Hot cross buns

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Difficulty: Medium

Time: 1 hour + 1-2 hrs proving + 15 minutes baking

Serves: 12 buns

Ingredients

For the dough
450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
50g caster sugar
2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
50g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
150ml warm milk
1 egg, beaten
oil, for greasing

The spices and dried fruit
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
100g raisins (or any other sultanas/currents/peel etc)

For decoration
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp granulated flour

 

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With Easter just around the corner, Hannah might be excited that the Easter bunny is coming but i’m more happy that it’s hot cross bun season! I’ve never made them before but it was quite easy – just like making any bread or pizza dough. We shortened the length of time we left the dough to rise (there’s only so many times you can expect a toddler to wait patiently) but they still turned out well and were nicer than the usual ones we get from the supermarket.

Method

Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl
First, get your toddler to weigh the flour (450g) and sugar (50g) into the bowl. While they’re doing that, measure in the salt (pinch). Open the two packets of yeast, and add them to the bowl.

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Prepare the wet ingredients
Measure the butter (50g), then melt it either in the microwave or gently over the hob. Measure the milk (150ml) into a jug and heat that gently (we popped in the microwave as well.) Neither need to be too hot as that will kill the yeast – lukewarm/tepid so you can comfortably hold your finger in the mixture is about right.

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Make a well in middle of the flour and break the egg into the centre. If you’re worried about shell, break it in a separate bowl first. Mix it a little before adding the butter, milk and 50 ml of warm water.

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Make the dough
Mix everything together until you have a soft dough. Start using a spoon and once it starts to come together finish with your hands. If the mixture is too dry (ours was) just add a little more warm water. If it’s too wet, add more flour. It should be able to come together to form a ball.

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Knead the dough in your bowl or lightly oiled or floured work surface until it becomes smooth and springy. It’ll take at least 5-10 minutes or longer depending on how much fun you’re having!

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Pop it in a clean bowl, cover it and leave in a warm place until it has roughly doubled in size. It’ll probably take about an hour depending on how warm it is.

Make the hot cross buns
While the dough is rising, measuring the fruits and spices into a bowl. (1tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp mixed spice, 1/4 nutmeg, 100g fruit).

Once the dough has risen, tip it onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few seconds then add the fruit and spices. Knead the dough until it is all evenly distributed.

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* At this point we started to run out of time so cut out the next step. They turned out pretty well without it though so I might not bother with it in the future.

Leave to rise for another hour until it has doubled in size again.

Once it’s ready, tip it onto your work surface again and knead for a few seconds. Divide into 12 even balls. We rolled out 4 sausages, then divided each into 3 pieces before rolling into balls.

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Put them on to a greased baking tray or a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Leave a little room between them as they’ll expand. Mark a cross on top of each bun using a sharp knife then cover them loosely and leave them to rise for 20 minutes or so. They should roughly double in size again.

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Preheat the oven to 200C/180 fan.

Bake the buns
Before you put the buns in the oven, mix the plain flour with enough water to make a thick paste. Use a piping bag or a plastic food bag with the corner snipped off and pipe a white cross into the crosses you cut earlier.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the buns are golden. When they’re ready they’ll sound hollow if you tap them on the bottom.

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Take the hot cross buns out the oven and while they’re still warm, melt the granulated sugar with 1 tbsp water in a small pan and brush it over the buns to give them a nice glaze.

hot cross buns

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