Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
  • 7g sachet fast-acting dried yeast
  • 450g white bread flour
  • 50g wholemeal bread flour
  • 2tbsp caster sugar + 1tsp sea salt
  • ½tsp each of ground mixed spice, ginger and grated nutmeg
  • 50g unsalted butter, diced
  • 150g currants or sultanas
  • 2tbsp chopped mixed peel
  • 250ml tepid milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 4tbsp milk
  • 3tbsp caster sugar
  • Place the yeast, flours, sugar, salt and spices into a bowl, add the butter and rub it in. Stir through the dried fruit and peel. Add the milk and egg and mix well. Add a little extra water if the dough is too dry or extra flour if it's very sticky.
  • Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 mins. 
  • Place in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1-1½ hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough with your fist to expel the air, then knead on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 mins. 
  • Divide into 12 portions and shape each into a ball. Line a baking tray with baking paper, then place the balls of dough on it, spacing well apart. 
  • Cover and leave for another 45-60 mins, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Heat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6). For the cross, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 1-2tbsp of cold water.
  • Spoon it into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 15-20 mins, until brown.
  • Heat the milk and sugar until dissolved and then boil for 1 min. Transfer the buns to a cooling rack and brush with the milk glaze.
The dough for hot cross buns can be made the night before and given its first rise in the fridge - the chill of the fridge slows down the rise of the dough and increases the flavour of the bread. In the morning you can remove from the fridge, punch down the dough, make the buns and let it have its second rise in a warm spot in the kitchen.