Aussies love their hot cross buns during Easter, most people love the traditional fruit buns, and there are usually newspaper articles about the perfect buns around the time - the Hot Cross Bun season, the perfect hot cross buns, are as important as the perfect chocolate eggs.
There is this article in Melbourne's local newspaper, the age, about How to spot a good hot cross bun. I agreed to bring some buns to MIL, as we are visiting on Easter Sunday.
So, might as well get busy baking. One useful hint from the newspaper article is the fruits should be soaked, and what else can be nicer than masala... And I was keen to try out the hot dough version of bread making, so this is how I made the latest batch of hot cross buns:
The Day Before, prepare the fruit and the hot dough.
Bring milk to a slow boil, I used the microwave. Pour over the flour, knead into a pliable dough, put away in fridge in sealed freezer bag or container to develop gluten.
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice (that's nutmeg, cloves, cumin)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tbsp masala
1.5 cup mixed fruit, including glazed cherries, peels etc.
Mix all ingredients and set aside in a clean container, let fruit soak in the spices.
The day to make the buns:
700g strong bread flour
15g dry yeast
500ml full cream milk
1 egg - lightly whisked
4 tbsp raw sugar
2 tsp all spice powder
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 pinch of salt
Bring butter, milk and sugar to a slow boil, scald and let cool to luke warm, add yeast, stir properly and let activate.
Put salt at the bottom of the mixing bowl, and mix all other dry ingredients, flour, spices, and add to the mixing bowl. Slowly add in frothy yeast liquid, egg and the hot dough made the day before, and make the dough. Once the dough is slightly elastic, knead in the fruits, you might need extra dry flour as the liquid from the fruit will make the dough wetter.
Knead dough as normal process of bread making.
Once the dough is elastic and smooth, let it set to proof.
Once the dough is dougle the size, knock it back and shape into small balls.
Most Aussie hot cross buns are sticking to each other, they rise higher that way, but are ready to be pulled apart, so I did the same.
Meanwhile, make the paste for the cross. These are traditional flour based paste, flour and water to a runny consistancy, and I just pipe them across.
Bake them in preheated 190C oven for 25-30 minutes, until ready, and brush on glaze. This time, I used home made marmalade. 2 heap tablespoon of marmalade, add 2 tablespoon of boiling water, brush on to the hot buns just out of oven...
Fluffy buns... The best buns made this season the family voted, and until next year...