In my humble opinion, Easter Sunday without Hot Crossed Buns is a lot like Christmas dinner without parsnips and Brussel sprouts, so faced with the realisation that I had forgotten to pick some up whilst we were out yesterday and so this was indeed the very scenario that we were facing, I decided to see if I had the ingredients in to try and bake some myself.
I’ve never made Hot Crossed buns before but figured that they couldn’t be that much different to Yorkshire teacakes and I have made them before, so I turned to Google and after a few minutes searching, came across what looked to be a relatively straightforward recipe from James Martin. Checking my baking cupboard I found that the only thing I didn’t have was currants which could have proved quite the stumbling box, had I not had a reasonably suitable alternative …. sultanas!
As this isn’t my recipe I won’t be detailing it here but I have put a link in above, to the BBC Good Food website where I got it from.
So I gathered all my ingredients together and at 8.45 am I started to make the buns. I found that the dough wasn’t too dry or sticky prior to kneading and I was soon enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the kneading action and the dough very quickly (8 minutes) reached the required ‘springy’ and smooth consistency. You can tell when you have kneaded a bread dough enough by simply pressing down gently with a finger and if the dough immediately springs back into shape, then it is ready for proving.
The dough was left to prove for an hour, in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a damp tea towel, in a warm room, until it had doubled in size and then I knocked it back before shaping it into a dozen small round buns. These were placed onto a greased baking tray, making sure that they were spaced to allow for further rising, covered with the tea towel again and then left for another 20 minutes.
Just before they went into the oven, a cross was piped onto the top of each bun and then they took about 15 minutes to bake. As I took the tray out off the oven, I gave it a sharp bang which was a tip picked up from watching “Springs’ Supermarket Secrets“, in which Gregg from Master Chef was making Hot Crossed buns supermarket style. The master baker guy explained that banging the trays as they exited the oven, helped even out the air pressure and prevented the buns from collapsing and so I figured that if it was good enough for Waitrose (or whichever supermarket that particular segment was filmed in), then it was good enough for Mudville.
All in all these took just over 2 hours to produce and I am really, really pleased with how well the buns have turned out and if some of the crosses are a little wonky, the taste and texture of the buns, more than makes up for that small detail.
“Better than shop bought,” was the verdict according to the Mudlets and, when all is said and done, that’s the only critique that matters.
Have a good Easter everyone.