Hot cross buns

15 Apr

Hot cross buns – once an Easter-time treat – are available in the shops all year round.

I suppose it’s old-fashioned of me, but I prefer foods keep to their allotted place in the culinary calendar. Something special to enjoy at a particular time of the year – I don’t want mince pies in May, or hot cross buns in August.

The supermarket was selling four hot cross buns for less than a pound this week, so why go to the trouble of making them at home?

The easy answer is that they taste better – plus you get to pass on the “palm fat, invert sugar, wheat dextrose, emulsifiers mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, mono- and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate and calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate, potato starch, maize starch, acidity regulator citric acid, and preservative potassium sorbate” that store-bought hot cross buns contain.

Hot cross buns
(makes 12)

  • 350 white bread flour
  • 100g wholewheat bread flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 50g cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 125g mixed dried fruit and peel
  • 200ml milk, warmed
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

For the crosses:

  • 4 Tb white bread flour
  • 2 Tb water

For the glaze:

  • 4 Tb milk
  • 2 Tb sugar
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, salt, mixed spice, nutmeg and yeast.
  2. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the mixed dried fruit.
  3. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, and pour in the warm milk and eggs.
  4. Stir to combine into a soft dough, then tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  5. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise until double in size (about one hour).
  6. Gently punch back the dough to deflate it. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into twelve equal pieces.
  7. Form into neat balls, arrange on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  8. In a small bowl, mix the flour and water to make a pipeable paste. Make a cross on each bun, then bake for about fifteen minutes.
  9. While the buns are baking, prepare the glaze by bring the milk and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.
  10. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush their tops with the glaze. Cool on a wire rack.

10 Responses to “Hot cross buns”

  1. Colleen April 15, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    I agree—special foods should stick to the calendar! Pumpkin pie in July would just be weird. Your cross buns came out beautifully!

    • Andrea April 15, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

      A kindred spirit…:-) And thank you!

  2. Margo April 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    Will try these today for a hostess gift, but I must confess I will do the frowned upon ingredient. substitution as I really dislike the regular fruit peel and will use regular fried fruits. I agree with you about keeping culinary events to their proper calendar location, be the reason ceremony or season. What’s a girl to look forward to otherwise?

    • Andrea April 15, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

      I agree — it keeps them special. Hope the buns work out!

  3. Yana April 18, 2017 at 10:55 am #

    …plus your hot cross buns look ten times better then supermarket’s ones! And i’m sure they are absolutely delicious!

    The only thing I must admit, when I saw recent M&S ad advertising hot cross buns made with wholemeal, chocolate and orange – I liked the sound of it. However, it didn’t make me go and buy them. I did make me want to make ones 🙂

    • Andrea April 18, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks, Yana! Wholemeal chocolate orange buns do sound pretty tempting – an idea to file away for next year…:-)

  4. chefkreso April 18, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    Thanks for the recipe and great tips!

  5. abbeycoseattle April 21, 2017 at 12:04 am #

    These look so buttery and wonderful!!!

    • Andrea April 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

      Thank you!

  6. flavours2017 May 4, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    Perfectly baked buns — awesome —

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