I wasn’t going to post these at all. They didn’t come out exactly as I wanted them to – the cross wasn’t defined, the shape was a little wonky, and they weren’t quite as light as I wanted, but then I realized that I can’t come in and preach the gospel of how approachable cooking is and not post my less than perfect outcomes.
Because the truth of the matter is, it’s perfectly OK to have things not be perfect. What you should be aiming for in the kitchen is for things to taste good, and if they’re not exactly how they’re supposed to be, well then, who really cares? No fear! That’s my motto. Bread is probably my weak spot when it comes to baking, but I keep on trucking, and trying to incorporate new tips and techniques and perfect recipes.
And the thing is, these hot cross buns tasted delicious. I totally nailed the spicing (it should be delicate – just a hint of flavor), and the lemon curd was a nice touch. If I were going to make them again, I would use commercial curd for the crosses, which is a bit stiffer, or paint them on after baking. I’d also skip the dutch oven, which meant I had a nice crust but a lot of triangular buns, and bake directly on cookie sheets. These are my tips to you, but feel free to experiment yourself and come back and tell me what I did wrong. Cooking is a lifelong learning process, and if you make something truly inedible, well then, that’s what dogs/undiscriminating husbands/compost heaps are for.
I do love to bake, and it really isn’t nerve wracking, unless, of course, you’re expecting perfection. This dough was a little stickier than is really easy to work with, but even though it wasn’t perfectly smooth when I let it rise, it smoothed out. It’s worth it to not overload the dough with flour, which makes it tough.
Cooking in a dutch oven is a nice trick if you don’t mind a dutch oven shaped loaf – it creates a little radiant heat oven that traps the steam and creates a crackly crust. That didn’t work quite as well with my round buns.
These really do need the egg wash to brown – put it on at the beginning, and you won’t overbake.
Still, they tasted good, and with a spot of homemade lemon curd, they were actually pretty fabulous. And I do love hot cross buns.
- Hot Cross Buns
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons salted butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 package dry active yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- ½ cup warm water (110 degrees)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ teaspoons table salt
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. cardamom
- ⅓ c. finely chopped candied orange peel (this is available from King Arthur Flour or you can make your own
- ⅓ c. golden raisins
- 3¼ – 3¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Heat the milk and butter together until the butter melts. Cool to 110 degrees (a candy thermometer is very helpful. )
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. Beat in the sugar and eggs using a hand mixer or wooden spoon. Add salt, warm milk mixture, spices, and 2 cups of flour and mix to thoroughly combine.
- Add 1 cup of flour, sprinkle your work surface with additional flour, and knead, picking up and slapping down the dough as much as possible. The video here is very instructive, though this dough is somewhat stickier than the one he’s working with so don’t expect his perfect results. A dough scraper is pretty essential here – you can get one on Amazon for about 50 cents.) Add the peel and raisins, and knead those in as well. You may have to add up to ¾ c. additional flour, but add in small increments, and keep kneading until your dough springs back when its pushed down. (This is a very sticky dough, and it’s OK if it’s not completely smooth.) Turn into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise at about 70 degrees until it’s double in size, from 2-2 ½ hours.
- Pull the dough gently out of the bowl (no need to punch down) and let it relax for about 10 minutes. Then form into buns by pinching into round shapes, and place them seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely and let rise an additional 1 ½ hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk together 1 egg and 2 tsps of milk . Brush tops of buns with egg mixture and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until buns are golden brown.
- When buns are cooled, brush glaze made from powdered sugar and water over the top. Pipe or spoon lemon curd over the buns in the shape of crosses. Serve warm with butter and additional lemon curd.