I am off to spend the rest of the school holidays in Cornwall, which involves eating lots of hot cross buns, Cornish saffron buns, very good ice cream and as much treacle tart and clotted cream as possible. I love this time of year. Flowers, fruits and vegetables budding, growing and flourishing. Everything is awesome! Cornish purple sprouting broccoli, creamy potatoes and excellent spring lamb will no doubt be present at Easter Sunday lunch.
I have made several batches of hot cross buns over the last couple of years with varying success. My Giant Hot Cross Bun worked well but I have made many buns where the dough has simply not risen, just sat in a flat lump in a bowl for hours. It is all down to the milk temperature. I either overheat or under heat it but I think I might have found a solution.
Instead of bringing the milk up to boiling point and melting the butter in it, I warm the milk up in the microwave for thirty seconds and it is perfect every time. For me, this method works and I am sticking with it. The butter, I rub into the flour as you would for making pastry. I read about that idea here, a fine discovery.
My other tip would be to use less flour. I found I had been making a huge batch of dough, buns too large to eat and taking too long to cook so I decided to cut back on quantities and it seems to work. I use 250g of bread flour and this gives me eight small yet beautifully formed buns that cook in fifteen minutes.
Finally I have played with the flavours. Lemon and fresh Rosemary instead of the spices and white chocolate chips replace half of the dried mixed fruit. Is this still a hot cross bun? In my mind it is. Yet it is a fresher, herbier more spring like interpretation. I hope you agree. And they have crosses. Could not forego the crosses.
I am entering my Easter buns into a few challenges this month: