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
- 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
- In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, salt, mixed spice, nutmeg and yeast.
- Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the mixed dried fruit.
- Make a well in the middle of the mixture, and pour in the warm milk and eggs.
- Stir to combine into a soft dough, then tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise until double in size (about one hour).
- Gently punch back the dough to deflate it. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into twelve equal pieces.
- 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).
- 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.
- While the buns are baking, prepare the glaze by bring the milk and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.
- As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush their tops with the glaze. Cool on a wire rack.