Hot Cross Buns
Can you think of anything nicer than warm, lightly toasted fruit bread with melting salty butter? When I was a small child, Easter was such an exciting time, not just for the chocolate eggs but also for the abundance of hot cross buns. Fruit bread is my weakness. My kryptonite. Even now the sight of a Little Chef brings back memories of long journeys dragging a caravan and a collie down the M1 with the occasional Toasted Teacake break, although a recent attempt to relive that memory with my husband resulted in the worst latte I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Presented with toasted fruit bread all will power and good intentions fade to naught and these light wholemeal hot cross buns are just the ticket to persuade me I’m actually being healthy.
This Easter, whatever your plans are, make yourself a batch of these and brew a lovely pot of fresh coffee. Take 10 minutes out of your morning to sit and relax before the egg hunts start and the sugar rush kicks in.
For the buns
- 200g strong white flour
- 250g strong wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 3 tsp, dried activeyeast
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 50g caster sugar
- 100g currants
- 50g chopped candied peel
- 50g soft butter
- 150ml luke warm milk
- 75ml luke warm water
- 1 large egg, beaten
For the crosses:
- 40g plain flour
- 3 tbsp water approx
For the glaze:
- 1 tbs caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7.
- Whisk the dried active yeast together with 75ml of luke warm water and 1 tsp of the caster sugar, leave it to activate for 10 minutes. It will froth up like beer.
- Mix together all the flour, mixed spice, salt, caster sugar, dried fruit and mixed peel and mix it all together well. Make a well in the centre of this dry mix.
- Add the butter and beaten egg to the to the well and start to combine. Add the yeast mix to the dough and enough of the luke warm milk to combine into a nice soft dough. You may not need all the milk. The dough is ready when it has a nice smooth finish and the bowl is clean. Knead it for about 10 minutes. Alternatively this can also be done in a bowl mixer.
- Cover the bowl with lightly oiled cling film and let it rise. Leave the bowl at room temperature – it should take about 1.5 -2hrs. When it has doubled in volume it is ready.
- Now turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and very carefully knock back the dough by folding the sides back into the centre. Don’t be too rough here. We don’t want to lose all the air in there,
- Divide the mixture into twelve using a knife. Depending on how precise you wish to be you can weigh the total amount of dough and then weigh out 12 equal portions.
- Roll out twelve even buns and place on a lined baking sheet. Make a cross on the top of each one with a knife, cover with the lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- To make the crosses mix the plain flour with the water to make a thick paste, fill up a piping back and snip off a very small piping hole.
- When the buns are risen pipe a cross of paste on top of each one and bake for 15-20 mins in the middle of the oven.
- To make the glaze dissolve the sugar and water together in a small saucepan until you have a smooth syrup.
- Remove the buns from the oven when ready, brush lightly with the syrup and then leave the tray to cool on a rack to get the air flow beneath it.