With spring around the corner it’s the start of hot cross bun season! Hot cross buns are a bit like creme eggs, you don’t realise how much you miss them all year until the Spring comes around and they’re in every supermarket and bakery up and down the country.
Last Sunday I decided to have a go at baking some. I read through the recipe and as usual tweaked it slightly to make them just apple, raisin and cinnamon. What I didn’t read in the recipe were all the steps needed to prove the dough so my grand idea of having them for tea completely failed and I ended up having them for breakfast the next day! If you read my soda bread post you’ll realise this is a common problem when I make bread!
To be honest they’re not that difficult to make, they just take a long time, but at times I did wonder why I had bothered and really hoped that they were the effort. When they were finally done they were delicious. Completely different to shop bought buns and much more bread / dough like and unlike shop bought ones that I always toast and eat with jam or butter these were better enjoyed as they came plain and simple. They were jam packed with raisins and apple with a hint of cinnamon and the apricot jam glaze finished them off nicely.
The recipe makes 12 large buns so I popped some in the freezer to eat next time.
For the buns
- 300ml whole milk
- 500g strong white flour
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 7g sachet fast-action yeast
- 50g butter
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 200g sultanas
- 2 green apples (granny smith work well) pealed, cored and diced into half inch pieces
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- sunflower oil, for greasing the bowl
For the cross
- 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the glaze
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
- In a pan heat up the milk slightly so that it is warm but not too hot and so you can easily dip your finger in without burning
- Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and egg together in a bowl, then slowly add the warmed milk until it forms a soft, sticky dough
- Knead the dough for approximately 5 minutes. To knead the dough, hold the dough with one hand and stretch it with the palm of the other and fold it back on itself. You’ll know when it’s ready when it’s smooth and elastic and when you prod it, it bounces back
- Place in a well oiled bowl covered with cling film and leave to prove for about an hour or until it doubles in size
- Once the dough is ready, add the sultanas, chopped apple, and cinnamon, then tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough again and put it back in the oiled bowl and leave to rise for another hour or until it doubles in size
- Divide the dough into 12 even pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or reusable baking paper, leaving enough space so that the buns just touch when they rise and expand. Set aside to prove for another hour.
- Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7
- For the cross, mix the flour with about five tablespoons of water in small bowl, adding the water one tablespoon at a time, so that you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until golden-brown.
- To make the glaze, in a small pan gently heat the apricot jam so that it melts and then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.
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