This recipe for hot cross buns employs a bread baking technique known as tangzhong (which you can read about HERE). It produces a very soft and fluffy bun which will stay that way for a couple of days. Hot cross buns should be heavily spiced and so make sure that the spices you’re using are not past their best before date. I tend to buy whole spices and then grind them as needed.

I have included mixed peel in this recipe as I like it in a hot cross bun but admit that it isn’t always popular and so omitting it from the recipe is completely fine.

Makes 12 buns
Ingredients:
TANGZHONG SLURRY
50 g strong flour
230 ml full cream milk
BUN DOUGH
475 g strong flour
180 ml full cream milk
40 g caster sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 x sachet) dried instant yeast
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp rosewater
1 tsp orange blossom water
260 g sultanas
90 g mixed peel
Finely grated zest 1 orange
75 g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
CROSSES PASTE
60 g plain (or strong) flour
50 – 80 ml water
GLAZE
55 g caster sugar
1/4 tsp ground allspice
60 ml water

Directions:
1. First make the slurry by whisking the flour and milk together in a medium saucepan and cooking over a medium heat, whisking or stirring the whole time until a paste forms.
2. Place the cooked slurry into a large bowl and add the rest of the bun ingredients, adding the egg last as you don’t want it to come in contact with the hot slurry and start to scramble. Mix everything together to combine.
3. Knead the dough. If you are using an electric mixer with a dough hook knead for about 7-10 minutes. If doing it by hand you will need to knead it on a lightly floured bench for about 15 minutes (your shoulder will become quite warm!). It will start out quite a sticky dough, but will become manageable as it is worked.
4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and set aside until it has doubled in size (usually 40 min – 1 hour depending on how warm your kitchen is).
5. Tip the dough onto a clean bench and divide into 12 equal balls, giving each one a small knead. Place the balls on a lined baking tray with a small amount of room to spread. Cover loosely with a tea towel and leave to puff up to about double in size.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 220 C.
7. Make the crosses paste by mixing the flour and enough water to form a pipeable paste and then place in a small piping bag.
8. When the buns are ready to bake pipe crosses on them.
9. Bake in the oven for 9 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 200 C and bake for a further 9 minutes.
10. While the buns are baking make the glaze by placing the ingredients into the smallest saucepan you have and simmer for a few minutes.
11. When the buns come out of the oven brush them with the glaze and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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