Recipe: Hot Cross Buns

With Easter spent at home while physically distancing this year, why not try your hand at making your own hot cross buns!

For many years, Peter and Raelyn Punch, from South Mandurah Uniting Church, have enjoyed the magic of homemade hot cross buns at Easter with their family. Raelyn shares her recipe with Revive and reminds us not to forget to wear an apron with this one, as things will get messy!

Ingredients

4 cups of white bread-making flour, or plain white flour
30g, or 2 teaspoons, of dried yeast (hint: if the yeast is old use 1 tablespoon of yeast)
1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups of milk
1 to 1 ½ cups of sultanas (variation: you could try choc chips, currents or whatever you like)
60g of cold butter
¼ cup of white sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Plus:
Extra flour for kneading the dough
Additional plain white flour and water for making the crosses
Hot water, gelatine and sugar for glazing, if wanted

Method

Combine yeast with 1 teaspoon of sugar and flour in a small glass or stainless steel bowl. Place this small bowl into a larger bowl that has hot water in it, ensuring the water does not flow into the small bowl. Have the water level at approximately half way up the small bowl.

Carefully pour the lukewarm milk into yeast mixture. If it is too hot you will kill the yeast.

Cover with paper towel for approximately 10 to 15 mins or until mixture is frothy.

Sift flour, mixed spice and cinnamon together into a third large dry bowl. Add sugar and rub in butter with fingertips till well incorporated.

Mix in the sultanas.

Once the yeast mixture is frothy, pour it in to flour/sultana mix. Add beaten egg and mix well.

Grease a new bowl lightly, put the wet flour mixture into it and then cover tightly with a tea towel.

Leave the bowl in a warm place which is not in direct sunlight.

When the dough is risen (this could take approximately 40 to 80 minutes depending on the weather), punch the dough down with floured hands, turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cut the dough into three equal parts and then into smaller buns of equal size, and knead them into a round shape.

Place buns in a lightly greased lamington tin with no spaces between them, (the aim is to force them to rise upwards, like scones). Stand in a warm place covered by a tea towel for about 15 minutes or until they have risen again.

To make the crosses

Sift approximately ½ a cup of plain white flour and mix with water to form a paste.

Place in icing bag and pipe crosses onto top of buns.

Bake in a hot oven for 15 to 20 mins in a hot oven (230 to 240C electric, 200 to 230C gas), until brown on top and sound hollow when tapped.

Glazing

If you would like shiny buns, glaze immediately after removing from oven. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of  sugar and 1 teaspoon of gelatine in 1 tablespoon of hot water to make the glaze, and paint it across the top.

Cool the buns on a rack and enjoy!

Top image: Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

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