Hot Cross Buns

I rarely make bread, but I really wanted to have a go at some Hot Cross Buns this Easter. I read two recipes: one from an old Good Housekeeping recipe book and one from Nigella's Feast and have combined the two to get the desired result.
I know that the cross is barely discernible but I will get to that later. This recipe gives you a soft bun which is neither too sweet or too spicy. If you do like it spicy, increase the amounts of cinnamon and mixed spice a little. Nigella adds cardamom pods and ground ginger to hers, but I didn't fancy those flavours.

For the bun:
7g sachet of dried yeast
175ml milk 
350g strong white plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A little grated nutmeg
50g butter
25g caster sugar
75g currants
25g mixed peel (optional) If not using, increase the currants to 100g
1 egg beaten

For the cross: 
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water

For the glaze:
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp boiling water

1. Sift in the flour, spices and salt.

2. Rub in the butter until well combined.

3. Add the sugar and currants, and peel if using, and also the sachet of yeast.

4. Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the milk and beaten egg. Mix to form a dough.

5. Flour the work surface and knead the dough for about 8 minutes. The dough should be elastic and have a smooth appearance.

6. Put a little flavourless oil in a bowl. When you put your dough in this bowl, dip it in the oil so that it has a light covering and then place some clingfilm over the bowl {I got this little tip from Lesley Orr}. Put it in a warm place to rise - this could be a window sill or airing cupboard. 

7. The dough needs to double in size and should take around 1 1/2 hours to do so.

8. When ready, knock down the dough and knead for a couple of minutes. Pinch off equal pieces. This recipe will make around 24 small hot cross buns. If you want to increase their size, please do but you will need to allow a little extra cooking time.

9. Make each piece a rough ball shape and place on an oiled baking sheet. Do this with each piece. Leave to rise for another 30 minutes on the trays.

10. Preheat the oven to 190C.

11. Make a cross on each bun with a sharp knife. Make up the cross mixture and dribble it into the cross. 

12. Bake for 15 minutes - they may need a little longer depending on your oven.

13. Next, make up the sugar glaze. Turn the buns onto a baking sheet and liberally brush with the glaze. 

Love Mrs Jones x

PS. I do wonder whether it would have been better to have cut the cross before the second rise which would have made a larger cross to dribble the cross mixture in to. Even my neatest crosses cannot be seen!


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