Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns..Hot cross buns , one a penny two a penny hot cross buns !! We all grew up with this nursery rhyme. Although, we at home never baked them and hardly had them in India, the great British legacy left the idea of fancy hot cross buns in our heads for years. It’s weird how only a nursery rhyme makes you nostalgic of food which you never had when you are actually reciting it to every visitor your dad had, at every family gathering and of course in the school. I think that comes naturally to parents to showcase their child’s ‘talents’. Every time I do it now, I don’t even realise that half way through pestering the poor kid to sing and dance and then I feel stupid about it, and immediately retract to try to change the subject:)

Any way back to baking business, this is the first bake in my new kitchen and newish oven and so I am very pleased with the results. Especially when the bake looks like what it is intended to be and the family approves it, there’s nothing like it. I managed to make my batch of hot cross buns just in time. Easter Sunday breakfast feels complete with a heap of gorgeous buns, generous helping of butter and a tall mug of Black coffee – shouldn’t that be a definition of holidays?? I have researched on so many recipes for hot cross buns. You see with  some bakes , I don’t mind experimenting with flavours but I also don’t want to take it too far that it looses its respect as a traditional bake. You want to keep the speciality/traditional status of the bake in tact and that is a very hard balance to maintain. I hope you do give it a try, and like it .

HOt cross Buns

HOt cross Buns

Source : This recipe is a mix of Paul Hollywood, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson 🙂

Ingredients :

Strong White Bread flour – 500 grams Plus extra for dusting(I used waitrose organic )
Sugar – 50 grams
Salt – 1 Tsp
Easy bake Yeast – 7 grams
Milk 250-300 ml
Egg – 1
Glacier Cherries – 40 grams
crystallised Ginger – 20 grams
Dried raisins – 30 grams
Powdered Cloves – 1 1/4 Tsp
Nutmeg powder – 1 1/4 Tsp
Sunflower Oil – 3 TbSP

For the cross:

White Flour 4 TBSP
Orange Zest 1 Tsp
Sugar 1/2 Tsp
Butter 1 Tsp

For the Glaze :

Golden Syrup 2 TbSp
Orange 2 Tsp

Hot Cross Buns REady for the Oven

Method :

Warm the milk and keep aside .

Mix Flour, salt, sugar and yeast and make a well in the middle. Add the milk and egg. Mix well .
Bring the dough on to a floury surface and knead the dough really well. Initially the dough will be very sticky but as you work it through it should become more and more easy to handle. Use both hands all your strength and make a good smooth bouncy dough. Leave it to prove for an hour.

Once the dough has raised and doubled up in size, add the dried fruits, spices clove and nutmeg powder and mix well until all the fruit and spices are evenly distributed.
Leave this dough to prove again for an hour or till it is risen double its size.

In an hour, take the dough out , without knocking too much air, make small balls maybe size of a squash ball (sorry for the randomness of bringing up squash, but what I want to say here is the ball needs to bigger than a ping pong ball and smaller than a tennis ball and I actually looked it up to see which ball is in the between and it was squash ball 🙂 ) Lay the balls on prepared baking trays.

In a small bowl, add 4 TBSP of flour, little sugar, orange zest, about 1 tsp Butter and make a dough with water. Roll the dough flat, and using a knife cut long strips.Take the buns out from proving and indent cross on the buns using a knife. Place the stripes you made out the dough on the buns making the cross.

Pre heat the oven to 120 degrees and place the buns in the oven for 15 – 20 mins. Remove and serve with some butter!!

Hot Cross Buns

Glazing the buns :

Make the glaze ready for the buns. Take a small sauce pan , add 3 TBSP golden syrup, Some Orange Zest and heat it until it is all melted. Using a brush. glaze the buns generously and have them with your favourite cuppa!!

