Hot Cross Buns II
Makes a batch of 12 buns, or 16 smaller buns
2 cups (275g) strong flour
1 cup (150g) plain flour
2 teaspoons (6g) dry active yeast or breadmaker yeast
1/4 cup (45g) caster sugar
2-3 teaspoons ground spice (cinammon, nutmeg)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (120g) dried fruits (traditionally, currants are used)
1 cup (200mL) warm milk
2 tablespoons (35g) butter
Flour paste for the cross
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
1/3 cup (80mL) water
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
If using dry active yeast, it needs to 'bloom' in some sugar and warm water solution (no hotter than what your hand can handle) for 10 minutes until it's frothy. If using breadmaker yeast, you can just incorporate it into the dry mix.
1) Heat the milk gently in a saucepan over medium heat until milk is warm enough to melt the butter. Melt the butter in the warm milk.
2) Measure and mix all the dry ingredients (flour, breadmaker yeast (if using), sugar, spice, salt and dried fruits) together.
3) Add the warm milk mixture, egg and bloomed yeast (if using instead of breadmaker yeast) to the flour mix and mix until dough comes together. Use floured hands to finish mixing to form a soft dough.
4) Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. (At this stage, add more flour if the dough is too wet, or add more water if the dough is too dry.)
5) Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm, draught-free place (I put it in my oven) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.
6) After proofing, punch the dough down to expel the air, and divide into 12 even portions.
7) Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Shape each portion into a ball and place in the lined tray about 1cm apart. Set the tray aside in a draught-free place for 30minutes for its final rising.
8) In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200degC and make the flour paste by mixing the flour and water in a bowl until smooth. Add more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a ziplock bag and snip off a corner of the bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses.
9) Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25minutes until the buns are done. When they're ready, the buns will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
10) Make the sugar glaze by dissolving the sugar in hot water. Brush the tops of the buns with the glaze while the buns are still warm.
The buns are best when fresh out of the oven. You can freeze some for later.