hot cross buns

 Not long after I first started this blog last year, it was Easter, and I was inundated with posts taunting me with hot cross buns. Delicious little bready morsals. I scrutinized, I dreamed, I gazed longingly, I especially admired the sourdough ones. Then I got side tracked and I didn’t do anything about it. Maybe next year I muttered to myself.

Easter started rearing its head again and the taunting hot cross bun posts started tempting me with their alluring photos, and seductive spices once more. Plump sultanas and glazed tops…Oh what to do? Should I try them? Should I give them a crack?

 Of course you should, said the little tiny baker on my left shoulder.

Yeast or sourdough?

Sourdough!! Said the little baker with a firm kick to my head… duhh!

Right.

Sourdough it was. But which recipe? Internet, nothing was quite right. Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook?… Nah, not quite right either. Real Food Companion? Closer, but not sourdough. Back to hack basics again then. Let’s play.

Batch One.

Not bad.  Consistency is good, soft, chewy and still light. Needs a bit more salt and lacking a bit in the spices. Definitely needs more oomph factor. I was feeling lazy and couldn’t be bothered rolling them into balls, so did a slab, used a divider and then gave another prove. This resulted in a non eye-catching brick like piece. For the glaze I did straight honey, which was too annoyingly sticky.

Batch Two.

Upped the spices and the salt. Added mixed fruit instant of just sultanas and currants. Wasn’t quite enough prove time though, so there were a few too many large holes once cooked. Still feeling lazy and went with the slab again. This time, dividing it just before cooking hoping that would make them less of a brick slab. Not really, still a great wedge of hot cross bun. Taste though, I was happy with and wouldn’t change anything further. The glaze was diluted a little and less sticky.

Third batch

I did a commercial yeast variation to see how they would be. Was feeling less lazy and actually rolled them, although was a bit sloppy with the sizes and the crosses. Verdict…still demolished by The Monkeys, but my heart still lies firmly in sourdough. Time factor is definitely a plus though when you are using commercial yeast. Not the whole day process that can be sourdough. (See the bottom of post for regular yeasted recipe… which looks remarkably similar to the sourdough one. For a semi sourdough recipe see the EDIT at the end.)

Hot Cross Buns-  

(sourdough)

100gms currants

100gms sultanas or mixed fruit

2 tbls brandy

150mls hot water

Mix together and soak the night before.

Dough Mixture

250-300gms starter (100%)

600gms strong bakers flour (4 cups)

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dark malt flour

1 tsp cardamom

100g sugar

250mls water/milk*

100g softened butter*

(* omit these if you want vegan ones)

Mix all together, except for the salt and then leave for a while, 20-45mins (autolyse period.)

Add 2 tsp salt. Mix together. Prove for an hour or so. Quick fold on lightly floured surface. Back in to bowl to prove for another or two. Fold. Prove again. Shape into a big square to fit the tray. Prove.  Use divider to shape into buns. Add the crosses.

Cross mixture

1/2 cup flour

1 tbls sugar

1/2 cup water

Mixed together and then into piping bag.

Bake at 210C for 20-25 minutes. Glaze when still hot. (1 tbls honey, 1 tbls water mixed together)

Hot Cross Buns-

(dried yeast)

100gms currants

100gms sultanas or mixed fruit

2 tbls brandy

150mls hot water

Mix together and soak the night before.

Dough Mixture

2 tsp dried yeast

600gms strong bakers flour (4 cups)

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp dark malt flour

100g sugar

250mls water/milk*

100g softened butter*

(*omit these if you want vegan ones)

Mix all dough ingredients together, leaving out the salt and leave for 20-40 minutes, (autolyse.)

Add 2 tsp salt, mix together. Prove for an hour or so, and give a quick three way fold. Leave for another hour or so. Divide dough into even balls and roll. Placing on tray. If you are feeling lazy, pop the slab on the tray and divide just before baking. Another prove for 45 minutes or so, and add the crosses.

Cross mixture

1/2 cup flour

1 tbls sugar

1/2 cup water

Mixed together and then into piping bag.

Bake at 210C for 15-20* minutes, check them if the are golden and sound hollow with a little tap, pop them out. Glaze when still hot. (1 tbls honey, 1 tbls water mixed together).

**********

*My yeasted ones cooked quicker, than the sourdough ones.

(This post submitted to yeastspotting)

***********

EDIT- Each year I have tweaked these, until finally I have a hot cross bun that I’m really happy with. There is a semi sourdough recipe that I have been using a lot here if you like the taste of sourdough but need to speed things up just a little.

semi sourdough hot cross buns

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35 thoughts on “hot cross buns

  1. What a fun process (said from someone who hasn’t just dont it and didn’t have the washing up…lol)! Congrats on persisting and finding your preference, and making entirely Hot Cross Bun-looking Hot Cross Buns, slab or not.

  2. These all look absolutely divine. What patience and persistence you possess.
    This is certainly one of the jobs on my ‘to do’ list for tomorrow. Thankfully it is cooling down now so a day of baking actually sounds like fun.

  3. they look great & good on you for making it to 3 batches!
    Ii haven’t even got to one batch this Easter.
    I promised the kids some tomorrow, I have a recipe I have made for years so hopefully first batch will rise to the occasion….oops :)

    enjoy your Easter yumminess ♥

  4. Great project, Brydie! Rolling them definitely is the way to go if you want a traditional shape, but they do take a while to make. Luckily yours are all delicious, and you have so many willing eaters!

  5. I haven’t made any so far… but I like rolling round shapes, I find it one of the easier things to do. I like the bit when you make the cup with your hand and feel the ball of dough gather under the net of your fingers and suddenly spin in the other direction….looked at the sourdough versions and not got round to them yet, last year made the ones with the black stout which were very delicious, I think one of Dan the man’s recipes…. anyway I’ve got a couple of days to do a batch – you’ve got me thinking …. ;)

    • It’s funny Joanna, when I was googling around for sourdough recipes, a comment from you came up talking about those stout ones (I think it was on sourdough.com?…Can’t remember Mick was there too I think.) I was going to pester you about them.
      The rolling I like doing that too, although The Monkeys distract me so I cut corners- hence the brick slab :-)

  6. would love the sourdough buns – but I still have sourdough shyness when it comes to baking (not cooking) – so I stick to good old commercial yeast for my HCBs. Always love to see a bit of experimenting – can highly recommend a simple glaze of sugar, water and mixed spice

  7. I’m going to be making up some hot x buns this weekend and will be trying out your recipe and playing around with another involving apricots and mandarin peel. That said, having tasted your first attempt, I’ll be thrilled to get a result anywhere as tasty as yours!

  8. I’ll be damned! I’ve always thought these things were made with sugar – no sweetener in dough? Really? I’m on a low sugar kick right now, so these are quite tempting – thanks for the idea.

    Have a happy Easter, Brydie.

    • No sweetner Doc. I’m sure some people put sugar in them, but I think with the dried fruit combined with with the spiced sourdough flavours there is another flavour action going on and no need for any extra sugar. The honey glaze lets the floral flavours of the the lovely honey jump through in a really subtle way as well. If I bump it up with sugar all those tiny different flavours I was playing with will be lost.
      Happy Easter to you to Doc.

  9. Hi Brydie!
    think they look beautiful- even the ” brick slab” LOL!
    And you used honey! Yours are ever so much healthier than mine!
    But then, again, I have reluctant eaters- and the ones I made took three days to be finally eaten.
    Four batches?! You are superwoman!

  10. Pingback: Here’s a Bun For Spring « The Lost World of Drfugawe

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