I do love a hot cross bun. I’m certainly not against buying them from the supermarket but I do enjoy making my own at Easter time. I’ve tried lots of recipes over the years but this one adpated from Paul Hollywood’s “How to Bake” is the best I’ve tried.
There are a lot of stages to this recipe, but believe me it’s worth it the end!
Orange, cranberry & white chocolate hot cross buns
500g strong white flour
10g fast action yeast
120ml warm milk
120ml cool water
2 medium eggs, beaten
40g soft unsalted butter<em
Finely grated zest of two oranges
150g dried cranberries
100g white chocolate chunks
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, sugar and yeast to the bowl, keeping the salt and yeast separate. Add the warm milk, soft butter, eggs and half the water. Mix the ingredients together until you have a soft dough. If it is too dry, add the remaining water slowly until you have a soft, but not soggy, dough. Knead for 5 mins in a mixer or 10 minutes by hand or until the dough is very smooth and bouncy.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove in a warmish place for 1-2 hours or until the dough is doubled in size.
Once the dough is ready, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flatten it out a little and tip the orange zest, cranberries and white chocolate chunks on top. Gently work them into the dough until they are all evenly incorporated.
Place this chocolate and fruity dough back into the bowl and leave for one hour until risen in size again. </em
Divide the dough into twelve equal portions. Mine weighed 75g each. Roll each piece of dough into balls and place fairly close together on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and leave to prove for 45-60 minutes until well risen and at least doubled in size.
About 30 minutes before proving time is done, preheat the oven to 200C.
For the crosses, mix 75g plain flour and 75-100ml water together until you have a smooth paste that isn’t too runny. Using a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle, pipe crosses on the buns. I’m sure your crosses will be a lot neater than mine – my bag burst! What a mess!
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. I glazed my buns with apricot glaze for a shiny finish. Enjoy!
My notes: If cranberries and white chocolate isn’t your thing, you can substitute with any other dried fruit of your choice.
Why two rising times? Is it necessary? It may be a pain, but in my experience I’ve found that adding the dried fruit and zest in the first stage rapidly slows down the yeast growth. Adding the fruit/zest/spices after a first rise will give you softer, fluffier buns! Your patience will be rewarded 😉
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