Hot Cross Buns
A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun usually made with fruit, marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on Good Friday. They used to be available only during Easter, but nowadays they are available all year long.
I love making my own Hot Cross Buns and their variations. It is easy to make and taste delicious.
For the dough:
300 gr all purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast (= 6 grams), I use SAF instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
45 gr caster sugar
2 tsp mixed spice (cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg)
25 gr unsalted butter
180 ml fresh milk (full cream)
50 gr raisin
50 gr dried orange peel strips, cut into small pieces
For the cross:
37 gram all purpose flour
2 tbsp water
1) Combine flour, instant yeast, salt, sugar, and mixed spice in a big bowl of a stand mixer and stir until mixed.
2) Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat it until it is warm. The butter wouldn't melt completely. Be careful not to overheat it. I measure the temperature using a thermometer, it should be at 47 to 48 degree celcius. If it is too hot, the yeast will not work and the same goes if it is not warm enough.
3) Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients in the big bowl, add the egg, and beat it for 10 minutes. You may start with low speed to avoid the flour to fly everywhere then slowly increase it to medium speed then to high speed until a smooth dough is formed.
4) Cover with wet towel and let the dough rest for 45 minutes. The dough will be bigger after resting, around double.
5) Add the raisin and orange peel into the dough and mix it by hand. Cover with wet towel and let the dough rest for 45 minutes. The size will be double.
6) Take the dough out from the bowl and put it on the surface lightly dusted with flour. Divide the dough into either 9 balls or 16 balls, whichever you prefer. Place them in a pan sized roughly 20 cm x 20 cm that has been lightly greased with butter. Cover with wet towel and let it rest for 45 minutes.
7) In the last 20 minutes, heat the oven to 180 degree celcius. In the meantime, prepare the dough to make the cross - mix the flour with water and put it in the piping bag. Cut the tip of the piping bag to make a small hole.
8) Once proofed, put the crosses then bake in the oven for 23-25 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
1) Dried orange peel strips is a must ingredient. You should not omit this. This gives very nice flavour to the buns.
2) Since my 8 year old boy doesn't prefer strong cinnamon flavour, I only put 2 tsp of mixed spices for 300 gr flour. If you feel this is not strong enough, you could put 1 or 2 tsp more. If you don't have mixed spices, you can use cinnamon (~80%) and nutmeg (~20%)
3) Some recipes use bread flour instead of all purpose flour. I have tried both type and I prefer using all purpose flour. You can substitute it for bread flour.
4) Sometimes I put egg wash (mix of 1 egg with 1 tsp of water) on top of the buns, before putting the cross. This gives glossy look. When I don't do this, I just brush a bit of butter on top of the buns after baked, just right after coming out of the oven.
5) I do different variations using the same recipe:
Add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder to make Chocolate Hot Cross Buns.
Replace the raisins and orange peel strips with Chocolate Chips to make Double Chocolate Chips Hot Cross Buns.