Friday, 15 March 2013

Hot Cross Buns Easter treats

Hot Cross Buns

You can already see Hot Cross Buns selling in the bakeries across the UK so why not bake a batch off. It's been a while since I last baked hot cross buns, but its nice to catch up. The Hot Cross Bun to start with is made much like any teabread product, from a rich teabread dough, the same dough used for iced fingers/ cream cookies or doughnuts, the main difference with Hot Cross Buns is the spices and fruit used, of course visually the white cross that adorns the tops, finished with a sticky glacé  it really stands out and the aroma is divine. All the rules for making a yeast dough still apply although with this dough the proving and knock back process takes a bit longer, the only extra process you have to do is to pipe crosses over the proved buns before popping into the oven. The crosses are easy to make, they only require flour and water which needs to be thoroughly beaten until smooth, then popped into a disposable pipping bag.

Equipment: Mixing bowl with a dough hook, measuring jug,  greased baking sheet, a scotch scraper or plastic scraper to cut and weigh off buns, digital scales, disposable pipping bag, scissors

Prep time about 20 minutes with around 75 minutes proving (resting) + 8 to 12 minutes bake

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Bun ingredients

For the teabread dough

450g strong white flour
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
125g mixed dried fruit like raisins, currants or sultanas
40g mixed fruit peel (optional)
75g caster sugar
Lemon zest of one lemon
teaspoon salt
50g unsalted butter or cake margarine
200ml tepid milk (warm up in microwave)
14g dried fast yeast (easy bake)
2 medium free range eggs (happy eggs)

For the crosses
4 tablespoons of plain flour
2 tablespoons water
mix the water with the flour to make a smooth thickish paste that can be pipped

Hot Cross Buns

For the glacé
made with either milk, jam or syrup, i have used marmalade (just to be different)

1 tablespoon of smooth marmalade
1 tablespoon of soft dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of water
Bring to the boil and simmer until you have a thick syrupy liquid

Hot Cross Buns Method

Put all your teabread dough ingredients apart from the milk and eggs into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until combined into breadcrumb. Take off the paddle attachment and fit a dough hook, pour in your mixed warm milk and eggs, mix on lowest speed until the dough comes together and starts to come away from the sides of the mixing bowl, increase speed to 2 and mix for a further 5 minutes. During the mix add more flour if you think the dough is to soft.

Turn out your teabread dough and chaff (kneed) for another couple of minutes, this will develop the gluten, then place back into the mixing bowl and cover with cling-film, leave for about an hour, your proving time will vary on the temperature of the kitchen as well as the liquid temperature, you may have to prove longer, you want more than double the size before moving onto the next step.

Repeat the previous knock back process and knead until you have a silky smooth dough, place back into the mixing bowl cover with cling-film and prove for another 30 minutes.

Cut out and weigh off your buns and shape, flatten down and place aside with a tea towel over them for 10 to 15 minutes, in the meantime grease your baking tray with butter and transfer the buns to the tray.

Put your tray with the buns into a hot cupboard to prove for another 30 to 40 minutes, I use the grill compartment of my oven with the oven on low, place the buns on a grate and close the door, the gases from the buns build up so you shouldn't get any skin forming. Once proved, take out and increase your oven to 240 Celsius.

Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 8, for your crosses, mix the flour with enough water to get a smooth batter paste, fill your disposable pipping bag and place in a tall glass until you need it.
Hot Cross Buns

Once your Hot cross buns have proved enough remove from the hot cupboard, now pipe your crosses across the buns.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown, glacé immediately once out of the oven, set aside on a wire rack to cool.

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