This year, if you some spare time (!) over Easter, why not try and make a batch (or two if you have the patience) of home-made hot cross buns?
Bread Revolution by Duncan Glendinning and Patrick Ryan is packed full of wonderful recipes that will bring out the inner-baker in you and we guarantee this one won’t disappoint!
Makes 10 buns:
500 g (1 lb 2 oz / 3 cups) strong white bread flour
5 g (1 tsp) fine sea salt
50 g (1 oz / cup) golden caster (superfine) sugar
75 g (2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
15 g ( 3 tsp) fresh yeast or 10 g (2 tsp) dried or fast-action yeast
90 ml (3 fl oz) water
150 ml (5 fl oz / a scant cup) milk
175 g (6 oz) mincemeat
For the paste:
100 g (3 oz / cup) plain (all-purpose) white flour
30 g (1 oz) golden caster (superfine) sugar
80 ml (2 fl oz / cup) milk
Mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Dice the butter and rub it in with your fingertips. Make a well in the flour mixture.
Crumble the yeast into the water so that it dissolves and pour the yeasted water, milk and egg into the well. Bring the dough together with your hands or with a spatula. This is quite a soft dough and may feel a little wet and sticky, but don’t panic, just be persistent.
Turn the dough out on to a clean kitchen surface and knead for 10 minutes. When you can stretch the dough between your fingers and see light through it without the dough tearing, gently knead in the mincemeat so the fruit is evenly distributed without getting all broken up. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove for about 80–90 minutes or until doubled in size.
After proving, cut the dough into 10 equal pieces, form into rolls and place on a non-stick baking tray or a tray lined with baking parchment, leaving enough room in between each so that the buns can prove and grow without touching. Leave to prove again for 60–80 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5), then make up the paste for the crosses. Mix the flour, sugar and milk in a bowl – the paste needs to be the consistency of thick custard. Brush the buns with beaten egg yolk, spoon the paste into a piping bag with a 3 mm (¼ in) nozzle and pipe a cross on each one. Bake the buns for 16–18 minutes, until rich gold in colour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Recipe and images taken from Bread Revolution by Duncan Glendinning and Patrick Ryan (£17.99), published by Murdoch Books.
Photography: Jonathan Cherry Available to buy from Amazon.