I am sorry there is no crumb shot. We haven’t eaten the buns yet, they are for tomorrow. I am a stickler for tradition. Hot cross buns can only be eaten on Good Friday. This is not on religious grounds (those who know me know I missed out on the religious gene) but as a protest against supermarkets putting hot cross buns on their shelves just after Christmas.
This recipe is from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman. His recipes are primarily in commercial quantities – in US measurements and metric but he also includes quantities for the home baker in US measurements. Usually, I make one tenth of the metric recipe but in this case that would give me 14.4 buns. The home baker quantities makes, a more socially acceptable, 12 buns so I have converted the US measurements into metric. Because of this, the quantities are a bit strange but don’t worry, it works. I have made this recipe using these quantities several times.
- 37g bread flour
- 190g milk
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 2 tsp instant yeast
Final Dough Ingredients:
- 340g bread flour
- 60g butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 57g sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp ground allspice
- the sponge (from above)
- 114g currants
- 37g mixed peel (orange and lemon)
Piping Paste Ingredients:*
- 85g pastry flour
- 25g vegetable oil
- 60g water
*This is not Jeffrey Hamelman’s paste but a much simpler version by Susan at Wild Yeast.
- 30g sugar
- 30g water
- Pour the milk into a small bowl.
- Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk, then whisk until combined.
- Add the flour and the sugar and whisk until smooth.
- Cover and set aside for 30 – 40 minutes.
- Put the flour into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook.
- Add the butter and mix until combined.
- Add the egg, sugar, allspice and salt and mix until combined.
- Add the sponge and mix on low for 3 minutes. During this stage you may have to add a wee bit more milk or flour, depending on the consistency of your dough.
- After the initial three minutes, put the mixer on the second speed and mix for an additional three minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and come together.
- Add the currants and peel. Mix on low until evenly distributed.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 30 minutes.
- Do a stretch and fold. Return the dough to the bowl and leave for another 30 minutes.
- Line a baking tray or, better still, a pan with baking paper (my pan was 33cm x 23cm and it was perfect.) A pan is better as it keeps the buns close together and stops them spreading too much.
- Weigh the dough and then divide it into 12 even pieces.
- Lightly knead each piece and form into a ball.
- Place the balls onto the tray quite close together, cover with plastic wrap and leave for about one hour. When ready, the buns should have expanded and be touching each other.
Whilst the buns are proving:
Make the paste for the crosses.
Combine all ingredients. You want the paste quite thick (not runny) but not so thick you can’t pipe it.
Now make the glaze:
- Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
Bake the buns:
- Pre-heat your oven to 220°C.
- Fill a piping bag with the paste. Pipe the crosses on the buns. Use a nozzle with a round tip and a small (5 mils) opening.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. If the buns start to get too brown, reduce the temperature to 200°C.
- Take the buns out of the oven and immediately brush with the glaze.
Mr Hamelman advises the buns are best eaten fresh but day-old buns can be reheated successfully covered in aluminium foil and heated for about 6 minutes at 180°C.