Monday, 7 April 2014

Traditional Sticky Hot Cross Buns

Traditional Sticky Hot Cross Buns

I can't believe that it's almost Easter! It doesn't seem two minutes since we were putting up the Christmas decorations and here we are nearly at the middle of April - how time flies!

My daughter arrived home from Uni at the weekend for her Easter break and the house is already looking a bit more lived in than usual with her shoes left lying in the middle of the floor where she stepped out of them and just in the right place for me to trip over them and break my neck! Not to mention all the make up and hair products strewn around the bathroom. 

It will be lovely to have some mother/daughter time again though and we're already planning a few baking sessions! Hot cross buns are a favourite Easter treat of mine and, even though there's all kinds of varieties available now, I like to keep them traditional with a good helping of fruit, a hint of spice and a nice sticky sweet top.

These hot cross buns can be made using a bread machine (as I do) or by hand and I've explained the method for both below:

Traditional Sticky Hot Cross Buns

Notes: This recipe makes 12 buns. 1½ tsp of mixed spice can be used in place of the 4 different spices specified in the recipe and is just as nice. I used mixed fruit with raisins, currants and peel but any dried fruit can be added. The glaze described in the recipe makes the buns really sticky - for less stickiness only use 1tbsp sugar.

500g strong white bread flour
50g butter
50g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp fast action dried yeast
1 egg, beaten
275ml milk
125g dried mixed fruit

For the crosses and the glaze:
50g strong white or plain flour
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp sugar


If using a bread machine:
1. Add the milk, egg, sugar, salt and butter to the tin of the bread machine.

2. Spoon in the flour and spices and sprinkle the yeast on top. 

3. If the machine has a compartment for extras (e.g. fruit, nuts or seeds) put the fruit in the compartment.

4. Set the machine to the 'dough' programme and start the machine - remembering to set the programme to include extras so the fruit gets added at the right time. If the machine doesn't automatically add the fruit from a separate compartment, it should beep to tell you to add the fruit when it needs to go in.

5. When the dough is ready, continue from stage 3 below.

If making the dough by hand:
1. Put the flour and the butter into a bowl and rub the butter into the flour so it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, salt, spices and yeast. Add the egg and milk - mix it all together until it forms a soft dough.

2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead well for 5 minutes - the dough should be smooth and stretchy. Add the raisins and continue to knead until they are worked into the dough. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel or oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for approx 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. 

3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Cut the dough into 12 equal size pieces, roll them into a ball and place them on an oiled baking tray - make sure they are kept well apart to allow room for rising. Cover with a sheet of oiled cling film (loosely) and leave in a warm place to rise for approx 45 minutes. The buns should be well risen and rounded - leave for a bit longer if needed.

4. Mix the flour and the water for the crosses to form a paste. Spoon the paste into a plastic freezer bag and snip one corner. Pipe crosses across the buns using the freezer bag as a piping bag.

5. Pop the tray of buns into a preheated oven at 200°C/ 400°F/ Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes until the buns are well risen and golden.

6. Just before the buns come out of the oven, heat the milk and sugar for the glaze in a small saucepan. Allow the mixture to boil for 2 minutes until it forms a syrup. When the buns come out of the oven immediately brush them with the syrup and transfer (carefully because they'll still be hot) to a wire rack to cool.

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