Second post today, it's a bit like buses, you wait ages for one then two come along together! Well it is that time of year and I just couldn't resist having a go at these perennial Easter favourites.
I have a confession, I have tried them a couple of times over the years using a recipe from a well known baker and each time the buns have turned out like bullets. It put me off. It happened again this year and I very nearly gave up. Why did I keep using the same recipe, it clearly didn't work for me? Not very clever I know, well I didn't say I was bright!
Anyway this year I stuck at it and decided to write my own recipe, after all I make bread most days so it shouldn't be too hard. The thing to understand is that the addition of egg and butter to the mix requires some extra yeast to help get the rise. I was so excited when these little beauties came out of the oven, success at last! The moral of the story is if a recipe is not working for you don't keep doing it, chuck it out and try something different, you will get there eventually.
You can use whatever fruit combination you fancy. Add some mixed peel, remove the nuts change the spice. Put your own stamp on them. This dough really works for me, I hope it does for you too.
Just one more thing, don't over heat the milk, blood temperature will do, if it is too hot it will kill the yeast.
Cranberry and Walnut Hot Cross Buns
Makes 12 buns
Time: approx. 5 hours including proving
For the buns:
500g Strong white bread flour
15g Instant yeast
1 ½ tsp Salt
85g Caster Sugar
3 tsp Ground mixed spice
50g Melted butter (salted or unsalted)
1 large Egg Beaten
300ml Whole milk – warmed slightly
Zest of one large orange (optional)
100g Dried cranberries
100g Walnut pieces
NOTE: You can replace cranberries with whatever fruit you have. If prefer not to use nuts just add another 100g of fruit.
For the cross:
80g Plain white flour
For the glaze:
3 tbs Apricot jam
Baking tray lined with baking parchment, piping bag and small plain piping tube
Place flour, sugar, spice in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other side, mix well to combine dry ingredients.
Add beaten egg, melted butter and warm milk to the flour and mix on medium for approx. 8 minutes, add the cranberries, orange zest and walnuts and continue to mix for another 5 minutes, the nuts and fruit should be fully incorporated, it is a soft slightly sticky dough, do not worry it will be fine . NOTE - you can mix by hand, knead for 10 minutes then add the fruit and nuts. Try not to add extra flour as this will tighten up the dough.
Leave in the bowl and cover with some cling film, put in a warm place for the dough to double in size approx. 2 – 3 hours.
When risen, remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 12 equal pieces approx. 95g each. Roll into balls and place on the prepared baking tray. Allow enough room for the dough to spread. Place tray in a large plastic bag and leave for approx. 1 ½ hours until buns are well risen.
Preheat oven to 200C (fan) 220C (conventional)
To make the crosses mix the 80g plain flour with water until a good piping consistency, not too stiff. Place in the piping bag fitted with the tube and pipe a cross on the top of each bun.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. You may need to turn the tray round half way through cooking time to ensure an even bake.
While buns are cooking place the apricot jam in a small sauce pan, add a splash of water and heat gently until bubbling. Sieve.
When the buns are ready remove from the oven and brush with the prepared apricot glaze and leave to cool. Delicious