Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

I had my first attempt of making some bread and I’d say I have new found respect for bread bakers out there.  Seriously!  Kneading dough is not a joke! And I only have to do it for 15 minutes, what more if you have it as an 8-hour job? I tried baking raisin soda bread before but it does not involve the use of yeast and does not require kneading.  This one is a real bread.

I am particularly happy with the result considering it is my first try.  I have yet to learn some proper handling techniques of the dough and practice kneading and cutting and get used to the behavior of active dry yeast and it’s effects on the bread.  Nevertheless, not bad at all at my first attempt! :) 

I decided to make some cross buns.  These tasty Hot Cross Buns are sweet to the taste and filled with spicy flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg that fills your home with a wonderful scent. Inside you will find raisins and cranberries that add to the taste. Then, to top it all off, an Apricot jam is used as a glaze to give these Hot Cross buns a delicious look and taste.

This recipe is courtesy of  Enjoy!

For the Dough -
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons Apricot jam (for glaze)
Paste for the crosses -
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon powder sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
Preparation –
  1. Prep all your ingredients ahead, this will help to make things move faster. Pour the buttermilk into a saucepan and heat to lukewarm, be sure to stir continually as it heats. If the buttermilk separates thats OK you can still use it.
  2. Once buttermilk is heated, pour into a large bowl. Add in the sugar, melted butter and eggs, mix with a wooden spoon, set aside. In a separate bowl add 1 cup of flour, now add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and yeast. Stir with a wire whisk till well blended.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon till smooth.
  4. Add in another cup of flour and beat for 2 minutes. Now continue to add flour slowly a little at a time, till the dough comes together but still sticky. Pour out onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead for about 8 minutes. You may not need all the flour. You want the dough to be on the sticky side rather then the dry side.
  5. The dough will become smooth and elastic. Knead in the cranberries and raisins till they are well incorporated.
  6. Add a little oil to a clean bowl add the dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge overnight. Prep your 13X 9 casserole dish with parchment paper. This will help to remove the buns easily.
  7. Next day remove dough about 4 hours before using. Punch down the dough.  Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Pour out the dough and shape into a log, cut dough in half.  Cut each half into 6 pieces, so, you will end up with a total of 12 pieces. I weight each piece so they will all have the same weight. If you want your buns to all be the same in size you need to do this.
  9. Shape into balls and place onto the parchment paper . Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours or till double in size. ( If you want the buns to rise faster, place dish on top of the oven and turn oven on, this will heat the dish slowly from the bottom and the buns will rise faster).
  10. After buns have risen. Mix the ingredients for the paste to make the crosses.  Place paste into a zip lock bag and cut the tip off. Squeeze the paste on top of the buns to make the cross. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for bake 30 -35 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven and heat apricot jam in the microwave strain out the lumps and brush the tops of the buns.
Yield - 12-16 cross buns

Making of the Buns –
In the process of making a dough
The dough is ready to be kneaded –
After kneading the dough, it has increased size by 50% –
I have incorporated some raisins & sultanas ( I do not have cranberries) and ready to rest overnight –
The dough resting overnight in the fridge –
The bread dough shaped into balls and lined up in the baking tray ready to be baked.  See the white crosses at the top?

TA-DA!  The finished product!  My very first (well second) bread -

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