One of the best parts of Easter is Hot cross buns - and you can't beat a Hot cross bun fresh out of the oven! Then when they are filled with chocolate chips too!
This recipe makes about 16 Hot Cross Buns
500g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
7g dry yeast
1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon corriander powder
1 teaspoon clove powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
Zest of 1 orange
100g chocolate chips
100g mixed dried fruits
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
Place the milk, butter and Orange zest on the heat in a small pot until the butter has melted, then let it cool to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and spices and make a little well in the middle.
Mix the egg into the milk mixture and then add the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and slowly incorporate it all together to form a dough.
Start kneading the dough on a floured surface until the dough becomes smooth and is no longer sticky (should take about 15min)
Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and leave it in a warm spot covered with a tea towel until doubled in size (about 1 hour)
Add the chocolate chips and dried fruit then knead the dough a couple more times until combined
Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and roll into balls, place them onto a lined baking tray quite close together, then cover with a teatowel and allow to rise again for another hour.
While that's rising, mix the 4 tablespoons of flour and water together into a smooth paste, and place into a piping bag - this is going to be used to make the crosses
Preheat the oven to 220*C
Once the buns have risen again, you can pipe the crosses on and bake them for 15-20min until golden brown
Meanwhile, bring the last 2 ingredients to the boil, then set aside.
Once the buns come out of the oven, use a pastry brush to brush the sugar mixture over the hot buns to give them a nice glossy shine.
Allow to cool slightly before enjoying with butter.
As a chef, an important part of knowing how to make the best food is knowing why we are doing the things we do. If you are interested in knowing the reason behind anything in this recipe I have gone into a little bit of detail below.
- Flour - is needed for all great bread with its unique gluten properties
- Salt, Spices and orange zest - Are for the unmistakable hot cross bun flavour
- Caster sugar - helps sweeten the buns but it is also needed to 'feed' the yeast and help the bread rise
- Yeast - this is what gives any bread its soft fluffy texture
- Milk and butter - a little bit of liquid to bind everything together and some fat to give a silky texture to the bread
- Egg - aids the yeast in helping the bread rise during cooking
- Chocolate chips and dried fruit - If you prefer you can go all in on chocolate or dried fruit. Use whatever most excited you and your taste buds
- Flour and water - Just to make the crosses and follow tradition. Skipping this step won't change the flavour or texture of the buns
- Sugar and water - makes a yummy sticky and shiny glaze to finish the buns with
- Warming the liquids - melts the butter so it can be mixed evenly and also speeds up the rising process because the dough will already be warm
- Notice I didn't Mention sifting - Honestly, I can't remember the last time I sifted dry ingredients at home. It makes such a tidy difference by adding some air in between the grains of flour and I just don't think it's worth the time for something we are going to mix so much afterward anyway
- Make a well, slowly combine - this just helps you from spilling it everywhere and will help prevent lumps of flour
- Knead on a floured surface - to stop the dough from sticking to your bench. It does take a while and you could use an electric mixer with a dough hook if you have one
- Allow to rise - gives the dough its first batch of aeration making the base of our light fluffly bun. Keeping it covered stops it from forming a skin and the warm spot speeds up this process
- Kneading again - mixes in the chocolate and fruit, but also knocks out the big bubbles in the dough helping to make the aeration more even throughout the dough
- Rising again - gives the shape and the second round of aeration for a light bun
- 220*C/15-20 min - These are not large loaves and don't need long to cook, so a higher temperature allows us to get a golden crusty top and a soft middle
I hope you enjoy making these yourself and I would love to hear how you went and what you thought!