Hot Cross Buns
I adore a fresh hot cross bun, slightly warm with butter. Many recipes finish with a sticky glaze applied after baking whilst the buns are still hot. This for me can be messy, too sweet and then impossible to toast the next day without burning. My glaze is a slightly sweetened frothed egg white which is applied before baking and before the traditional crosses. The result is a dark, glossy glaze but non sticky to the touch. Link to "How to" You Tube Video : https://youtu.be/TGvKqc4V7sA
Start by placing the butter in a heat proof jug then pour over the measured hand hot water then add the sugar. Stir well until all dissolve then pour over the milk then add the egg yolk. Give a quick beating with a fork then add the dried yeast. Stir to combine.
In a machine fitted with a dough hook place first the salt then add the flour. Pour over the warm milk and egg mix then start your machine going on its lowest setting and mix for 3-4 minutes or until the dough has started to come together but is scraggy – then add the soaked fruit. Keep the machine going until the dough comes together but is still quite sticky. Don’t be tempted to add more flour.
Keep the machine going for a further 5 minutes and the dough will start to leave the side of the bowl and become smooth and elastic.
Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball then place in a greased bowl and leave to rise, covered in a shower cap or plate, in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take one to one and a half hours.
When risen turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop and divide into 12 equal pieces. I think it is better to weigh the dough pieces and in that way you will produce perfectly uniform buns. About 80g per piece should be about right.
Shape each piece of dough into a ball then space equally onto two lightly greased baking sheets – six per sheet.
Leave to prove for 40-50 minutes until doubled in size. I place my buns in a closed oven with just the electric light on or a closed microwave. This provides an airtight environment with just sufficient heat to prove the bread.
After the proving time, carefully remove the buns ready for the glazing.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
Beat up the egg white and sugar together just so that it is frothy then brush over the risen buns very gently and carefully. Make a thick paste of plain flour and water then pipe this over the glazed buns.
Pop into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until dark golden, glossy and simply delicious.
Eat warm or cold. The next day can be toasted without the fear of burning under the grill or in the toaster.
Tip – if you have the time (and you remember) soak the fruit, spice, zest and orange juice in a small bowl then cover and leave overnight in a warm place. The fruit will absorb the flavours and the juice and the resulting taste is truly luscious !
TIP : Left over hot cross buns make a fabulous bread and butter pudding.
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