Hot Cross Bun? Hot Cross Yum!

Easter is approaching and we, like many others have been trying our hand at baking various cakes and pastries - with mixed results! One member of Team Unorthodox who certainly knows her stuff is Emma (those who have tried her Cinammon Buns can testify).

She has kindly provided us with her Hot Cross Bun recipe for you all to replicate and enjoy at home with a delicious cup of Wee Stoater.


Hot cross buns are steeped in years of history and traditions, but personally, the first batch of hot cross buns that I baked at home are representative of the change in season and make me just that little bit more excited for the summer ahead. So as the days are warming up and I leave work, still able to enjoy an hour or two of sunshine, it seemed only right that I bake that first batch of hot cross buns (and if we are totally honest it’s far too close to easter to not have indulged in a toasted hot cross bun slathered in butter - enjoyed with a fresh cup of my favourite Unorthodox coffee of course ;))


As a keen baker, there is nothing worse than putting a couple of hours of work into a recipe hoping for soft fluffy buns only to get left with… well let’s just say we may as well use it as a frisbee. So I’m going to share a tried-and-tested recipe with a few little tips and tricks when I can.


Ingredients

Buns:


640g Bread flour*

9g Instant Yeast

110g Caster Sugar

2 tsp Ground cinnamon

2 tsp Mixed spice/Allspice

210g Dried fruit **

2 Oranges, zested

375ml Milk***, warmed

50g Unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 Egg


Crosses:


75g Flour

5 tbsp Water


Glaze:


2 tbsp Apricot jam

2 tbsp Water


*Bread flour will result in fluffier rolls, however, using plain flour will still result in a great bun, you may just find you need to add a larger amount of additional flour

**Our household don’t personally enjoy raisins or sultanas so we will use cranberries, however you can substitute in whatever you like: dried cherries, dried blueberries, really any dried fruit that is the size of a raisin or chopped to the right size - you can even use candied peel.

***I used full fat but skimmed will work just as well


Tips


So this is usually where recipes jump straight into it but I want to pass on a few tips before we begin. Firstly prepare all your ingredients, you can weigh out and mix all of the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, caster sugar, spices and dried fruit) into a large bowl. Zest your two oranges straight into the bowl with all your dry ingredients, heat your milk (microwave or stovetop) and melt your butter. This allows you to be the most efficient. (If you have a stand mixer this will make your life far easier, prepare all your dry ingredients into the stand mixer bowl)



Secondly, wash as you go. This recipe doesn’t create too much washing but keeping on top of it means that when you finish your buns you don’t have a mountain of washing that you dread tackling.


Third, get yourself a fantastic playlist. Having music playing while I bake makes the whole experience even more enjoyable and often it means I’m more willing to take extra time on my recipe.


Method


Mix together your dry ingredients, then add the milk, butter and egg.


- If you are using a stand mixer mixing the ingredients slowly until well combined.


- If doing this by hand, bring together the dough. At this stage, the dough may be very sticky but this will be solved when you come to kneading the dough.


- If doing this in the stand mixer, increase the speed to high for 2-4 mins until the dough is smooth and pulls away cleanly from the edge of the bowl, if the dough is too sticky add more flour.

- If doing this by hand, tip the dough out onto a cleaned surface and knead for 10 mins until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the surface. I usually end up adding a couple of extra handfuls of flour until the dough is still soft, but manageable (kneading the dough will decrease the stickiness as you develop the gluten).


Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size, between 45 min to an hour and a half. (Now is a great opportunity to do your first bit of cleaning)



Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and deflate. Either weigh out and divide into 12 equal pieces, or roll into a log and divide into 12 equal pieces.



Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


To create the bun, flatten the dough with your palm then place your left index finger on the centre of the dough and, using your right-hand, bring an edge piece of dough into the centre and place it under your index finger. Do this all the way around the piece of dough until you have a tightly-formed roundish piece of dough. Turn out the dough and roll it lightly to make it into a smooth ball. Place on the baking tray and repeat with the other 11 pieces, place on the tray in a 3 by 4 rectangle and just far enough apart that they aren’t touching. Cover with a lightly greased piece of cling film and leave to rise for a further 30-45 mins. (Another great opportunity to do some cleaning).



Midway through the final rise preheat the oven to 180°c and mix the water and flour for the crosses (should be a little bit thicker than runny honey)


Place the water/flour paste in a piping bag (or using a ziplock/straight-edged bag, cut a thin hole) and pipe the cross over your buns sticking close to the bun itself to ensure accuracy.


Place your bun in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 mins until they are golden brown, use the colour as your indicator rather than the time.


Just before your buns are ready to come out, you mix the apricot jam with the hot water and prepare your cooling rack, glaze, and brush for the glaze.


Take your buns out of the oven and transfer them onto the cooling rack, while the buns are still warm brush over your glaze generously (if needs be make more) and then leave to cool while celebrating your victorious bake.



And that’s it. My family’s go-to recipe for hot cross buns. So with Easter coming up I really hope that you give these a go, they are ridiculously rewarding and all your friends on Instagram are going insanely jealous - they’ll be begging you to bring some along on your next socially distanced walk! If you have any questions pop them in the comments and I’ll get back to you asap, and if you give it a go I’d love to see you tag @unorthodoxroasters on Instagram or @unorthodoxroast on Twitter.




And that’s it. My family’s go-to recipe for hot cross buns. So with Easter coming up I really hope that you give these a go, they are ridiculously rewarding and all your friends on Instagram are going insanely jealous - they’ll be begging you to bring some along on your next socially distanced walk! If you have any questions pop them in the comments and I’ll get back to you asap, and if you give it a go I’d love to see you tag @unorthodoxroasters on Instagram or @unorthodoxroast on Twitter.


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