I'm going to be doing a baking theme for April, so this is the first one. The days are warm but cool quickly, daylight saving has come to a close, and the harvest of summer fruits means really good quality ingredients are readily available. I hope you enjoy this months posts and get creative in the kitchen!
Easter is just around the corner! I don't eat a lot of chocolate but I can't say no to a really good hot cross bun. And I mean the real buns, not those stupid chocolate chip cookies posing as a bun. And not the ones that have a cross but are just sweet buns. I mean the ones with spices and fruit, that fill an autumn kitchen with deliciousness and just cry out for some butter (or butter substitute) to ooze through them while warm from the oven. The cup of tea to go with it is absolutely compulsory - the teapot is optional.
3 cups bakers flour
250ml warm water
250ml warm milk ( I use soy)
2 Tablespoons dry yeast
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spice
1 cup currants
½ cup mixed peel
Put water, milk yeast, sugar oil and salt into a large bowl,and whisk. Leave aside in a warm place for about 5-10 minutes to let the yeast activate (you should see it bubbly at the top).
Put into an other bowl the flour, spice, and peel, and combine thoroughly. Make a well in the centre and add ¾ of your liquid mixture, slowly drawing in from around the sides. Keep going with the liquid, if it feels too dry add more water, if it is too sticky add more flour. It should be a nice soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes, it should become smooth and elastic. Place into a greased bowl, cover, and set aside. Leave in a warm place for about an hour and a half. ( If it’s really cold and I don’t have the fire on, I turn the oven on for 15 minutes to about 150C, turn off, leave the door open half way, and stick the bowl inside).
Line a large baking tray with greaseproof. Punch dough down, knead for a minute r two, then divide into equal portions ( I get about 10- 12 but it depends how big you make them). Let them rise again, about 30-45minutes.
If you want to do the crosses…
½ cup flour
5 tablespoons of water
Mix to a smooth paste, and put into a piping bag. Pipe crosses onto tops of buns, and put into 180C preheated oven for approx 30 minutes.
Glaze with a sugar glaze while still warm…
1/3 cup water
3 T caster sugar
Dissolve sugar in hot water, and brush tops of buns while still warm.
I find the flour and liquid ratios are approximate. Some days I need more flour, others I need more liquid. Just combine slowly and judge by feel.