Hot Cross Buns
Easter is coming, so nothing better than baking your own homemade hot cross buns. Our team member Kate loves baking and she has shared with us the perfect hot cross buns recipe.
Kate uses cranberries and white chocolate instead of the traditional raisins and sultanas. Check out the recipe below. We hope you like it!
Makes 16 buns
Prep time – 30 minutes, plus 3-4 hours rising time
Cooking time – 17-20 minutes
1 ¼ cups high grade white flour (or strong flour)
1 ½ cups milk
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp active dried yeast (check expiry date)
1 cup cranberries
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup white chocolate (chopped)
3 cups high grade white flour (or strong flour)
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
50g chilled butter
‘Super Booster’ (see recipe above)
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup just-boiled water
½ cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup cold water
Heat the orange juice and zest in a small saucepan until hot. Add the cranberries to a bowl or a resealable bag and pour the orange liquid in. Seal/cover and leave for an hour or so, or overnight. Drain the fruit in a sieve before using. Leave the white chocolate aside.
Add the first measure of flour to a large mixing bowl.
Add the milk to a heatproof bowl and microwave in 20 second increments until it reaches skin temperature – about 32c is ideal. If it gets too warm, just let it cool down to skin temp before using.
Add the sugar and yeast and whisk gently for 20 seconds or so.
Make a well in the flour and pour in the milk mixture, stirring to combine evenly. Cover with a clean damp cloth or a plastic bag, and leave somewhere draft-free* for however long it takes for it to double in size.
Once the super booster has risen, add the second measure of flour, sugar, spices and salt to a large metal or plastic mixing bowl and stir. The bowl needs to be big enough for the dough to double in size later.
Finely chop the chilled butter and add to the flour mixture along with the Super Booster mixture and egg. Stir with a wooden spoon to bring it all together into a rough dough.
Tip it out on a clean benchtop you’ve cleared some space on. Start to knead – it will feel very wet and sticky at first and your hands will feel caked in dough. You can rub your hands in a little more flour to clean them, adding the crumbs back to the dough. Keep kneading and eventually, the dough will stop sticking to your hands and the bench so much. Don’t be tempted to add heaps of flour – a little bit at the start is OK, but a sticky dough will produce much better buns than a dry dough.
Knead firmly for 10 minutes – it needs to be very smooth and stretchy (see tips below). Once it’s ready, leave to sit for 5-10 minutes to relax before adding the fruit.
Drain the cranberries well in a sieve and tip on to the benchtop. Tip the white chocolate on to the benchtop too. Squash the dough out on top and knead it all together for another minute or so. It will feel slippery and weird to start with – just persist with gentle kneading and it will all come back together into a cohesive, very sticky dough eventually.
Add the dough back to the mixing bowl, pop a plastic bag on top and leave in a draft-free place* (see tips below) until it’s doubled in size – usually an hour or two – it depends on the temperature of the surroundings, among other things. It’s a visual clue, not a timed one.
When it’s doubled in size, tip out on a clean benchtop and divide into 16 even pieces (you can weigh them if you have electric scales). Firmly roll each portion until you have a fairly smooth ball.
Place the balls 1-2cm apart on a baking tray or metal baking dish lined with baking paper (mine was about 30 x 20cm). My buns were pretty much to touching start with, so all the buns joined up nicely as they rose.
Cover with lightly oiled clingfilm (or I prefer uncovered in the turned-off oven with the bowl of boiled water) and leave to rise again for another hour or so until puffed up into proper bun size – they don’t rise any more when cooking, like cakes do.
Preheat the oven to 180c regular bake.
Stir the flour, baking powder, water and sugar together with a fork to form a smooth paste. Add to a piping bag with a small round nozzle (or a snaplock bag with a tiny corner cut off). Pipe thin crosses on top of each bun.
Bake immediately in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes – or until dark golden brown all over. You can turn the oven up to 200c for a couple of minutes if they aren’t browning.
While the buns are cooking, whisk the sugar and boiled water in a heatproof bowl until dissolved. Microwave on high for 30 seconds if you need to help dissolve the sugar. Brush on top of the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.
That's it. Delicious homemade hot cross buns.
Happy Easter everyone!
There’s no set time for dough to rise, room temperature is usually OK in the warmer months. It will rise slowest in cold conditions and faster in warm humid conditions (ideal temperature is about 32c). Try placing a bowl or tray of just-boiled water in a turned-off oven and pop the covered dough in there with it. Shut the door and there will be enough warmth trapped in there to help it rise nicely. It’s worth noting that yeast dies at temperatures above 50c, so don’t be tempted to warm it up too much.
This recipe is from Chelsea Winter's website, with a couple of ingredient changes. Access the original recipe here.