Monday, June 6, 2011

Hot cross buns

One way of celebrating Easter is to dress up in a Ku Klux Klan costume and march around the street in the middle of the night carrying a giant statue of the Virgin Mary to the accompaniment of a discordant brass band:

Or you can just make some hot cross buns:


For the dough
375g warm milk
15 g of fresh yeast (or 7 g of dried active yeast)
30g brown sugar
2 tsps mixed spice
150g large raisins
zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsps sunflower oil
1 egg
650g strong white flour
5g salt

For the glaze
100g light brown sugar
100g water

For the pastry cross
75g plain flour
75g water

  1. Measure the milk into a large bowl. Add the yeast, whisk well so that it is dissolved. Add the sugar, mixed spice, raisins, lemon zest, sunflower oil and 1 egg, and whisk to mix. Add the flour and salt, and mix well.
  2. With wet hands, stretch and fold the dough by putting one hand underneath it and pulling it up, then folding it over on top of the rest of the dough. Give the bowl a quarter turn, then stretch and fold the dough again. Do this about eight times, then cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Repeat the series of 8 stretch and folds at 15 minute intervals for one hour, covering the bowl with a tea towel in between. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to stand for a further hour at room temperature.
  3. Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface, bring it together into a ball, then divide it into 12 portions. Form each portion into a small round boule or bun, and place the buns, evenly spaced, onto a lightly oiled, floured baking sheet. Put the sheet inside a large plastic bag, making sure that the plastic is not in contact with the dough. Leave the buns to rise for 1 hour.
  4. When the buns have been rising for 30 minutes, set the oven to 190°C. 
  5. To make the glaze, mix the brown sugar and water, and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved to form a very runny syrup. 
  6. Mix the plain flour and water together to make a stiff batter, then pipe it slowly onto the buns to make crosses. (If you don't have a piping bag, just use a freezer bag with the corner snipped off.)
  7. Glaze the buns with plenty of the syrup.
  8. Put the tray of glazed buns in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until they are golden brown. 
  9. Remove the buns from the oven, apply a second coat of glaze and eat hot or leave to cool on a wire rack.

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