Saturday, March 31, 2012

One a penny, two a penny

{my first attempt at hot cross buns}

You guessed it: hot cross buns. I can hear the recorder now. Oh, elementary music class!

I am a little early with the Good Friday classic, but I was thinking about all the eating we will be doing next weekend (mini-eggs, mini-eggs, lamb, mini-eggs) and I decided to spread things out a little.

My mum's friend used to make homemade hot cross buns every Easter and bring them for all of the children at our church's Sunday school. They were always warm and fragrant; I love the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg. The little white icing cross was my personal favourite. I couldn't help myself from licking it off before eating the warm bun.

I haven't had a hot cross bun in at least fifteen years. I daresay I haven't thought about them, but when I came across a recipe for them yesterday afternoon I knew I wanted to try it. I am an admitted novice when it comes to baking with yeast but the recipe came together pretty easily.

Sweet Jeffrey does not enjoy raisins or currents and he absolutely hates candied peel. I like all of those things but since I am a superstar wife (read: we didn't have any in the pantry anyway) I decided to leave them out. In fact, the recipe I chose didn't add anything extra. The author  mentions he may offend hot cross bun traditionalists, but I prefer to think of him as a purist; the bun stands alone, nothing to rely on (oh, except that little icing cross).

You can find the recipe I used here:

Here are a few observations I had while making the dough:

1) It is hard to tell when the milk is scalded. The author mentions little bubbles around the edge of the pot, but my milk had a few bubbles from pouring it. I think the best way to tell that the milk is ready is because the smell changes. It smells nutty or something. This might sound weird, but I noticed a marked change.

2) I was over eager and dumped all the liquid into the flour at once. It seemed to work really well.

3) I don't know how someone could knead for 10 minutes straight at the pace my mixer was going. I was tired just watching it.

The hardest part was waiting to the dough to "prove" (fancy and/or British word for rise - use it, you'll feel smart).

The buns baked perfectly, my only regret is that I waited for natural light to take photos; the crosses aren't as pristine as they were last night.

Jeff had never had a hot cross bun. Once he got over the fact they aren't buttery and sweet like a cinnamon bun he loved them. He ate three before bed if you want evidence!

Have a great Saturday.



{a baker's dozen}

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