I think hot cross buns should be eaten all autumn through winter - I have not yet had a hot cross bun free day since Easter. I have given these buns a spice boost, but only when toasted do you get the full effect. Toasting is obligatory, as is serving with real (not salt reduced!) butter.
This recipe is optimised for the Sunbeam Quantum SmartBake, and based on the recipe included with said machine.
Ingredients need to be placed into the bread tin in the order below for best results.
330 ml water
2 1/2 tblsp butter or marg
2 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp garam masala (trust me)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
520 g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast
Saltanas (I find its best to knead the saltanas in at the end, just before you make them into buns. If added at the start, I feel the sultanas suck moisture from the dough, and the the dough doesn't rise as well, perhaps from the additional sugar?)
Mix together some extra water and flour with a tablespoon of icing sugar until you get a thick consistancy that will squeeze easily from your piping bag without running everywhere (I use a ziplock bag, fill it up and snip the tip off one corner. Start with a too smaller snip, you can always go bigger. If the mix is too elastic, add some more icing sugar to relax it a bit. Lumps will be stretched out when mix is at its thickest. Only add more water when lumps are gone.
You can glaze with whatever you want (apricot jam has been suggested too). I put some sugar and hot water in a small bowl till it disolves, then a good squeeze of golden syrup, and microwave until its brush-able - keep an eye on it as it turns molten quickly. This glass stays shiny and sticky.
- Place ingredients into bread pan in order, and run on setting 12 ('pizza dough'), or whatever setting your machine has that does not include baking.
- Sunbeam Settings: Knead (1) 3 min, Rise (1) 30 *C, 37 min, Knockdown , Knead (2) 20 min, Rise(2) 30 *C 50 min, Knockdown. You could do by hand- combine all the dry ingredients, then add water, butter, and egg, then mix. Start with spoon then use hands to knead on a floured surface. Knead till very elastic, >10 min each time. When rising (both times), use the size of the dough to determine when it has risen enough. It should double in size- depending on the temperature it is in, this could take over an hour. Keep moist by covering with a damp towel.
- When machine has finished, remove dough and knead a little by hand on a floured surface until springy and elastic. Add sultanas now by flattening out the dough, putti large handfuls in, then folding over and repeating. I put in heaps! Divide into even sized balls, and place snugly on a lined baking tray. I shape the dough long and thin-ish, then use a sharp knife to cut away measured portions. It you put your index and thumb around the diameter of the ball, and push gently from the bottom, is creates a smooth top by stretching the dough slightly. Pipe over crosses (or any other shape for that matter)
- Bake for about 30 min at 180 *C until golden. When they are close to completion, prepare the glaze.
- Remove buns from oven and brush with glaze whilst still hot. Give them a few min to cool and allow glaze to settle before eating.
- I store them in the freezer, but have noticed they can be a little dry. Microwaving a little can fix this, but let me be clear - hot cross buns should be eaten toasted, with real natural butter - I can't stress this enough. Toasting brings out the spices, and nothing compares. Have with earl grey tea, no milk.
- Consider your bun size whilst cutting portions - I can get 20 reasonably sized buns (shop equivalent), or 12 big ones. I divide the dough into two to help portion it out.