Easter Hot Cross Buns

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It’s Easter weekend so there’s no other bake that’s better fitting than hot cross buns. These are spiced sweet buns usually made with currants or raisins and they are traditionally eaten over Easter in Britain and maybe other places too. These buns mark the end of lent with the crosses on the buns representing the crucifixion of Jesus and the spices supposedly representing the spices used to embalm him at his burial.

I’m not religious but I do like the taste of these buns and since I’ve never made any form of buns before I thought I’d give it a go. I had a look at some recipes online and it looked simple enough and indeed it was. Below is a recipe I used from the bbcgoodfood website with a few tweaks…

Process pic-hot cross buns

Ingredients

For the buns

  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 7g sachet fast-action yeast
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • And choice of fillings – I made 2 different buns

For the cross

  • 75g plain flour
  • Some water

For the glaze

  • 2-3 tbsp apricot jam

Method

  1. Heat the milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the butter to melt. Set aside to cool until it is lukewarm.
  2. Put the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  3. Add the milk and butter mix to the bowl and bring everything together with your hands – don’t worry it will be sticky.
  4. Lightly flour a clean work surface and knead your dough – I like to stretch the dough with one hand with the other hand holding it down at the bottom. Then fold it back over and turn the dough 90° and repeat the stretch and fold. Do this until the dough becomes smooth and elastic – this should take about 5 minutes.
  5. Place your dough in a lightly oiled clean bowl and cover with some cling film – oil the cling film as well so the dough doesn’t stick to it when you lift it off.
  6. Leave the dough to rise in a warm room for about an hour or until it doubles in size.
  7. Next add the ingredients for the fillings. Here you can divide the dough into two if you want to make 2 different types and add your ingredients to each to your desire. If not then just tip everything into the one dough.
  8. Knead your ingredients into the dough until well incorporated.
  9. Leave to rise again for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
  10. Divide your dough into equal pieces – I used a dough cutter which has a ruled edge to help me divide it up. I got 12 buns out of the dough but you can make smaller ones to get more buns.
  11. Roll each piece of the dough into a ball using your hands – use some flour if it’s too sticky.
  12. Line 1 or 2 baking trays with some baking paper and arrange your buns with enough space for the dough to expand.
  13. Take some more oiled cling film and loosely cover over your trays. Let the dough rise one last time for another hour.
  14. Preheat the oven to 220°C / 200°C fan.
  15. While the over is preheating make the mix for the crosses. Mix the flour with some water – 1 tbsp at a time until you get a thick paste. The amount of water depends on the flour you have (think mine needed about 4/5 tbsp of water to get the right consistency).
  16. Spoon your flour paste into a small piping bag and slowly pipe your crosses, letters or pattern slowly on to the top of the bun doughs.

PIPING BAG HINT: Put your piping bag into a cup to help you spoon the mixture inside.

17. Bake the buns in the middle shelf of the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown – mine turned out a bit too brown so be mindful to keep checking as the timings may differ with different ovens. Tap the bottom of the buns and they should sound hollow when done.

18. To make the glaze simply heat the apricot jam in a pan and then brush over the top of your freshly baked buns. Shiny buns!

And that’s it! Give this recipe a try. I found it quite easy to follow but as always with bread all the proving time takes a while so make sure you plan ahead and set some time aside to make this. I managed to squeeze some DIY in the house while the dough is proving.

If you do use this recipe please send me a message or pictures of your bake! I would love to know about it.

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