Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
These lovely, subtly spiced, and lightly sweet buns are great at any time of the year! Serve with tea, or split, toast, and spread with butter. I tried to measure the amounts of flour and liquids I used (just for you guys!), but you might have to adjust based on the moisture in your flour/kitchen. You know. The instructions are really long, but that's just because I was feeling talkative. These are easy, easy, easy. Makes 12 buns.

For the starter:
3/4 cup warm water (not too hot! or you will kill the yeast)
1/4 cup soymilk (I used vanilla)
2 tsp yeast
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
Mix these ingredients together unthil thoroughly blended. Let the starter sit for 30-40 minutes. It should look bubbly.

For the dough:
About 4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 oz. cold butter (I used Earth Balance) cut into small pieces
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one orange
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup dried fruit (currants are traditional, but I don't care for them and they are expensive, so I used lots of chopped dried apricots and dried cranberries, and a few token currants)

Mix the 3 1/2 cups flour, salt, sugar, zests, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Rub (or cut) the butter into the flour, as though you are making a pie crust. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the starter. Mix with a wooden spoon as much as you can, and then knead the dough, sprinkling in more flour as knead, until smooth, about 5-7 minutes. You probably won't need more than 4 cups of flour. This was a beautiful dough to need-- soft but didn't stick to the hands. When the dough is smooth, sprinkle the dried fruit over the top and knead a few more times to mix that in. Place in a warm place, cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until almost doubled in bulk.

When the dough is risen, divide into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a roll. Cut an x in the top of each roll, using either a knife or scissors. I cut about halfway into the roll, but I think that was a bit to much-- I'd shoot for 1/3 or 1/4 of the way through the roll next time. But don't just score the top, because the x will close up as the rolls rise if you do that. Place the rolls on a greased cookie sheet, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 or 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450'F. Right before they go into the oven, mix together 2 tblsp flour with 2 tbsp water to form a paste. Pipe a little cross in each x right before the rolls go into the oven. (I thought this sounded gross, but you can't taste it at all-- it just helps the x to stand out. But you could easily skip this step.)

Bake the rolls for 12-15 mintues. Right before they are done, heat up 2 tbsps agave nectar/golden syrup/honey/simple syrup. Brush this on the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.



bazu said...

Hi! I popped by to answer your question about gluten: I usually buy it from the bulk section of my local co-op, but I've also seen it packaged with the flours (like Arrowhead Mills, Bob's Red Mill, etc.) I'm sure Whole Foods would have it. And don't worry, vital wheat gluten, wheat gluten, and gluten are all exactly the same thing, so don't worry about the different packages/labels. Good luck!

Natalya said...

Keep up the good work.

Adrian said...

Thanks so much for the recipe, I can't wait to try it out!logo design