I don’t know how far back in history you find hot cross buns being made for Good Friday, but at our house, I bake a batch each year. They symbolize with their white cross baked on top of each bun, Jesus Christ dying on the cross to save us. You can’t find a love any stronger than that! I use my breadmachine to mix and rise the dough for the buns on the ‘dough cycle’. If you don’t have a breadmachine, you can follow this recipe and make it by hand or use a Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook.
1- 1/3 cups warm milk
1 egg (at room temperature) beaten lightly
1/4 cup butter (at room temperature)
1/3 cup white sugar
1- 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt (or 1 tsp. fine table salt)
3- 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour (For the very best results, always use Sharyn’s Pantry bread flour as it has very high gluten and is sold to bakeries for it’s quality. You won’t believe the difference in your baking!)
1- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. instant breadmachine yeast
2 tbsp. grated orange zest
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup candied orange peel
1/3 cup candied mixed fruit
-Place in your baking pan of your breadmachine:
the warm milk, beaten egg, soft butter cut up into tiny pieces, white sugar, Kosher salt, and the bread flour. Add the cinnamon,nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Using a fork, just gently stir the spices into the flour. Lastly, sprinkle the instant yeast over top of everything.
-Place the baking pan into the breadmachine.
-Select the ‘dough cycle’. This will mix everything together with no work for you.
-Your breadmaker will ‘beep’ telling you it is the proper time to add the extra ingredients. If you added the currants, raisins and fruit at the very beginning, the kneading process would break down the fruit and you wouldn’t find any of it left.
-At the ‘add ingredient beep’, add into your breadmachine baking pan, the grated orange zest, golden raisins, currants, and candied orange peel and fruit.
-Allow the breadmachine to continue the ‘dough cycle’.
-Once completed, remove the dough from the breadmachine. Punch it down and allow it to rest undisturbed for 10 minutes.
-Divide the dough into 15 equal sized pieces.
-Shape these into buns and place them on parchment lined baking pans. Allow enough space in between the buns to rise to double in size.
-Lay a clean, dry tea towel over each tray of buns to keep any draft off them as they rise.
-Once risen to nearly double in size, bake the buns in a 350 degree F. oven for about 15 minutes, until a light brown in colour.
-Cool the buns on a wire cooling rack.
-Once completely cooled, I make a small bowl of icing for the ‘white cross’ on top of each bun. Just mix together:
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp. milk or cream
1 tsp. pure almond extract
-Place the icing in a ziploc bag, seal the top, then cut off one bottom corner. Squeeze out the icing over each cool bun to form a cross over top of each.
-This recipe will make 15 large buns.
-Enjoy your Hot Cross buns and have a very joyous and happy Easter!