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If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing a hot cross bun, it is a sweet and slightly spiced bun that we tend to eat around Easter time to celebrate Good Friday, although you can often find them year round.
I remember them fondly when growing up but they aren’t something that I indulge in, however this year, a year which has been so different from any we’ve experienced and I’ve been keen to use this newfound time indoors to learn how to make the treats that I’ve often bought with no thinking!
And after main trial and errors, I have now created this easy hot cross buns recipe that I hope will bring you as much joy as it has me!
I like to eat mine toasted with lots of melted salted butter but others like to have theirs with jam or with cheese.
There are so many possibilities and I would love to know your preferred way of eating!
Prep time: 30 mins (plus 3 hours wait time)
Cook time: 15-20 mins
Total time: 3 hours 50 mins
- 500g Strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 300ml Full-fat milk
- 70g Caster sugar
- 45g Butter
- 7g Dried active yeast/Fast action yeast
- 150g Sultanas/Raisins
- 2tsp Mixed/All spice
- 1tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Egg
- 1 Zest of orange/lemon
- 1/2tsp SaltTopping
- 70g Plain flour
- 7-8tbsp WaterOptional
- 2tbsp Apricot jam
- 2tbsp Golden syrup
- Large mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
If you do not have a rolling pin then grab a bottle or tin of some sort
- Cling film
- Roasting/Oven trays
- Piping bag
If you do not have a piping bag, try using a plastic bag with the corner cut out
- Pastry brush
- Add your 500g strong white bread flour, 70g caster sugar, 7g dry active yeast, 2tsp mixed spice, 1tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp salt along with the zest of 1 orange into your mixing bowl and give it a quick stir.
- Warm your milk in a saucepan, warm to touch but not quite to a boil.
- Remove your milk from the heat and add your butter to the saucepan.This is an easy alternative and should melt the butter in the warmth of the milk.If you prefer, melt the butter in a separate saucepan.
- Add the milk and the melted butter to your bowl of dry ingredients.
- Next, add your egg to the mixing bowl and mix together until you have a sticky dough.
- Dust some flour onto your worktop and tip your dough onto it before beginning to knead by hand.Keep dusting more flour onto your mix and the worktop if necessary but it should hold together quite nicely with the mix feeling smooth, elastic and springy.This can take 5-10 minutes to achieve.Alternatively, you can use a food mixer with a dough hook.
- Shape your dough into a ball and add to a lightly oiled mixing bowl before covering with cling film.Leave to rise for approximately 1 hour.This must be in a warm place and should rise to around double in size.If you do not feel it is rising on its own, turn your oven on to the lowest heat for a couple of minutes before turning it off, or place some hot water (a tray or bowl) in your oven before placing your dough on the middle tray and allow to rise.
- Once your dough has risen, roll your dough out slightly before adding your sultanas or raisins to the surface and continue to fold until well mixed through the dough.Feel free to change the quantity used for more or less fruit in your hot cross buns.
- Again, return to your oiled bowl, covering with cling film and allow to sit and rise for approximately one hour.We use to oil to stop the dough forming a crust.We are looking for the dough to double in size again.
- Tip your dough mix onto a lightly floured worktop once again and divide into 12 evenly sized pieces.Roll each section into a ball.
- Cover your oven tray with some parchment paper before placing each ball on the tray.Space these out to allow room for the dough to expand and spread.You may need two oven trays or to do them one after the other if you only have one tray available.I do two rows of three on each tray which works nicely for me.
- You want to loosely cover your tray(s) with some more oiled cling film.This is the last time! I promise!Leave to prove for one more hour where they will again, double in size.
- Once your dough has risen, preheat your oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
- For your cross topping, you want to make a paste by mixing 70g plain flour with 7-8tbsp water.Add the water slowly and stir until you achieve a paste like consistency, this could be more or less for you.
- Pop the mix into your piping bag and either attach a small nozzle or cut a small hole in the corner before piping a line along your row of buns and then again the other way, creating a cross.Do this slowly and take the paste right over to the edges of your bun.
- Place trays in the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes, or until turning golden brown.I like to place mine on the middle shelf and I do have to turn the tray midway through baking so make sure to keep an eye on this as you may want to do the same.
- If you want a glazed or sticky topping, heat either 2tbsp apricot jam or 2tbsp golden syrup in a saucepan until melted before brushing on top of the warm hot cross buns.If you want a glaze that isn’t sticky but is still glossy, melt 1tbsp granulated sugar along with 2tbsp water and brush on the warm buns.Allow to sit and cool once you have glazed them.I like to use apricot jam on mine but this is personal preference.
Keep in an airtight container and eat within 5 days for best taste.
You can freeze your dough for up to 6 months but shape each ball and wrap in parchment paper individually before freezing.
If freezing from cooked, make sure to thaw for a couple of hours before heating in the oven for approximately 5 minutes.
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