With Easter around the corner, we have a home-style hot cross buns recipe that will make your tastebuds hop.
It used to be that if you didn’t get your Easter buns the week of Good Friday, then you didn’t get any at all. Not these days, though. The day after Boxing Day when the shops have re-opened and the Christmas stock goes onto the sale rack, hot x buns and Easter eggs are wheeled out to take their former place. Holiday marketing at its most shameless.
Hot x buns are fun and easy to make and have become a family tradition of ours. Plus, any gluten based product fresh from the oven smells and tastes divine.
2 tsp dried yeast
1 ¼ cups warmed milk
¼ cup sugar
4 cups plain flour or bakers flour
3 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp salt
1 cup raisins, sultanas or choc chips for the non-traditionalists
1/3 cup self-raising flour, for crosses
1-2 tbsp jam of choice (apricot works well) warmed, for glazing.
Mix the yeast and sugar into the warmed milk. Leave it in a warm spot until it starts to bubble and gets a head (like beer), usually 10-15 min. If bubbles don’t form then the yeast is no good.
While waiting on the yeast mixture, sift flour, salt and spices into large bowl. Rub in the butter until all large lumps are gone.
When the yeast mix is ready, make a well in the middle of the flour and pour it in. Also, add the dried fruit and eggs and mix together until it forms a dough. If it is too sticky add another handful of flour or add some more milk if it is too dry. Knead the dough for 5 min on a floured surface until it is smooth.
Once you have completed the kneading, shape it into a mound by tucking the edges under and place it back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. This is the part where you need patience – the wait is worth it. Depending on the ambient temp, it could take around 45 min.
When the dough has doubled tip it out onto a floured surface and lightly punch it to knock some of the air out. Give it a quick knead and divide into 12 equal portions, rolling into balls.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 30 x 20cm baking dish with baking paper and place the balls in neat rows to fill the dish. Cover again and leave for 20 min, or until they have risen back up again.
Before putting them in the oven mix the self-raising flour with enough water to make a smooth paste. Pipe over the buns in long lines to make the crosses and place into the oven to oven to bake for 25 min, or until browning and aromatic.
While they are cooling on a rack, brush them with the warmed jam to give them that quintessential glaze.
Best eaten fresh and warm with friends and family, with lashings of butter melted in.