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Hot Cross Buns (Makes 12)


The bun
180ml whole milk
1 packet of BIOREAL organic yeast
1 tsp wholemeal flour
40g caster sugar
60g light or dark brown sugar (according to taste)
70g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
3 cardamom pods
pinch of saffron
4 cloves
435g Canadian white strong bread flour
80g currants
60g candied peel

The cross
60g all purpose flour
90-120ml water

The glaze
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp boiling water


Infuse the milk
Heat the milk and spices until at a gentle simmer, then take off the heat and leave to infuse for an hour.

Prepare the dough
In a small bowl, gently mix the organic yeast and 1tsp of wholemeal flour with just enough warm water to cover them, then leave for 15 mins.
In a large bowl, rub together the butter and flour until incorporated. Add the sugar and salt and mix. Make a well in the mixture and add the two eggs, and the milk/ yeast mixture. Mix in the bowl until fully incorporated.
Now for the fun part! Knead the dough for ten minutes or until smooth and elastic. Try to avoid the temptation to add more flour; enriched doughs start sticky! A light sifting of flour on the bench and the top of the dough should be sufficient, but certainly add no more than a tablespoon at a time.

First rise
Place the dough back in the bowl, and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise in a relatively warm environment for two hours, or until doubled in size.

For extra juicy currents, place them in a cup and cover with boiling water. Leave them for 5-10 minutes, then dry on a paper towel.
Ready a heavy based baking tin (I like to use my roasting pan). Line with greaseproof paper.
Punch down the dough. Time to add your fruit! Flatten the dough a little, then add half of the mixed fruit. Fold over and repeat, then gently knead a little. This is to ensure a consistent amount of fruit through the buns.
Divide the dough into 12 roughly equal rolls (weigh them if you are so inclined).
Shaping! There are lots of instructional videos online if you have never shaped a roll, it’s worth looking at a few to get familiar with the process.
To get that perfectly smooth rounded bun, gently use both hands to drag the dough from its base towards you. This creates a tighter surface on the outside of the bun. Repeat a few times, rotating the bun to get an even shape. If you’re like me and prefer your currents hidden inside the bun so they don’t burn, gently press the currents in or remove them from the top and add to the bottom as you shape.
Place the buns in your tin, about an inch apart.

Second rise
Cover the buns with a tea towel.
There are two options for the second rise:
1. Leave in a warm environment for two hours, or until doubled in size.
2. Place your buns in the fridge overnight. This has the benefit of fresh warm buns in the morning, and gives the organic yeast more time to do its work. Simply leave on the countertop for half an hour in the morning while the oven preheats.

Add the cross
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Whisk the plain flour and water together, adding the water gradually until you have a thick paste (think toothpaste!).
Spoon the paste into a piping bag, and pipe the lines onto your buns. You can also use a spoon for this, if you don’t have piping bags.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven.

Mix the sugar and boiling water until the sugar has dissolved. Immediately brush with a pastry brush onto your warm buns. As soon as cool enough to eat, serve with lashings of butter.