How To: Hot Cross Buns

Hey Nibblers!

          Winter is in full swing right now. I’m sitting cozied up against my blanket rocking those fluffy strawberry slippers of mine. I don’t know if it’s just me but when the temperature drops, I’m immediately in carbs mode. All I can think about is breads, pasta, muffins. Mix that in with exam study and my cravings skyrocket. So what better way to satisfy all those cravings then to bake my own ‘Hot Cross Buns?’
But wait, ‘Hot Cross Buns’ in June you ask? Aren’t they an Easter thing? Oops, you caught me. I actually baked these during the Easter long weekend but with the second last semester of university, time has been flying by too quickly. So to make it up to you all for my lack of posts, I’ve decided to ditch the studying for a day and get into procrasti-blogging. Woo hoo!

What you’ll need:
The Buns:
– 372mL of room temperature milk
Heat your milk for 10 seconds or so if you can’t wait.
– 2 tsp. of dried yeast
I used the ‘Lowan’ Instant dried yeast
– 1/4 cup of sugar
Caster would be easier to mix but whatever you have in your cupboards will work
– 50g of melted butter
– 1 egg
– 4 1/4 cup of twice sifted plain flour for the buns & 1/4 cup of twice sifted flour (for kneading purposes)
I didn’t have any 00 flour on hand however, sifting plain flour a few times worked just as well
– 2 tbs. cinnamon
Mixed spices would have been perfect but I didn’t have any on hand so cinnamon will do!
– 1 1/2 cups of dried fruits
– 2 Tbs. of apricot jam

Flour paste
– 1/4 cup water
– 1 Tbs of plain flour

How to:

Foamy after 15minutes

1. Add yeast to milk while giving it a quick stir then set aside for 15 minutes
By the end of 15 minutes, the yeast should have activated. You should see a foamy like mixture
2. Add egg, sugar and melted butter to the yeast/milk mixture and stir until well combined. Set aside
3. Sift flour into a large bowl, add your dried fruits and cinnamon and mix well
4. Make a well in the centre of your flour/fruit mixture and add the yeast/milk/egg/butter/sugar and stir until flour has been coated evenly
5. Using flour set aside for kneading purposes, flour a clean bench and knead the dough for roughly 15 minutes until dough feels smooth and elasticated

6. Place the kneaded dough in a large mixing bowl and cling-film bowl twice to create an insulated environment for the dough. Leave dough in a warm area for two hours. I left mine in the microwave for two hours to let it rise to double its size.
7. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Farenheit fan-forced once the dough has risen for 2 hours
8. Knead the dough for a further 5 minutes to start the activation of the yeast and gluten formation again
9. Mould your dough into any particular shape. I chose to make mine an Easter egg shape

10. Make cuts in the dough (careful not to cut all the way through as it will separate the segments) to form the proportions of a bun
11. Mix flour and water together to form a paste and roughly pipe crosses across your dough
12. Bake your buns in the oven for approximately 20-25minutes or until golden brown
13. Brush a thin layer of jam onto the fresh out-of-the-oven buns and leave to cool
14. Nibble away with some butter, tea and more jam!

 

Easter Egg Shaped

 

Flour pasted!
Fresh out of the oven

I’m really happy with the way these Hot Cross Buns looked! It’s my first time baking bread/buns and I think it was a great success. They tasted amazing and go so well with a touch of butter.
The texture wasn’t as soft as I wanted to be. However, after reading a few articles and asking around, I think my faults were in my kneading technique and kneading time. I probably stopped for a few minutes to look at the clock as I was kneading. It’s a workout but trust me, it’s all worth that hard effort. My friend Tree (who has started her own amazing food blog ‘The Quiet Kitchen’) is an avid bread maker and suggested I put a bowl of water under my loaf of bread while its in the oven. It allows for the steam of the water to work its magic and soften the buns. So I’ll definitely give that one a go, next time OR if you find yourself procrasti-baking, why not let me know how you got on by leaving a comment below.

Hope you’re all well and having a fantastic week,

Nibble Away,

Jo.

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