Recipe: Hot Cross Buns

Recipe: Hot Cross Buns

Hopefully, by now you’ve listened to Episode 1 or at least read our recap of it, and you’re ready to try making Hot Cross Buns for yourself. There are a ton of recipes out there–including ones that contain mashed potatoes! Or powdered milk! Most of these were a product of their times–when certain ingredients might be sparse or hard to come by. For this one, we adapted a few modern recipes for our favorite.

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

  • 1 package of active dry yeast (or .25 oz)
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 Granulated Sugar
  • 3 cup all purpose flour
  • A bunch of spices (I used cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and maple sugar–but you do you)
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 2 large eggs (at room temp)
  • 3/4 cup dried frut of your choice

The Process

Step 1: Proof the Yeast. Stir together 1/4 of the warm milk, 1 tsp of sugar, and the package of yeast. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and watch for it to froth.

Proofing the yeast makes sure it is alive. Yeast needs to be alive to do its thing. This is a nice little test to ensure it will actually make whatever you’re baking rise.

Step 2:Mix it up. If you’re using an electric mixer, combine all of the dry stuff together in whatever bowl accommodates your dough hook. If you’re mixing by hand, then just grab a bowl and mix up the flour, spices, and rest of the sugar.

Step 3: Make a well. Essentially you’re digging a hole in the middle of the ingredients you just mixed. Once that well is formed, add in that frothy yeast stuff we made in step 1, along with butter, eggs, and the rest of the milk. This is gonna get sticky. If you’re using a mixer, turn it on. If mixing by hands, give your biceps and triceps a good stretch.

Step 4: Add the fruit. We used currants, and some lemon zest, but you can use pretty much any kind of dried fruit you want. Make sure it’s dehydrated in some form in order to keep the water content down. Fold it into the dough and mix well.

Step 5: Be patient. This is a yeast-based sweet bread recipe. Which means you’re going to do a lot of waiting. 2 hours for the first rise. It should roughly double in size.

Step 6: Make the buns. First you’re going to pull the dough out of the mixing bowl, and then work it a little bit more to compress the air. Pull out slightly-larger-than-golf-ball sized bits and let them form into mounds on a greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper). Keep them about 2 inches apart.

Step 7: Wait again. That’s right, there’s a second rise in this recipe. Another 30-40 minutes should do.

Step 9: Give them a wash: Have you ever used an egg wash? You should. It makes a really nice shiny finish on baked goods. Mix 1 egg with 1 tbs of Milk, then brush it lightly on top of the mounds of dough. Trust me, it’ll be good.

This is also the point where you’re going to want to decide to either score them to form the cross, or wait until after baking to hit them with some icing. I always do icing, but if you want them to be less sweet, then score them with a knife after the wash.

baked hot cross buns

Step 10: Bake ’em. At 400˚F for 10-12 minutes in the middle rack. You’re going to keep them in until slightly browned on top.

Step 11: Ice ’em. Make some icing with powdered sugar and milk. I never actually measure this part–but you want the icing to be relatively thick, and ensure that the buns are completely cooled before icing, otherwise you’ll get runny icing. Use a pastry bag, or a snipped sandwich bag to draw the cross–or horns–whatever you’re preference.

Step 11: Ice ’em. Make some icing with powdered sugar and milk. I never actually measure this part–but you want the icing to be relatively thick, and ensure that the buns are completely cooled before icing, otherwise you’ll get runny icing. Use a pastry bag, or a snipped sandwich bag to draw the cross–or horns–whatever you’re preference.

Step 12: EAT

hot cross buns with icing

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