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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Homemade Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns glazed

    Hot cross buns
    Hot cross buns
    One a penny, two a penny
    Hot cross buns

    If you have no daughters
    Give them to your sons
    One a penny, two a penny
    Hot cross buns!
We were singing this nursery rhyme all day yesterday as we fed our yeast, watched it grow, kneaded with patience and then formed our dough... into a modest battalion of sticky-glazed soft and fluffy hot cross buns!

This was the first time we'd made hot cross buns. The smell of yeast was a little overpowering at times... it reminded me of trips to the brewery with the heady smell of mash.

In our post-cooking debrief we decided that next time we should cook the buns at a lower temp as ours turned out a little crusty on the top and bottom. And it's essential that the buns are all lined up in a perfect grid, otherwise when you pipe the crosses you may have to swerve a bit to make sure you're crossing down the middle of each bun! But overall we were pleased with our efforts and the sensation of eating homemade hot cross buns fresh from the oven was utter domestic bliss.

Much applause to my cooking buddy-in-crime, Veruca Salt!

Hot Cross Buns
from Australian Good Taste magazine

Makes 16

Melted butter, to grease
250ml (1 cup) warm milk
55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
2 tsp (14g/2 sachets) dried yeast
60g melted butter, extra
1 egg, lightly whisked
600g (4 cups) plain flour
1 tbs bread improver
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spice
170g (1 cup) sultanas
80g (1/2 cup) currants
95g (1/2 cup) mixed peel
Plain flour, extra, to dust
Butter, to serve

cross paste
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
80m (1/3 cup) cold water

2 tbs caster sugar
2 tbs cold water
1 tsp powdered gelatin

Brush a square 23cm cake pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Combine the milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Place in a warm draught-free place for 10 minutes or until foamy.

Combine the yeast mixture, melted butter and egg in a jug. Sift the combined flour, bread improver, salt and mixed spice in large bowl. Add the sultanas, currants, and mixed peel. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir until combined, then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding more flour to the dough if required. Brush a large bowl with a little melted butter to grease. Please dough in bowl and turn to coat in butter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and place in a warm draught-free area to prove for 1-1 1/2 hours or until dough doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 200C. Punch down the centre of the dough with your fist. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic and has returned to its original size. Divide dough into 16 equal portions and shape each portion into a ball. Place dough portions side by side in a prepared pan. Stand in a warm draught-free place for 20-30 minutes or until dough has rise 1-2cm.

Meanwhile, to make the crosses, combine the flour and water in a small bowl to create a smooth paste. Place in a small plastic bag and snip a corner to make a 5mm opening. Pipe the flour paste in a continuous line down the centre of each row of buns. Repeat in the opposite direction to make crosses. Bake buns in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until buns and golden and cooked through. When they're ready, the buns will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Hot cross buns with crosses

Meanwhile, to make the glaze, combine sugar, water and gelatine in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly. Remove buns from oven and turn onto a wire rack.

Hot cross buns baked

Brush tops with glaze. Serve hot with butter.

Sticky hot cross buns

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Hot cross buns (2009)
17 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 4/09/2006 11:52:00 am


  • At 4/09/2006 3:24 pm, Blogger Mary said…

    Oooh, yum! Very tempting. I'll have to give them a go :-)

  • At 4/09/2006 3:47 pm, Blogger M-H said…

    Yum-mo! I'll be right over! :) I used to make my own, when my kids are litle, but I always seem to be too rushed these days. These are much better. Maybe next year...

  • At 4/09/2006 8:03 pm, Blogger Rachel said…

    The buns look beautiful ! I always wondered what went into the glazing. Thanks for the recipe and the info!

  • At 4/10/2006 7:18 am, Blogger Reb said…

    Oh Helen these look WAY better than Woolworths ;) and I bet they taste better too. But can you or Veruka tell me what the hell is 'bread improver'? I've been told one should use bread flour rather than plain for HCB's, so do tell! I'm going to have a go at the Nigella Lawson recipe (from Feast) this weekend which has cardamom in it too. But this provides even more inspiration to do it.

  • At 4/10/2006 8:21 am, Blogger Kelly said…

    Nice one! I really admire anyone with the patience to make their own hot cross buns! Happy Easter :)

  • At 4/10/2006 10:27 am, Blogger Ange said…

    These look great & I bet they were a ahell of a lot better than any you could buy!

  • At 4/10/2006 3:13 pm, Blogger FooDcrazEE said…

    sure looks great...fresh from the oven pic...

  • At 4/10/2006 8:44 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Mary - Please do. There's nothing quite so satisfying as eating your own hot cross buns!

    Hi m-h - Baking with yeast does take time. I was quite exhausted by the end of it!

    Hi Rachel - Thanks, and you're welcome. I didn't realise the glaze had gelatin in it either.

    Hi Reb - Oh but it's amazing what some Vaseline on the lens can do =) Veruca obtained the bread improver from Woollies, I believe.

    From the Panasonic Australia FAQ site:

    "Bread improver is available from some supermarkets or your local health food shop. It has a flour-like texture and contains ingredients such as soy flour, gluten and sucrose which work with the flour and the yeast to give added protein to bread. Bread improver helps support the gluten structure of the bread, so that the bread does not collapse when baking."

    We just used plain flour. It seemed to work ok.

    Hi Kelly - So do I! lol. Seriously if Veruca didn't possess such culinary enthusiasm, I would've just bought my own.

    Hi Ange - Thanks. They were pretty tasty. We just have to practice a little more to get them perfect.

    Hi foodcrazee - There's nothing like home baking to get the tastebuds tingling!

  • At 4/10/2006 10:46 pm, Blogger cin said…

    hey, I've just started on my hot cross buns before sitting down to browse through the blogs! I'm trying Nigella's recipe so it will be proving overnight. Let you know how I go!

  • At 4/11/2006 7:18 am, Blogger Reb said…

    ok! thanks or that I'll try and get some.

  • At 4/11/2006 6:08 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Cin - Everyone's goin' bun-crazy! Will be interested to see how your turn out. Veruca and I are thinking of doing another batch and proving it overnight Nigella-style.

    Hi Reb - Good luck. Hope you find it. Perhaps Broadway Coles will have it?

  • At 4/12/2006 10:19 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    I could only find one brand that makes the bread improver - Lowan. It was in the same section as the flour.

  • At 4/13/2006 12:58 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Veruca - Darn I was trying to remember who made it, but you know me: memory like a sieve! =)

  • At 4/13/2006 8:49 pm, Blogger DiveMummy said…

    One of my favourite memories of working in a bakery/cake shop was the delicious smell of baking hot cross buns - now if only someone could bottle that smell. It's nearly torturous to look at those photos shiny glaze and imagine biting into a fresh bun with melted butter....Mmm.....

  • At 4/13/2006 10:59 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi DiveMummy - It's like the smell of melting chocolate... makes anyone go weak at the knees.

    The buns were fantastic fresh out of the oven. Peeling at the inner fluffiness with utter contentment!

  • At 4/14/2006 7:05 am, Blogger Karen said…

    Wonderful! Wonderful! Late did I decide to bake some but couldn't find a tried and tested recipe. Now I've found yours. Will be linking.

    Too late for Good Friday, I wonder if I'll have enough time for Easter Sunday.

  • At 4/15/2006 10:34 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Karen - Glad to be of assistance. It seems like there's been a lot of hot cross bun baking from foodbloggers!


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