Tradition, meets trendy. Hello spiced, sweet, doughy, fruity goodness!
Hot cross buns are an Easter classic here in the UK, dating back to the 14th century at the earliest, although their roots could be linked back as far as the Romans. Marking bread with a cross has been seen in folklore and superstition throughout many cultures over the years, with these tea time treats just being the latest, Christianity-approved incarnation. Whether or not you celebrate Easter, this is a great way to use up the last of that winter dried fruit in preparation for the coming Spring.
I recently started making sourdough after a long hiatus and I thought this would be a great way to use some of my starter, as well as adding a little tang and complexity to what might be seen as a frumpy, old-fashioned dish. The texture seems to come out a little chewier too. If you don't have a sourdough starter, just replace it with a 50/50 mix of flour and water, and stir a sachet of yeast into the mix. Your rising times will probably be faster too.
In place of the mixed fruit and peel usually present, I kept things simple with raisins and a bit of orange extract, but use whatever dried fruits you fancy. I also went heavy on the spices, which I highly recommend!
Although time consuming, this recipe is pretty hands off and hey, what else is there to do right now? It's simply a case of mix, wait, knead, wait, shape, wait, bake, ice, eat! Got all that?
Sourdough Hot Cross Buns with Lemon Crosses Vegan friendly.
prep time 25 minutes
cook time 25 minutes
total time most of the day
For the dough:
1 cup sourdough starter or 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup flour & a sachet of yeast
1 cup milk (I used soy), plus extra for glazing
4 cups of white bread flour (aka strong flour or high protein flour)
1.5 cups raisins or mixed dried fruit of choice
1 teaspoon orange extract, or the zest of one orange or lemon
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
0.5 teaspoons ground ginger
0.5 teaspoons ground allspice
0.25 teaspoons ground cardamom
0.5 teaspoons ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, melted (I used a dairy free sunflower spread)
3 tablespoons golden syrup, agave, or maple syrup
3 tablespoons bourbon (or brewed tea if you don't use alcohol)
1 tablespoon medium ground salt
For the crosses:
0.5 cups icing sugar or powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Serve warm with butter and a pot of tea. Some people even use it to make a cheese sandwich! The leftovers can be used to make a fabulous bread pudding.
Mix all of the dough ingredients in a bowl until they are fully combined.
Let the mix rest for 30 minutes.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until very elastic and smooth.
Let it rise for 3-5 hours, or until about 1.5 times the original size.
Form balls from the dough.
Let them prove for an hour while preheating the oven to max.
Brush the buns with milk and put in the oven, turning it down to 200c (390f).
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile, make the icing by mixing the sugar and juice to form a thick but drippable consistency.
Let the buns cool for at least 20 minutes before drizzling crosses over them.