So when I made these hot cross buns over the weekend, I thought it would be a good excuse to break the ‘haven’t blogged much about bread’ habit. When taking the photos of these, I realised that I haven’t taken proper photos of my food in a very long time…. I blame Instagram! So much easier to just take a photo of the meal on the stove. No need for any fancy stuff. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t even style her photos very much – I truly have great respect and admiration for all the bloggers out there who take so much time and effort to style their food/photos.
But I digress. As usual.
I tweaked my recipe for Asian buns to make these sausage buns, primarily I am a firm believer in the ‘sponge + dough’ method when it comes to baking bread. It truly produces bread that stays soft for days, without the need for things like bread improvers. There is also the ‘tangzhong’ method of making bread, which involves cooking flour + water for the ‘starter’ (equivalent to the ‘sponge’), and also produces lasting, soft bread.
R isn’t a huge fan of raisins & sultanas, so I decided to make these with dried cranberries and dried apples. But truth be told, you can use any dried fruit you want – I think it is important that you enjoy what you eat, no point a hot cross bun being ‘authentic’ if you don’t like something in it. I felt like I didn’t add enough fruit into the buns, so will have to up the amount next time. (I’ve done this in the recipe below.)
I also decided to make them in two forms: 1) ‘pull apart’ form, baked in a 8″ cake tin 2) individual buns. Although the individual buns turned out prettier, I think I prefer the ‘pull apart’ ones as they look more homemade.
Speaking of homemade, my attempt at piping the crosses is so laughable. :/ I was too lazy to get a piping bag (Can make bread but noooo am too lazy to use piping bag. Sigh.) so used a ziplock bag… which unfortunately had a gusset, which meant I ended up with a massive gaping hole when I snipped off the edge of the bag, leading thicker crosses than I originally planned. Note to self: laziness never pays.
Hot cross buns
Makes approx 13-14 buns (I had 9 ‘pull apart’ buns, and 4 individual buns)
For the sponge dough:
- 300g bread flour
- 7g instant yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 180-200g water (I use cold water from the tap)
- 3g salt
For the main dough:
- 125g bread flour
- 30g soy bran (optional – replace with wheatgerm/bread flour)
- 20g milk powder
- 7g instant yeast
- 30g sugar
- 6g salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 60g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup dried apples*
- 1.5 cups dried cranberries*
For piping paste:
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 1/4 cup water
- Apricot jam
- 2 tbsp boiling water
Making the sponge dough:
1. Mix the bread flour, instant yeast and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, and mix with the dough hook attachment. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do this with a spatula.
2. Pour in the water slowly whilst mixing the ingredients together – the aim is to get a dough that is firm and dry to the touch. It should form a nice round ball. (You’ll find that you need more water when it’s cold, less when it’s humid.)
3. Add the salt, then continue to mix with the dough hook attachment for approximately 10 minutes.
4. Leave the sponge dough in a well oiled bowl in the refrigerator for 12 hours. (I usually make the sponge the night before, and leave it in the fridge overnight.)
Mixing the sponge dough with the main dough component:
5. When the sponge dough is ready, place it into the bowl of your stand mixer.
6. Add in the bread flour, soy bran, milk powder, instant yeast, sugar, and eggs. Mix on low speed (using the dough hook) for 2-3 minutes.
7. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium, add in the salt, allspice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg & ground ginger, and continue mixing for 5 minutes.
8. Add the softened butter, dried cranberries & dried apples and continue to mix for 7-10 minutes until the dough is fully developed. (You should be able to get a nice thin “windowpane” membrane when stretching the dough between your fingers.)
9. Form the dough into a ball and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes.
10. Divide the dough into portions of approximately 80g each, form into little rounds, and place on lightly oiled baking tray. (You can either make them as individual buns, or place them close together in a square/round cake tin to form ‘pull apart’ hot cross buns.)
11. Leave to rise for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
12. Once the buns have risen, prepare the piping paste by mixing the flour and water together, till the form a thick smooth paste. Add more flour/water if you feel the paste is too runny/thick (I find that it’s rather variable!) Place mix into a piping bag, and pipe crosses on the buns.
13. Bake in 190’C oven for 10-12 minutes, until the buns turn golden brown.
14. Whilst the buns are still warm, glaze with the apricot jam + boiling water mix.
* Replace with fruit of your choice