Hot Cross Buns

Who here knows what hot cross buns are, because I had no idea up until a couple years ago. If you were like me and didn’t know and you’re wondering why they’re always popping up around this time of year in the markets and online, I’ll let you in on the little secret. JK! No secret here, but these buns represent the end of Lent for those who chose to participate in it. You aren’t supposed to eat meat or eat anything cook with meat or made from animals, which in this case includes dairy. Soooo these buns contain milk and signifies the end of the 40 days of reflection and the beginning of Easter. And of course you can’t miss those big crosses atop the buns, they resemble the cross Jesus died on. I thought that these buns would be fun to make for those who are believers and nonbelievers. I personally am still figuring out my beliefs, but love to learn about other religions. These buns are a little more nontraditional as the traditional ones use mostly raisins and less spice. Mine are full of spice and is flavorful to say the least. They are the fluffiest buns I’ve made to date & the soft soft center is just THE BEST.

I’d have to thank Bob’s Red Mill for the amazing bread flour because without it, I know they wouldn’t have been as soft and fluffy. You guys already know I’ve been working with Bob’s and I can’t express how much I love their products. Just try it for yourself and you’ll know. It feels great to be able to feed my family and friends NON GMO and minimally processed grains. These would be a lovely treat for your family and friends this Good Friday & Easter. Wishing you all a day filled with happiness and laughter! XOXO Steph

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HOT CROSS BUNS RECIPE 

INGREDIENTS

for the buns

  • 1 package of instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk (heated to 100°F on a candy thermometer, warm)
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2. tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 egg (room temp)
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter (melted)
  • 4 1/4 cup bread flour + more for dusting (I suggest Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 1/2 cups of your choice of dried berries (I used a blend of golden raisins, cherries, cranberries & blueberries)

for the crosses

  • 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 1/3 cup water

for the glaze

  • 1 tbsp. apricot jam (or peach)
  • 2 tbsp. water

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DIRECTIONS

for the buns

  • In a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, warm milk & 2 tbsp. (out of the 1/2 cup) of sugar. Let it sit for 5 mins until frothy. If your mixture is not bubbly and frothy, it means your yeast is not good and you’ll need to start over.
  •  Once frothy, add the rest of the sugar and all other ingredients besides the flour and dried fruits. Whisk to combine.
  • Switch your whisk to a dough hook & add all the flour into the mixture. Knead on low for 10 mins.
  • Lightly dust your work surface with flour & transfer the dough onto it.
  • Roll the dough out slightly & pour all the dried fruits on top. Fold the dough like an envelope as to encase the fruit & knead the fruit evenly into the dough. It may be hard to get it completely even, but work those arms!
  • Once you feel like the fruit is evenly dispersed, oil or butter a large bowl & place the dough inside, covering it with a wet towel for the first rise.
  • Put the bowl in a warm and draft free area to rise for 1 1/2 hours or till doubled in size. I like to turn my oven on to the lowest temperature and once it’s reach the right temperature, I turn it off and place my dough inside with the door shut.
  • Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper & set aside.
  • After the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough down, lightly flour your work surface again & transfer it over.
  • Create a log shape with the dough & cut it into 12 equal pieces.
  • Flatten each piece and pull the sides inwards to create a smooth bottom/bun, then pinch the seams together to close it up.
  • Place the buns with the seam side facing down with a little space between them.
  • Cover the buns with a wet towel and let it rise in a warm and draft free place for 30-40 mins till they are just touching.
  • Meanwhile make the cross mixture & the glaze.
  • Once the second proofing is done, take the buns out and preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Slowly & gently pipe crosses on the buns making sure the hug the sides.
  • Bake for ~30 mins or until the tops are golden brown.
  • Once you take the buns out of the oven, brush them with the glaze a couple times with a pastry brush, then let them cool till you can handle it before serving.

for the crosses

  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour and water till no lumps are left and you have a sticky mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 3mm piping tip, then set aside. If you don’t have a piping tip or bag, use a ziplock bag & cut a small hole at the corner when you’re ready to use it.

for the glaze

  • In a small microwave safe bowl, heat the jam and water for ~30 seconds & stir to mix, then set aside.

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