Hot Cross Buns
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The traditional hot cross bun, so popular at Easter, is, in our opinion, lightyears better when homemade. So skip those grocery store buns this year, and bake from scratch. You won't be sorry.
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook time: 20 min
Inactive time (proofing): 1 - 3 hrs
Yield: 12-20, depending on size
3 teaspoons (9 grams) instant or rapid rise yeast
1/2 cup (110g) superfine sugar (or granulated sugar, pulsed in the food processor until fine but not powdered)
1 1/2 cups (375ml) warm milk
4 1/4 cups (640g) all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp All Spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cups sultana raisins
1 cup mixed peel
1 - 2 oranges, zest only
50g / 3.5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup (75g) flour
5 tbsp water
1 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
2 tsp water
Briefly mix flour, yeast, sugar, all spice, cinnamon, and salt with stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Add butter, milk, egg, fruit and zest.
Standmixer: Mix until a smooth elastic dough forms - 5 minutes on Speed 2. After 1 min, add extra flour if required, just enough so dough comes away from side of bowl when mixing and doesn't stick terribly to your fingers. Hand kneading: Alternatively, dust a work surface with flour and knead by hand for 10 min.
Dough is kneaded enough when it's smooth and does not break when stretched.
Leave dough in the bowl, cover and place in a warm, wind free place to rise until doubled in size. This will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hrs depending how warm it is.
Line a 9 x 13" tray with parchment paper with overhang.
Remove cover and punch dough to deflate.
Dust work surface with flour, place dough on work surface, shape into a log - this will deflate the air. Cut into 12-20 equal pieces, depending how big you want them. Use your kitchen scale and weigh each piece to ensure equal sized buns (ours were about 73g, which made 18 buns).
Gather a piece of dough into a ball, then roll the dough briefly to form a ball. Gathering the dough stretches it on one side and creates a smooth surface for the top of your bun.
Place the ball with the smooth side up on the tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Line them up close but not quite touching.
Spray a piece of cling wrap lightly with oil (any), then loosely place over the tray.
Return tray to warm place and leave 30 - 45 minutes, until the dough has risen by about 75%.
Partway through Rise #2, preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix flour and water until a thick runny paste forms.
Spoon into a piping bag, or small ziplock bag then snip corner.
Uncover the tray and pipe crosses onto the buns. Go slow so it sticks to the curves.
Bake and glaze:
Bake in preheated oven (350°F) for 22 minutes, or until the surface is a golden brown. The surface colour is the best test for this recipe.
Meanwhile, place jam and water in a bowl, microwave for 30 seconds. Mix to combine.
Remove buns from oven. Use overhang to lift buns onto a cooling rack.
Brush with jam mixture while warm. Allow to cool to warm before serving.
Zhuzh it up!
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