HOT CROSS BUNS
[this recipe is from our founder Georgia's column for The Evening Standard]
There is something so satisfying about making a batch of freshly baked hot cross buns from scratch. If you have kids this is a great recipe for them to get involved. The dough needs at least an hour to prove (the term for when yeast activates and aerates the dough, causing it to rise), but is also very happy to prove overnight if you prefer to finish them off first thing. I make my own candied peel during the week because I loathe the shop bought stuff and it means I can use the rest of the oranges for freshly squeezed juice.
200ml semi-skimmed milk
55g unsalted butter
455g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ whole nutmeg, grated
55g caster sugar
1 tsp quick yeast
1 large free range egg, beaten
80g sultanas or raisins
2 tablespoons candied peel
2 tablespoons plain flour
runny honey or golden syrup, to glaze
- In a small saucepan warm the milk and butter, until all the butter is melted.
- Add the flour, salt, spices, sugar and yeast to a large bowl and mix well.
- Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, milk & beaten egg.
- Using a fork, mix well until you have a rough dough. Transfer to a clean, flour dusted work surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until soft and springy.
- Return the dough to a flour dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or cling film and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (at least an hour, if you have time leave overnight).
two batches of dough ready to prove after kneading for 10 mins
- Knock the air out by bashing it with your fist and transfer the dough to a clean flour dusted work surface. Add the raisins / sultanas and candied peel and knead into the dough for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and line a large baking tray. I usually make 12 hot cross buns with this dough but you can play around with size so long as they are equal (cooking time may vary if you make them bigger / smaller). Finally lay them out on the lined baking tray evenly spaced. Cover with the tea towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (approx. 30 minutes).
- When the buns are ready to go into the oven, place 50g plain flour and 2 tablespoons water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste. If you have a piping bag you can use it to carefully draw a cross over the top with a piping bag otherwise just use whatever you find easiest!
- Place the buns into the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown. When cooked, transfer to a wire cooling rack and leave to cool.
- Just before the buns come out the oven warm a generous tablespoon of honey or golden syrup (heating it just makes it easier to spread) and brush over the top of each for a nice glaze.