Saturday, 7 April 2012
As I promised last year, I'm back with volume three of my quest to create a great hot cross bun recipe. I haven't had much time for testing this year, so there are just a few minor changes - I've updated the recipe to include the candied peel process (which I've also adapted again) and refined a few quantities, including upping the yeast for a lighter bun.
It's quite fun (/embarrassing) to see how things have changed - see v.1 and v.2.
Also, as you may have seen on my sidebar/twitter/facebook, I am a finalist in the SAVEUR Best Food Blog Awards 2012 in the Best Baking & Desserts Blog category! I am so touched and honoured that I have been picked by the editors from all the nominations.
I thought I would show you a little technique I learnt recently for getting smooth, round spheres of bread dough. I was rushing a bit yesterday so some of these buns are actually a bit wonky (and the sultanas and peel poking out don't help), but the technique is a good one.
1/ As you can see on the left, tease the chunk of dough out into a disc using your fingers.
2/ Start tightly folding the edges of the disc inwards.
3/ Pull the last edge inwards and press it into the centre, forming a ball.
4/ Place the ball on a clean table (no flour), with the pulled-in edges facing down.
5/ Place your hand over the ball, touching the table with your fingertips and the heel of your hand, and press down lightly. Start moving your hand in small circles, slowly cupping your hand more as the ball forms but keeping it touching the table. The dough should almost push against your hand as it forms.
So there you go - a useful little tip for prettier bread rolls.
** If you want to try my hot cross buns, please make version 4 - thank you! **
Hot Cross Buns v.3
(heavily adapted from Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course)
For the candied peel:
100g granulated sugar
For the dough:
150ml lukewarm water
1 tsp golden caster sugar
15g fresh yeast
450g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
4 whole cloves, ground
50g golden caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
50g butter, melted
For the crosses:
1 tbsp plain flour (not strong)
1 tbsp water
Use a vegetable peeler to take big strips of peel off the orange and lemon - try to have as little white on the inside of the strip as possible. Chop into 2-3mm little squares, stacking a few strips together for speed. Place them in a medium pan and add 3-4 cm of cold water. Bring up to a strong boil and let bubble for a few moments until the water is bright yellow. Strain into a bowl, then add more cold water and the peels and repeat. Repeat again, leaving in the strainer. Throw out the bitter yellow water.
Combine the 100ml of water and sugar in the pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved, swirling every now and again. Turn up the heat a little and add the blanched peel. Occasionally brush a little cold water around the sides to stop the sugar crystallizing. Let it bubble away until the peel is translucent, abut 10-15 minutes. Let cool for five minutes then drain the peel off from the syrup, reserving both.
To start the dough, pour the 150ml water into a small bowl, stir in the teaspoon of sugar and crumble the yeast in. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes until frothy. Meanwhile sift the flour, salt, sugar and spices into the bowl of your stand mixer (or a mixing bowl if making by hand). Stir in the dried fruit. Stir the peel into the milk (this stops them sticking). Pour in the frothy yeast mix, warm milk, melted butter and beaten egg. Attach the paddle attachment and mix until you have a combined dough.
Swap the paddle for the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes. (If making by hand make a well in dry to pour the wet into, then slowly pull in to create a dough. Then turn out onto floured surface and hand knead). Place the dough into a lightly oiled big bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1hr 15 mins or until doubled.
Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down. Cut the dough with a sharp knife into 16 pieces. Roll into balls. Line a tin with baking parchment and then arrange the buns on the sheet. Cover again with cling film and leave to rise for 45 minutes until puffy.
Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Combine the flour with the water to create a thick paste (adding a little more water if needed) then scoop it into a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner cut off. Unwrap the buns and pipe the paste over each bun in the cross pattern. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and hollow when tapped. Brush the reserved peel syrup over the buns then remove to a cooling rack.
Serve either hot from the oven with plenty of salted butter or split, toasted and topped with lots more salted butter. They freeze very well.