Hot Cross Buns
Easter wouldn't be Easter without overindulging on chocolate eggs & traditional hot cross buns. This recipe yields twelve, classic, raisin-studded rolls that probably won't make it beyond the day they're made, because there's nothing more appropriate than feasting on fresh, out-of-the-oven hot cross buns this forthcoming weekend!
Images created in collaboration with Jodi & Kurt Photography.
Traditional Hot Cross Buns
Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 20 mins
Adapted from Paul Hollywood's hot cross buns.
For the buns:
300ml whole milk
500g bread flour, plus extra for kneading
75g caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons dried yeast
1 large egg, beaten
230g golden raisins, or sultanas
1 apple, peeled, cored and coarsely grated
Zest of one orange
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl
For the cross:
75g all purpose flour
For the glaze:
3 tablespoons apricot jam
Place the milk in a small saucepan & warm over medium heat until just warm to the touch or the temperature registers between 95-110°F / 35-43°C on a thermometer.
Once the milk has reached the correct temperature, pour back into the measuring jug then add the yeast & one teaspoon of the 75g sugar, stirring to dissolve. Leave for 5-10 minutes for the yeast to become spongy & foamy.
While the yeast is activating, gently melt the butter in the small saucepan over low heat. Mix the flour, salt, & remaining sugar in a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the beaten egg, melted butter, & activated milk/yeast mixture to the large bowl of dry ingredients. Stir for approximately 10 minutes until a soft, sticky dough forms.
Next, coarsely grate the apple & squeeze out any excess liquid. Toss gently in a little bread flour to prevent the apple from being too wet. Add the floured grated apple, golden raisins, orange zest, & ground cinnamon to the dough. If you're not using a stand mixer, it's easier to use your hands to incorporate the fruit.
Tip the dough onto a liberally floured work surface & begin kneading. Add as much flour as necessary to make the mixture soft, pliable, & easy to handle. Note that this dough is a sticky bread dough to begin with, however, be careful not to add so much flour that the mixture becomes too dry. It should be a little sticky, supple & very soft. Alternatively, use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment to knead the mixture, making sure to pause & feel the dough to check for the right consistency. Be sure to add a little flour every so often to compensate for the flour-dusted work surface.
Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth & elastic.
Once the desired consistency has been achieved, place the dough gently in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling wrap & leave to rise in a warm place for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in size. Note that proofing the dough will take longer in a cooler environment.
When risen, remove the dough from the bowl & divide into 12 equal pieces.
Gently knead each piece & shape into a ball. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment. For pull-apart buns, arrange the dough balls approximately 1-1.5 inches apart so that they will just touch when they rise & expand. Alternatively, space further apart for individual hot cross buns.
Cover loosely & set aside in a warm place to proof again for an hour.
Heat the oven to 375°F convection / 190°C.
While the buns are rising & the oven is pre-heating, mix the flour for the cross with approximately 5 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl, adding 1 tablespoon at a time to ensure the mixture is smooth & free of lumps. Add just enough water to make a thick paste.
Spoon the flour paste into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle. Once the buns have finished proofing, pipe a line along each row, then repeat in the opposite direction to create crosses.
Bake for 15-20 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until golden brown.
While the buns are baking, gently heat the apricot jam over low heat. Once warm & loose, sieve the jam to get rid of any fruit pieces.
Remove the buns from the oven and while the jam is still warm, brush all over the hot cross buns. Allow to cool slightly (if you can bear it!) before pulling apart & smoothing in butter.