One of the great things about holidays is the traditional food that accompanies them…and other than the obvious; chocolate eggs, Easter has to have Hot Cross Buns!
I’ve tried various recipes over the years, and this is the best one so far and it also comes with a recipe for the crosses.
If you haven’t made Hot Cross Buns (or any bread really) I encourage you to read the tips below as one of the trickiest things about making bread is the rising of the dough.
- Ensure the room you are working in is warm or that you have a warm place to put the dough to rise before you begin. Some options are:
– In the sun on the bench
– In a sink of warm water
– In the hot water cupboard
– In an electric oven heated to 95°C for 1 minute then turned off.
– On a heated wheat sack (don’t heat the sack too much, and don’t put the bowl directly on the sack so put the sack in a container, and then the bowl of yeast sitting on that.
– Set over a pan of hot water placed on the bottom shelf of a closed oven.
– Inside a turned-off clothes dryer that has been run on the hot cycle for one minute.
– Boil 2 cups water in a bowl in your microwave to create a warm moist environment, then turn off the power, put the dough inside and close the door.
- Wherever you chose to let the dough rise, ensure that it is draught-free. Draughts cause the dough to rise unevenly and slowly.
- Use a clear glass container with straight sides for rising dough makes it easy to see when it’s doubled in size. Use a marking pen or piece of masking tape to mark where it was when it started.
- To test it after the first rise, poke two fingers into the dough about 2½ centimetres. If the indentations stay, the dough’s ready. The finger poke method is only good for the first rise.
This recipie makes 20 buns.
1 cup milk
½ cup hot water
2 T sugar 2 Tbsp dried yeast
2 C flour
100g butter (softened)
½ C sugar
1 t salt
2 T mixed spice
1 t grated nutmeg
1 t vanilla
1 C mixed fruit
2-3 C flour
Paste for the crosses
½ C flour
2 T oil
½ C water
2 T sugar
2 T water
1/ Place the milk, hot water and 2 T sugar in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
2/ Check that this mixture is lukewarm. (Adjust the liquid by placing the bowl in either a sink of cold water if it is too hot or a sink of warm water if it is too cold.)
3/ Sprinkle the yeast into the liquid and let it stand for 3 minutes, then stir to break up any lumps.
4/ Add 2 cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth. This mixture is quite sloppy and you should be able to see bubbles coming up out of the mixture. The bubbles prove that the yeast is growing.
5/ Stand this mixture to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
6/ In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it is pale and creamy in colour.
7/ Add the egg, salt, mixed spice, nutmeg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
8/ Mix in the dried fruit.
9/ When the yeast mixture has doubled in size, add it to the creamed mixture with another 2-3 cups of flour.
10/ Mix well using a wooden spoon or a dough hook on your cake mixer. The mixture should be a soft ball that can be kneaded. Add extra flour if the mixture is still sloppy.
10a/ If you do not have a dough hook, knead the dough by hand. To do this, lightly sprinkle flour on a clean bench and place the ball of dough in the middle of the flour. Flatten the ball with your hand, then with your fingers pull the edges of the ball into the middle and press it down lightly. You should be able to get into a rhythm when you knead the dough in this way and it takes about 10 minutes to complete this. When the dough is smooth and shiny, you have kneaded it enough. Be careful not to mix too much extra flour in during the process.
11/ Press the ball of dough into a rectangle 25cm by 30cm and 2cm thick.
12/ Cut the dough into 20 squares and roll each into a ball shape.
13/ Place on a greased oven tray or slice tin. Space them 1-2 cm apart to allow for rising and spreading. Cover lightly with a tea towel.
14/ Leave them in a warm place to rise until they are double in volume. Takes about 1 ¾ hours (1 hour over hot water). (See tips above for ideas on how to get the best results).
15/ Make the paste for the crosses by mixing the oil and flour into a smooth paste. Add extra water if needed. It should be smooth and just thick enough to squeeze through a nozzle or a ½ cm hole cut in the corner of a plastic bag.
16/ When the buns have doubled in size, use a very sharp knife or clean box cutter to lightly mark a cross on each bun, then pipe a cross using the paste.
17/ Bake the buns at 180o fanbake for 10-15 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
18/ To glaze the buns, dissolve the sugar in the water then brush the glaze over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.