Hot cross buns
Variations & Tips:

  • Traditionally Hot cross buns have nutmeg and cinnamon. But I chose cloves as the main spice since I like the sharpness in it. I loved it with cloves and honestly I feel cloves are so underrated.
  • I got a new microwave which has a dough proofing option. I proved the dough in the microwave for the first time rather reluctantly but I am very pleased with the results. It does take an hours time but I guess we can be sure it will rise in that time unlike the natural proving which depend on the temperature. If you want to really save the time, prove the dough overnight and skip the second prove. Should work just fine. I skipped second proof so many times in bakes.
  • Oil your bowl and the cling film when you prove the dough to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.
  • I don’t like my buns overloaded with fruit so I used them cautiously, but if you like them go for it and add a few more of those dried fruits.
  • I chose , glacier cherries , crystallised Ginger and Raisins. These can be substituted with any dried fruits you like. A few of them you might like are mixed peel, cranberries, dried cherries, Apricots
  • To keep the fruit in your bun plump and juicy , soak them in water or any juice for couple of hours.
  • I did use egg wash half way through the bake for more defined colour. So after 10-12 minutes, quickly apply the egg wash on your buns and return to bake for the next 5 minutes. Applying egg wash at the beginning browns the buns quickly and makes it hard to judge if the bake is done.
  • For the cross, you can also make a more runny mixture, and pipe the cross on the buns instead of rolling the dough and laying out the crosses on the buns.
  • Again, experiment with glaze. Jam glaze is another option to make those buns sticky and give them a shiny look. if you do not have Jam or golden syrup, Just make the glaze with sugar and water. Works just fine.

Enjoy your cuppa with Hot Cross Buns



Pull Apart Garlic Butter Bread Stuffed With Chedder Cheese

Another amazing baking challenge by Manujla Kanted from Desi Fiesta  via Homebakers Challenge . And I am posting this after months past the challenge deadline. Well I tend to get on the baking bit quiet in time but writing it up and posting take a million years for me because I hardly get those intimate few hours in front of the computer in my typical day when I can concentrate on writing. I am not complaining because, this is because I am slacking but because I am occupied and often that means spending time with my family and spending time with my son. I relish those two precious hours we get to spend together everyday between 6pm to 8PM till it is his bed time. Stories from school, reading books, dinner time and board games makes me content. I wish I could spend more time in the day like that but at the same time I also think, running the rat race all day is what makes these two hours so special. So, again no complaints. Now, coming to the bakers’ challenge, here my take on it…

Bread is something you start relishing even before you start making it. I enjoyed the whole process of baking this particular bread. Kneading the dough with warm melted garlic butter is magic. The aroma lifts you into a fairy tale….until  your hands start cursing you for starting it (if you are not using a fancy kitchen aid appliance) . But, The magic resumes and the fairy tale is back once the bread is in oven and your whole neighbourhood is filled with the aroma. You are sitting there with a  cup of tea eagerly waiting for the bread to rise, turn golden brown and become the spectacular centre piece on your dining table.

I was overwhelmed by all the pictures posted online of stuffed breads or pull breads. They looked very complicated and something which requires craft. But, I soon realised the water roux method to bake the bread is quiet simple. The cheese fan as I am, I had to incorporate some cheese and garlic in the bread which is just AWESOME.

bread 3

You will need these ingredients:

Water roux:

1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water

Main Dough:

2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 Tsp. sugar
1/2  Tsp. Salt
1 1/2 Tsp. Dried Thyme
100 ml of water plus 2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 Tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 Tsp. yeast
3 Tbsp. butter melted
1-2 Garlic cloves

For stuffing :

Lots of cheddar cheese chilled and cut in cubes

Method :

Prepare the rough mixture by combining the rough ingredients in a small pan and stir it on medium flame untill  the mixture is bubbling. immediately remove from heat and leave it to cool.
Crush the garlic cloves into the butter, add thyme and leave it aside to mix it to the dough later.
Pre heat the oven to 350F and grease your pan.

In a big bowl add all the ingredients and start mixing them including the garlic butter. knead well untill the dough is soft and easy to handle. Let the dough rest for at least 20 minutes. Knead the dough again and divide the dough into balls.  flatten the dough balls, place a nice big chuck of cheddar cheese in the centre and seal the ball. Repeat for all the balls. Place the balls in a pan of your choice, either a loaf tim or a cake pan and bake for 20 minutes. let the bread slightly cool and it should come of the pan straight away. Share the pull apart bread with the family and enjoy!

bread 1

With the same dough I also made a sandwich kind of load with mozzarella cheese. Just Roll the dough into a thick rectangle and cut it into slices. Drain the mozzarella pieces well, otherwise  your loaf will be soggy. Seal the sides and place it in a loaf tin and bake for 15 minutes or untill its golden brown. Trust me it was very delicious and was a hit on the table.

mozzerella loaf

Home bakers challenge