Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns always remind me of lent and while I've had them before from a grocery store or bakery, I've never baked them myself. They are a sweet bun with spices and the dough smells similar to cinnamon rolls. They are typically made during lent and eaten particularly on Good Friday with the cross on top symbolizing the crucifixion. So, given the time of year, this was my challenge this past week and it was definitely more challenging than I thought for as simple as they seem to be. They require yeast for leavening and you just need to be patient and go through the steps. However, they were very fun to make and the outcome was hearty and delicious.

With using yeast for the leavening (to allow the dough to rise), it does require a hot liquid to be added to activate the yeast. I heated a cup of milk to 110 degrees and added in with the yeast and other ingredients. Once all the ingredients to the dough were mixed together, it needs to sit to allow enough time for it to rise. This time allows the yeast to emit enough carbon dioxide to allow it to rise. Here is my dough before and after rising - it worked!

After rising, I kneeded the dough a little and then measured out 24 (somewhat) equal pieces. I used the help of my kitchen scale to make sure they were pretty close with each being around 2 oz. so I didn't have different sized buns when I baked them.

Now it was time to place my 24 pieces of dough in the baking dish and wait yet again. The dough is to sit for another hour or so to rise before baking. Here are my individual buns rolled out into balls and then after rising. Yeah - it worked again!

Before baking, I traced the cross on top of each bun with a sharp knife to guide where the icing should be and brushed on an egg wash for a little glisten. They were to bake until golden brown on top and then I let them cool before taking them apart (I resisted temptation) and they broke apart perfectly. I mixed together a simple icing and chose to pipe the crosses on top. They were worth the wait and were great with a cup of tea. I'd take 40 days of these buns!

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