Hot Cross Buns and some nostalgia
When I was young (back in the stone age of the late 60s and early 70s!) you had to go to a bakery and buy fresh hot cross buns on Good Friday. The baker’s was possibly the only shop open on that day. Then we’d rush home and eat them, and hopefully they might still be warm. The bakery may have been List’s Bakery in Greenford Broadway, far left in that old picture and sadly no longer in existence, the shop unit was empty when I looked on Google streetview (between Hallmark and a charity shop) and that lovely old Art Deco almost Dutch style brickwork at the top has also gone. That was the only time of the year we did bought those buns.
Of course things have changed and we can buy hot cross buns pretty much all year round in packets from supermarkets in the UK. I’ve made loads of buns over the years and that’s been fine, but this year I wanted to recreate the fresh in the morning smell and softness of buns baked on the day. The buns I have made in the evening have typically ended up a bit harder by the next morning. So I have been practising on my family and workmates and come up with this recipe and procedure which starts in the afternoon one day and finishes in the morning that I want the buns. It is adapted from both Dan Lepard and BBC Good Food.
330ml milk, 50g butter, 500g strong white bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 75g caster sugar, oil for kneading or oiling bowl, 15g fresh yeast ( or 7g fast-action added to the flour), 1 egg, 300g mixed dried fruit, 4 tsp mixed spice. Cross ingredients are optional – 75g plain flour mixed with water and some sunflower oil), glaze is sugar in water with some mixed spice.
- Bring the milk to boiling point, remove from heat, add the butter and leave to melt and cool to ambient.
- Meanwhile weigh out and mix dry ingredients – flour, sugar, salt, spice
- When milk is cool add yeast and egg and add to dry ingredients.
- Knead for 5 mins, leave in oiled bowl for about 2 hours until doubled in size
- Knead in the fruit, leave in the bowl for further 2 hours or so
- Just before bedtime, weigh into 15 pieces (approx 85g each), and form into buns, leave on baking tray, cover with oiled cling film until morning
- In the morning, oven on to 220 C, pipe on the crosses if liked, and bake buns for about 20 mins until golden
- While baking mix 20g caster sugar and half a teaspoon of mixed spice with 20ml water, bring to boil in a pan to ensure sugar is dissolved. When buns are baked brush sugar onto them while still warm
The spice seems to slow down the speed of the yeast’s rising so everything just takes its own time.
The next day
I’ll be tucking in shortly as I’m off out for a run.