When I think about Easter in the UK I always think about Hot Cross Buns. Served warm or toasted with a generous spread of butter and jam, these lightly spiced, fruity yeast buns are just so yummy. Of course they are best served directly out of the oven, with a cuppa of tea or coffee. However, the next day, just pop them in the toaster and you won’t be disappointed. Since I’m always trying to add in more wholegrains into everything i eat and do the flour is 50 / 50 with white and wholemeal flour, I also used spelt. If you would prefer to use wheat, and do them completely with white flour they will of course be just as delicious (some would argue even more so…) however I love the nutty richer flavour I get from using wholemeal flour, and it’s a good source of fibre too. I like to make the dough the night before and let it rise slowly in the fridge but leaving it to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size would be ample. Since I can’t get back to the UK right now, having my kitchen waft smells of baked hot cross buns will have to be the next best thing! These are for me a real taste of home.
Makes 8 large buns.
250 g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
250 g White Spelt Flour
20 g fresh Yeast, or 8 g dried Yeast
50 g Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
60 g Butter, room temperature
1 Orange, Zest only
300 ml lukewarm Milk
75 g Raisins
50 g Mixed Peel
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Egg, lightly beaten
60 g White Flour
Pinch of Salt and Sugar
60 g Quince or Apricot Jam, or another Jam of choice
In a large bowl add both the wholemeal and white flour, salt, cinnamon and butter. Gently warm the milk, then add the yeast and sugar and stir well. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the milk, combine with the flours and once it starts to resemble a ball pull all of the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead the dough for at least 5 minutes until smooth, elastic and warm. The dough will be quite sticky in the beginning, this is completely normal, after a few minutes of kneading the dough will be become firmer and easier to manage. Do refrain from adding any more flour to the dough, this will make it too dry. Once the dough is ready, flatten it slightly with your palms, and place the raisins, mixed peel, and orange zest in the middle, fold the dough over to encase the fruit and gently continue to knead the dough until all the dried fruit and zest has been evenly distributed into the dough. Place in a plastic bowl and cover. Leave to rest in the fridge over night, or for an hour in a warm place until doubled in size.
Should you leave the dough in the fridge over night, remove the next day and leave in a warm pace to come back to room temperature before dividing the dough into 8 balls, and placing on a floured baking tray. Leave to rise in a warm place, covered, until doubled in size, about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 170 °C.
In a small bowl mix 60 g flour with a good pinch of salt and sugar, and gradually add one tablespoon of water after the other to create a thick paste (about 2-3 Tbsp).
Before the buns go into the oven, brush them with the beaten egg, and then using a piping bag, or a freezer bag with the very end of one corner cut away, pipe a cross with the thick flour paste onto the buns. Place the buns in the oven for 20 minutes. They should be a deep golden brown and will sound hollow when lightly tapped on their base. Whilst the buns are in the oven, gently heat the jam so that it will be easier to spread on the buns.
Once the buns are ready use a brush to coat the buns with several layers of jam. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying with a good quality butter, and jam, if you like.
I hope you have had fun making these buns! Let me know in the comments below what you think, and do share your photos with me on Instagram.