cross buns! These delicious bread buns laced with mixed spice are peppered with delicious dried fruits and adorned with that symbolic cross are a perfect treat for those looking to get away from the mountain that is properly in your house around this time. Glaze straight from the oven with more mixed spice wash and your glistening masterpieces are ready!

We are of course dealing with bread here so you need to give yourselves lots of time for the proofing of your dough but trust me that the wait is well worth it and these buns taste so much better than shop bought. Make sure you do you a strong white flour and if you want you can use a normal caster sugar however I do like using golden caster sugar. I just find it makes bakes taste a lot better.

Traditional hot cross buns normally just contain your black dried fruits such as raisins, currents and sultanas. You can stick to this if you like however I like to add in some cranberries as well for that extra little burst of sweetness. You can mix up your dried fruits in your buns as much as you like as long as the total weight of them is 160g. Experiment and find the perfect flavors for you.

You'll need some equipment for the perfect bun. A thermometer to get the temperature of the warm water and milk for your yeast to around 35 degrees for that perfect dough. This is not essential, you can guesstimate the temperature with your finger. It shouldn't feel cold and certainly should not be too warm that you cant keep your finger in it. I would say the temperature of your water just as it's warming up from your hot tap. Heat your milk on the hob to match the temperature of the water to keep everything consistent. 

You will also need a piping bag for the perfect cross on your buns. Again you don't "need" one as you can spoon your crosses onto your buns but if you really want to go all out on presentation then piping your crosses is the way forward. Anyway, it will be next Easter if I carry on chatting like this. Give my recipe below a go and you will have 16 delicious buns ready to tuck into!

Hot Cross Buns

175ml Whole Milk
15g Dried Fast Action Yeast
680g Strong White Flour
10g Salt
120g Golden Caster Sugar
80g Soft Butter
4 Tsp Mixed Spice
1 Whole Egg
80g Raisins
80g Cranberries
Zest Of An Orange
Zest Of A Lemon

For The Crosses

100g Strong White Flour
Pinch Of Salt
Pinch Of Golden Caster Sugar
1 Tbsp Soft Butter

  1.  Begin pouring in the milk along with 175ml of water into a pan and gently heat to around 35 degrees before removing from the heat. Add in the yeast and mix together until the yeast has dissolved and air bubbles start to form on the surface of the mixture.
  2. Place the flour, salt, 100g of sugar, butter, 3 tsp of mixed spice and the egg in a bowl and begin to beat together whilst adding in the milky yeast mixture in three batches. Keep beating and adding in the liquid until the ingredients come together into a ball. 
  3. Tip the ball out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead
    for around 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. The dough is done when you push in a little bit of it and it springs back quickly.
  4. Once at this points, mix together the raisins and cranberries in a bowl along with the orange and lemon zest before working them into your dough by kneading it in in batches until it's well combined.
  5. Place the dough into a lightly floured bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for around 30 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
  6. Line two large baking trays (I'm assuming you don't have a
    massive oven or baking trays) with grease proof paper. Take your dough and gently turn it out and your a dough cutter or very sharp knife to half the dough, then half each half and repeat until you have 16 dough pieces of roughly the same size.
  7. Divide the dough balls into 8 per tray in two rows of four. They should be at least 2 cm's apart from each other. Cover both the trays with damp tea towels again and for a further 40-50 minutes until they double in size again.
  8. Whilst the buns are proofing, turn your oven on to 200
    degrees (180 fan) and mix together all the ingredients for your crosses into a smooth paste.
  9. Once the buns have doubled in size, place the cross paste into a piping bag and pip crosses across each of the buns.
  10. Time to bake the buns! I would bake them in batches in order to obtain an even bake. Place one tray in the centre of your oven and bake for around 10-15 minutes until the top of the buns are golden brown. Keep an eye on them as the can brown very quickly. The buns are done once they sound hollow when tapped on their bases.
  11. Whilst the first batch bakes, mix together the remaining 20g of caster sugar and tsp of mixed spice with 3 tsp of water until well combined. Remove the first lot of baked buns from the oven and quickly brush them with half of the sugar and mixed spice wash. Leave them to cool for around 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Place the second batch of buns in the oven and bake again as before and use the remaining sugar and mixed spice wash to brush over these bad boys. Cool on the tray for ten minutes and then transfer to the wire rack with the first batch of buns.
When your ready to tuck into your buns you must follow these rules. Cut the buns in half and then place under a medium grill, cut side up until beautifully toasted. Remove quickly from the grill and then slather with an insane amount of butter. I will allow the addition of jam if you like, that's most acceptable!

The only thing I don't understand is why people don't make these outside of Easter? They are delicious enough to be eaten any time of the year if you ask me!

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