I mean, look at that! Buns of perfection, after many years of tinkering and eating dense, chewy hot-cross-bun flavoured tennis balls.
NO MORE, I tell you! Not a single second more.
I know it’s the done thing to prefer homemade over shop-bought but damn it’s easy to have a batch of very grim hot cross buns that in no way resemble the soft, spicy bread bun of your youth. I would 100% go a bakery-bought HCB over a failed homemade one any day.
Fortunately, I can have my bun and eat it too without stepping a foot outside my front door, which is often my favourite way of eating anything. The food would have to be REALLY good for me to consider putting company pants on.
And here we are! Golden, sticky, sweet-and-spicy centred buns that PRAISE BE are full of fluff.
Just like the shopbought wonders of my childhood dreams, only better, because that glaze that bakes to a sharp sugary snap on top of a crisp hot cross bun is the stuff I think about long after Easter is over.
Let’s make some, shall we?
Soft, Fluffy, Homemade Hot Cross Buns
adapted from Claire Ptak’s recipe
- 14g dried yeast
- 150ml warm water
- 100ml warm milk
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 625g wholemeal spelt flour (you could use regular spelt or white flour)
- 1 heaping teaspoon bread improver
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground clove
- at least half a nutmeg, grated
- ¼ tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 100g raw sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100g soft butter
- 150g dried mixed fruit (I bloody love those bits of candied peel in my buns, but you can just do sultanas or sultanas and currants)
Ingredients for the crosses
- 50g wholemeal spelt flour
- 50ml water
- (the original recipe called for ¼ tsp almond extract, which I would have added if I had any)
Ingredients for the glaze
- 100g caster sugar
- 50ml water
- In a small pot over medium heat, heat the water, milk and 1 tsp caster sugar until it feels about body temperature – warm, but not too warm.
- Take off the heat and stir in the yeast. Leave to sit about 10 minutes until it starts foaming up.
- In a stand mixer (I used a breadmaker), combine the spelt flour, salt, clove, nutmeg, mixed spice, cinnamon and raw sugar.
- To the dry ingredients, add the bloomed yeast mixture, an egg, and the butter and knead with a dough (or by all means knead it with your hands!) about 10 minutes until soft and a little shiny.
- Add the mixed fruit (in the breadmaker, I did it about 15 minutes in and sprinkled it gently around, waiting for the moving dough ball to pick it up and absorb it as it was kneaded).
- Rest for one hour, covered loosely.
- Once risen, divide the dough into 12 100g pieces and and roll briefly to make into a bun-shape.
- Line them up on a baking tray, almost touching and loosely cover.
- Leave to rise for another hour.
- Heat the oven to 180C
- Mix the ingredients for the cross.
- Brush the buns with the remaining egg
- Pipe the crosses on top (or you could spoon it on carefully if you don’t have a piping bag or a plastic bag to use. or you could make your own shapes or leave it off entirely!)
- Bake on the middle rack for 45-50 mins, until risen and golden brown.
- Heat the sugar and water for the glaze in a small saucepan until the sugar has totally melted. Brush the buns with the glaze.
- Eat with gay abandon. Pants optional.