Sunday, 17 April 2011

Hot no-cross buns

I'm not trying to make some sort of political statement with the title of this post... I love hot cross buns, but I always pick the cross off because it's just chewy flour glue - yuck.

My favourite hot cross buns have lots of fruit (especially peel). Those chocolate ones are revolting! So, following a tried-and-true recipe from The Blue Cookbook, this weekend's treat is hot 'cross' buns.
Click to embiggen

The recipe was perfect - no changes needed. So I'm just going to show you a few notes I made while cooking. They may seem obvious to more experienced cooks, but not everyone is an experienced cook...
No fancy ingredients here.
The recipe (mostly) just uses things you might have in your pantry anyway. For reasons I'll explain later, I DO NOT recommend Tasti Fruit Mix though!
Yeasty milk.
I microwaved my milk for 40 seconds on high (low-powered microwave) to get the right temperature. The best temperature could be described as one that makes you go 'ew' when you stick your finger in. Essentially, it needs to be at body temperature, so it should feel neither cool nor particularly warm.
This is the kind of weather that inspires me to cook!
I really hate rubbing butter into flour. It's annoying, and gross if you have long fingernails. You can also use good quality margarine, which makes the rubbing easier but is less tasty.
Mix mix mix
You definitely don't need any fancy equipment to mix it all together. Wooden spoons are fine. I think this is something I like about older recipes - they don't assume that you have food processors/breadmakers/ice-cream machines/other and expensive kitchenware.
Knead it.
You really can't knead it too much. When it stops sticking to the bench and becomes shiny and elastic, it's more or less done. Incidentally, this photo illustrates why I don't recommend the Tasti mixed fruit. It's got freakin' fake cherries in it!! I didn't notice until I'd started mixing it in. Preferably, it would have just had sultanas and peel.
I don't have a handy warm, dry place in my house. Before I sprinkle the yeast in the milk, I turn the oven on it's lowest setting for 5 minutes. Then I turn it off and leave it while I'm mixing and kneading. The oven remains just warm enough to let the bread rise.
Not the right trays.
I have limited cooking equipment (and storage space). Cake tins worked just fine for this recipe. Just make sure that everything gets rotated through the shelves when cooking in a non-fan-forced oven.
After the 'second rising'.
Is this the association with Jesus? The rising? While I was making these, I couldn't work out what (if any) relevance these have to Easter, aside from having a cross on top. I'm not trying to be sacrilegious, I just really don't know!
Glazed, cross-less.
I made my glaze in the Pyrex jug. I just measured in the sugar and spice, put in some boiling water, and stirred. It's not exactly what they say in the recipe, but it worked for me. I brushed it on with a silicon pastry brush.

That's all there is to it! They are pretty simple, providing you've got the time to let the bread rise. They were very tasty, and much softer than the store bought variety.

As with all home-made bread, they go stale a lot quicker though (no chemical preservatives). So I recommend giving them a quick microwave or toast in the oven if you are eating them after the day they are made. You can freeze them too.

Happy eating!


  1. What a coinkidink - I've been playing with yeast today too! I've never understood the chewy flour glue part either. And I agree that the chocolate ones are vile. Those spices should NOT be paired with chocolate...

    Course, I don't like dried fruit, so if I *do* have them, I have the fruitless ones. (Also, I rather think you should have titled the post "Hot buns" just to see what Google searches led to it! ;)

  2. The chocolate buns just seem pointless. If you want chocolate, have chocolate. If you want spicy bread, just have some. I happen to like both steak *and* icecream, but that doesn't mean I want steaky icecream :-)

    I never thought about 'hot buns'... I think it would lead to great disappointment for people who ended up here!

  3. Mmmm, steaky ice cream... *gags*

    And yes, I imagine the people searching for hot buns would be as disappointed as all the people who end up on my blog because they've searched for "Pippa Middleton" and end up on that post about my weird dream from a couple of weeks ago! ;)

  4. Grant said he wants me to make him Hot Cross Buns for Easter, instead of getting chocolate. I might use this recipe. I'll make some for Grandma, and his grandma too :)

  5. Good idea, Meegs! The recipe makes 16, just like they said - sounds like you're going to be busy this week :-)

  6. I made them last year from AWW Bake and was somewhat less than impressed - they were stodgy and yeasty, even though I followed the recipe to the letter, and the glaze was sticky and feral and involved gelatine. My best guess is that the flavour/texture issue arises (hah!) from the dough not proving for long enough.

    But I should give them (or another recipe) another go - it's not really fair of me to glaze all buns with the same pastry brush! (hardy-har-harrrr... yeah, sorry).


  7. Ness, are you feeling a little punny today? ;-)


Other posts you might like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...