It was Good Friday yesterday, and I woke up singing ‘hot cross buns, hot cross buns, see how they run… (pause)’ I thought I could have gone unnoticed, but my unusually-alert-while-half-awake husband immediately pointed out that my song didn’t make any sense, and that it was the tune of Three Blind Mice I was singing to. Right… moving along. Traditionally eaten during Good Friday and Easter, these spiced sweet raisin-laced buns are marked with a cross across the top, as a symbol of the crucifixion.
This is the first time I’d ever made these buns, but I was so happy with the way they turned out that it won’t be the last. The buns were soft, fluffy, cinnamon-y, fruity, and fragrant. When I took a bite of this freshly baked bun, I had one of those moments – the moment when everything fades away and I say to myself: this is why I do what I do; this is why I love baking from scratch. All the time and effort put in to make this myself (and yourself too!) is worth it. Forget the sickly-sweet store-bought variety, there are just some things that money can’t buy.
Hot Cross Buns
(Adapted from BBC Good Food)
Yields: 12 large or 15 small buns
300ml full-fat milk
500g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
75g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
7g instant yeast
1 orange/lemon zested
1. Bring milk to boil, then stir in butter to melt. Let it cool down till it is lukewarm, but not hot.
2. Put flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, yeast, egg and warm milk mixture into a mixing bowl. Knead on low for about 4 minutes until dough is fairly smooth. Add in raisins and zest and continue kneading for another 2 minutes until raisins are incorporated into the dough.
3. On a floured surface, round the dough into a ball. Then place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with clingwrap. Let the dough ferment in a warm place, until the dough doubles in size ~ 1 hour.
4. On a floured surface, knock the dough back to remove air bubbles. Divide into equal portions of 90g (large) or 75g (small). Then shape them into round balls by rolling it between your palm and the table. Let the buns proof in a warm environment ~ 45-60 min.
5. Combine the 75g of flour with water to form a thick paste. Using a piping bag with a thin round nozzle, pipe across the tops of the buns to form a cross.
6. Bake at 400F/200C for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
7. Remove from oven, cool and dig in!