Hot Cross Buns

I’ve been making these for several years now at Easter, managing to avoid the temptation to buy them in the supermarkets (from February onwards)!  Seems to get earlier every year but I like special occasion foods to be just that and so only make these once a year and they are so much nicer – and oil free – and wholemeal – and no preservatives – that its really worth it.  I usually am cooking them for a crowd so I want to impress and therefore don’t do 100% wholemeal flour as they are much heavier and take longer to make as the rising time has to be longer.  Feel free to go that way if you wish and in that case add a splash more liquid to the dough and allow an extra 30 minutes or more rising time

You will need: A large mixing bowl, a whisk or fork, measuring spoons, a clean work surface, a large rectangular baking tray, baking paper, digital scales (not essential unless you’re particular about bun size like me!), tiny zip lock bags, small bowl (1/2-1 cup size), teaspoon, cling film, oil spray, pastry brush.


Hot Cross Buns
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Note the cook and prep times do not include rising times; allow 2-3 hours in addition.
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 230g wholemeal flour
  • 220g plain flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 50g raw brown sugar
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 270ml warm water
  • 150g mixed dried fruit & peel - any combination you like
  • extra: plain flour rolling, for making crosses; & sugar for glazing
Instructions
  1. [Dough can also be mixed in a breadmaker or with a dough hook attachment in a food processor or hand mixer - just mix all ingredients from flour to water together then mix in the fruit]
  2. In a very large bowl whisk the dry ingredients all together then slowly stir in the water. It will suck up the water very quickly and seem quite dry but keep mixing until all the flour is incorporated and then add a splash more (tablespoon at a time) until the dough is soft and a little sticky. It should be a little wetter than a regular bread dough. Tip it onto a floured working surface and knead in the dried fruit. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough becomes springy and elastic and all the fruit is incorporated.
  3. Wash out the bowl and place the dough inside, cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour or so or until doubled in size.
  4. Tip the dough back onto a floured work surface.
  5. Line a large baking tray (as wide as a regular oven) with baking paper.
  6. Here is where digital scales are very useful. If you're at all like me, you want 12 buns exactly the same size. The only way to achieve this is to weigh each ball of dough. 🙂 So weigh the entire amount, divide by 12 and then pull off balls of dough that weight, roll in to a neat ball between your lightly floured palms and place on the tray. Repeat! You want 3 x 4 on the tray, even spaced. They will grow as they rise so allow a good 3-5 cm between each bun.
  7. Spray a piece of cling wrap with oil (otherwise they will stick and deflate when you pull off the wrap). and place over the buns and return to their warm spot until they have risen sufficiently to be stuck to each other.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.
  9. Make the cross paste: Mix 2-3 tablespoons of flour in a little bowl with enough water to make a thick but runny paste (like single cream). Pour it into a little ziplock bag.
  10. Remove carefully the cling wrap and take your bag of flour and water paste. Snip off a tiny corner off of the bag and carefully drizzle in long lines across the middle of the buns, then back the other way. It's easier to do this in one continuous motion rather than individually. Plan your route before you set off! 🙂
  11. Once you've finished, place in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Make the glaze: Mix 2-3 teaspoons of sugar in a small bowl with boiling water and stir until it dissolves.
  13. Once the timer goes off check that they're cooked by cutting one open (use tongues!), it should be firm and not wet inside.
  14. Brush the glaze over the hot buns and leave to cool - if you can. 🙂