My freshly baked Hot Cross Buns, with chocolate instead of fruit.
After reading the Epicure article this week which compares some of the buns you can buy in Melbourne, I've been inspired to bake some myself (homemade ones taste sooo good! Often better than bought ones, I say, although Babka's are pretty fine).
And the best recipe I've found so far? The one that came with our bread-making machine, believe it or not. I'm sure you can use the recipe without a bread machine - just compare a non-machine hot cross bun recipe (such as Delia's, which I've blogged about before) and adapt as necessary. Of course, you only use the machine to mix the dough and do the initial rising - else you'd end up with a hot cross loaf, which might be a bit odd.
Hot Cross Buns. (Recipe courtesy of Breville)
2 Tbsp oil
2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp brown sugar
600g bread flour
3 Tbsp milk powder
1 Tbsp ground mixed spice
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 & 1/4 tsp dried yeast
Add later on.
40g peel/chopped apricots/whatever else you want
230g chopped bittersweet chocolate (if you're feeling that way inclined)
110g plain flour
approx 3 Tbsp water
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp hot water
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp boiling water
If you're using a bread machine.
1. Put all ingredients in the first section (ie: up to yeast) into the pan, in the exact order. Set the machine to "dough" and when the machine beeps (well, that's what mine does!) add the fruit/chocolate - the beeping happens near the end of the cycle, before a final mix and rising session.
2. Once the dough cycle is finished, divide into about 18 pieces and shape into rounds. Place close together on greased baking trays.
3. Cover loosely with a clean tea towel and leave to stand in a warm area for 20 minutes or until doubled in size (I sometimes put mine in the oven on a really low setting, 20-40 degrees Celsius).
4. To make the crosses - mix together the ingredients for the cross mix (above). Roll out thinly and divide into strips. Once the buns have risen (end of step 3) use water to affix the strips to the buns in the shape of a cross.
5. Bake in a preheated oven 190 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Slide buns onto a wire rack to cool. If you want to make them look glossy and taste even sweeter, brush the hot buns with a glaze (two are listed above). To make the glazes, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and add the hot water to combine. Brush over the buns when they are still hot.
7. Stand for 15 minutes to cool before serving.
8. Eat your delicious buns!
If you're not using a bread machine.
Perhaps use Delia's recipe - it might be easier! Or if you're feeling adventurous, use the recipe above (or adapt your own version) and follow Delia re: order to add ingredients, when to rise etc, and hope for the best. Hers is pretty good, but you don't have to be as pedantic as she is (it gets a bit annoying and life's too short).