Baking Hot Cross Buns every Easter Week has become a bit of a tradition in our house. For the past 6 years I have baked these buns with reasonable success. Initially, I used my trusted bread machine to provide the family with yeasted goods, to great effect, I might add.
However, with my increased baking confidence, for the past two years I have baked without the aid of a machine and used Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Bun recipe. It is very straightforward and this year I have decided to adapt it to incorporate one of our family’s favourite spices – Cardamom.
I had wanted to make cocoa and cardamom buns but my husband said ‘don’t mess around with them too much’ – he likes traditional buns. However, I was very pleased with the cardamom inclusion. I cannot tell you how great these buns smelt whilst they were baking as a result of the cardamom…fragrant and heavenly! Just imagine how they tasted…
So there is some dough proving here but these will be one of the most satisfying yeasted bakes you can attempt all year. There is something quite special about home baked hot cross buns, and although shop bought buns are freshly baked, in my mind, they do not come close to these.
Just break the buns open and serve with butter and jam. Toast them even, and slather in butter and you have pungent, luscious, Cardamom Hot Cross buns. Worth a little effort in my mind.
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 10g salt
- 75g golden caster, or caster sugar
- 240ml whole milk, warmed
- 10g instant yeast
- 40g unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 150g sultanas
- 80g chopped mixed peel
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 75g plain flour
- 75ml water
- 50g caster sugar
- 50ml water
- Put the flour into a large bowl, or the bowl of a freestanding mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt, sugar, cardamom and cinnamon and mix. Warm the milk. Add the yeast to the warmed milk and mix thoroughly so all the yeast dissolves. Set aside. Melt the butter and then add to the milk and yeast mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Begin to mix the dry ingredients and slowly add the milk/yeast/butter mixture whilst still mixing. Add the beaten egg and continue to mix until a dough comes together.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove somewhere warm until it is doubled in size, or for approximately 2 hours.
- Once proved, tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface once again and add the sultanas and mixed peel, kneading so all the fruit is incorporated and evenly distributed. Return to the oiled bowl and allow to prove for a further hour.
- Tip the dough again and knead briefly to knock the air out. Divide the dough into twelve equal balls and space equally onto a baking parchment lined tray, allowing enough space for the buns to spread and grow. Cover with a large plastic bag and leave for a further hour. In the meantime, make the paste for the cross by mixing together the flour and water in a bowl until it is smooth. Put the paste into a food bag and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C, or Gas Mark 7. Once proved, take the food bag filled with paste and make a small snip in one corner. Pipe crosses on the buns. It is easier to pipe in one direction at a time, pipe horizontally across all buns and then vertically. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning the tray half way through the bake, until the buns are a golden brown colour. Whilst the buns are baking, prepare the syrup by adding the sugar and water to a small saucepan. Over a medium heat dissolve the sugar and allow the syrup to reduce and thicken.
- Once baked, remove the buns from the oven and brush the syrup over the buns whilst they are still hot.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving. Best eaten the day they are made. Store in an airtight container. These toast well, too.
Source: Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s ‘How To Bake’