Sunday, March 26, 2023

How to make the perfect Hot Cross Buns (pictures and video)

It wouldn’t be Easter without Hot Cross Buns. If you’re tired of dry supermarket fare then why not try making your own. We asked Tine Roche from the Cambridge Cookery School what makes the perfect Hot Cross Bun. The secret, says Tine, is all in the dough.

She said: “Hot cross buns are made from enriched yeast risen dough. As always with this type of bread, using fresh yeast makes by far the best buns. When enriching – adding egg, sugar, butter and in this case spices, the dough needs a little longer to rise.

“For the best ever buns the first important factor is a wet dough – every extra gram of flour that goes into the dough will make the finished bread dry.

“Secondly, slow rise the dough overnight in the fridge. The next morning, shape and leave to prove in the warm kitchen.

“The most important part of successful baking is identifying when the bread is ready to go into the oven. By gently prodding the shaped rolls, you should find that they have changed from bouncing back and feeling elastic to being slack and leaving an indentation where prodded.

“This is when the dough is at its most air filled and should be baked in a hot oven."

Here is Tine Roche’s step by step recipe for delicious Hot Cross Buns


To make the dough:

25g fresh or 7g quick action yeast

100g butter

260ml milk

1 egg yolk

75g caster sugar

A small pinch of salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 pinch ground cloves

500g plain flour

A large handful sultanas

3 tablespoons mixed peel

To make the cross:

2 large tablespoons plain flour mixed with 2 small tablespoons water

To glaze after baking:

40g caster sugar

25ml hot water from the kettle

1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

1. Crumble the yeast into a large mixing bowl.

2. Melt the butter then add the milk and bring to body temperature. Add the sugar, stirring it into the warm milk.

3. When no warmer than body temperature, pour the milk over the yeast and stir to dissolve. Add egg yolk, sugar, salt, spices and flour.

4. Mix well, then turn out to knead on a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 5-6 minutes.

5. Return to a clean, lightly floured bowl. Cover and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm kitchen or, for truly superb buns, overnight in the fridge.

6. Tip the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Knead in the sultanas and mixed peel.

7. Divide into roughly 60g pieces of dough. Shape into neat rounds by tucking the dough in under the rolls and "walking" them across the work surface while cupping with your hands.

8. Place on floured baking sheets. With a sharp knife, mark a cross on each roll.

9. Leave to prove until soft and slack.

10. Meanwhile, mix flour and water and place in a small piping bag either cut for a fine hole or set with a small straight nozzle.

11. Pipe out a thin cross on each bun.

12. Place in the top third of a pre-heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden

13. While they bake, make the sugar glaze and as soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them with the glaze and leave to cool.

14. All bread is best while fresh. Freeze what you don’t eat and then warm slowly in a low oven temperature.


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