Combine flour with the instant yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Put the milk and butter into a saucepan and heat until the milk is warm, and the butter is beginning to melt. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix with a fork or a wooden spoon to make a rough dough, adding more of the remaining flour if the dough is too wet. Then either using your hands or the dough hook on an electric mixer, knead the dough until it is smooth and silky. Put the ball of dough into a greased bowl and cover the top with clingfilm, then leave in a warm place (I always sit a bowl of yeasted dough on a pile of newspapers) to rise for an hour by which time it should be double the size. Punch the air out of the dough with your fist and then turn it out on to a floured surface. Pull pieces of dough the size of walnuts off the dough and form them into small round rolls, like ping pong balls, placing them as you go on to a greased or lined baking sheet. The balls of dough should be about 5mm / ¼ inch apart so that once they have sat to prove they will be just about touching.Cover them with a tea-towel and leave to rise again in a warm place for about half an hour, preheating the oven to gas mark 7/220°C/200°C Fan/425ºF, while they sit. When the buns have puffed up, bake for 15 minutes by which time they should be golden brown and joined together in a little batch. Remove them to a cooling rack or serve immediately.
Back in the day Stokies would pass half a dozen Oatcake Shops to buy from their favourite place. It's all about the texture, flavour "and 'em not being being too thick, duck".
In homage to High Lane, Tunstall I now make these in exile at home in the Welsh hills on a cast iron planc usually used for Welsh Cakes.
OK, so if like me you love a toasted teacake with a generous helping (slice) of butter on it you just have to try this recipe.
Some of the steps may seem a little excessive (like the 24hr cognac bath for the raisins) but trust me – the results are worth it.
These sourdough hot cross buns are soft and incredibly fluffy. They’re perfectly spiced, not too sweet, and enjoyed by all- especially the kids!
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