Sunday, 8 April 2012

Hot Cross Buns

I never knew that hot cross buns are synonymous with Good Friday.  Traditionally, a hot cross bun is a sweet spiced bun made with dried fruit and topped with a cross. Here in KL, you'll see local versions of the buns in bakeries all year round, but these are mostly just sweet buns topped with a piped cross for decoration.  Apparently there are a number of beliefs with hot cross buns, and one of my favourites is that you'll have lifelong friendship with the person you share it with.

Anyway, making hot cross buns isn't difficult at all.  Like making any yeast breads, all you need is time for the dough to proof and either some elbow grease or a machine to knead.  I was rather careless in my first batch and chucked in a cup of wholemeal flour instead of plain flour.  I did wonder why the flour looked odd at that time.  Darn.  Then as I was getting ready to shape them after the 1st proof, something came up. So I ended up chucking the dough into the fridge for shaping later. Double darn.  I thought I was done for, as the dough may have been abused beyond recognition.  Luckily for me, this recipe is pretty hardy and as the buns turned out pretty well considering. 

 I liked that the cinnamon gave it a warm aromatic flavour and the currants remained plump and juicy (well, about as juicy as dried fruit can get).  The kitchen smelled heavenly of cinnamon and spices during the bake-out.  The wholemeal gave it more of a bite, so mistake or not, I decided to keep it in the recipe. 

Dear friends, for logistics reasons if I can't share a hot cross bun with you, here's a yummy hot cross bun recipe to share.  To life-long friendship :D

Makes 12 buns
Hot Cross Buns - adapted from Darla of Bakingdom

Ingredients:For buns:
1 1/2 cups plain bread flour
1 cup wholemeal bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil, or butter
3/4 cup warm milk
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
1 egg for egg wash (optional)

For Icing:
3 tablespoons icing sugar
2 teaspoon warm water

1.  Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
2.  Combine the flours, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, allspice and salt into a large bowl.  Make a well in the center.
3.  Stir the liquids (milk, egg, oil) into the dry ingredients and mix until a dough just forms.  Cover the bowl with a tea towel and rest for 15 minutes.
4.  Once rested, add in the dried fruit and knead until smooth and elastic.  Or use the dough function in a bread maker.  If the dough is too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time.  If it is too wet, add a tablespoon of flour at a time.
5.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the proof until double in size, approximately 1 hour.
6.  Gently punch down the dough, and turn it out unto a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces, roughly the size of a golf ball.
7.  Shape the dough pieces into round-ish balls and place on the lined baking tray. Ensure you leave enough space between the dough balls for them to double in size. 
8.  Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise until double in size, approximately 1 hour.
9.  Lightly whisk the egg, and glaze the dough with the egg wash if preferred.  Bake in a pre-heated oven 200C/400F for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.  It should be nicely brown when done.
10. Remove from oven and cool completely before icing the cross design.
11.  To make sugar icing, mix the icing sugar and water until smooth.  It should be quite
thick and 'sticky'.  Pipe or paint a 'cross' design on each bun.

If you don't like wholemeal, just use plain bread flour instead.
I like baking buns out where they are 'joined' to one another, so I used a 3x4 configuration.   Alternatively they can be placed individually.
Ensure buns are completely cooled before piping the sugar icing, otherwise the icing just melts into the buns.
I painted the design using a teaspoon :)  No more messing with a piping bag or zip-lock.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts