Hot cross buns are not difficult to make – if you can bake a bread, which we know everyone can, you can make these. Your family will love you for bringing Easter to them, home made!
15g dried yeast (one and a half packets in South African packaging)
450g bread flour
15ml mixed spice
Warm the milk and 50ml water in a small saucepan. You want the milk to be lukewarm which means you must be able to dip your finger into it without it burning you. If you overheat the milk, simply leave it to stand for a while before adding to the rest of your ingredients. This is important as a too warm mixture will kill the yeast and your efforts!
Melt the butter separately.
Pour the milk into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir the mixture well and leave aside.
Add the flour , 5ml salt, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar to a mixing bowl.
Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients.
Now give the yeast mixture another good stir and pour that in as well.
Beat the egg in a separate bowl and add it to the mixture. Mix with a spatula until you have something resembling a rough dough.
Tip onto a dusted work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Oil a large mixing bowl and place your dough in it. Cover with a damp tea towel and put it aside to prove. I put mine into a drawer next to my oven where it is warmish and no draughts can get to it, but that’s just me! The dough should double in size and will take about 1 – 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 190℃ and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Once the dough has doubled in size, dust a work surface and transfer the dough to it.
Knock out the air by kneading the dough for 1 – 2 minutes.
Sprinkle the raisins over it and knead for another 2 minutes. Some of the raisins will come out of the dough while you knead – simply poke them back in.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Place them on the baking sheet with a 1cm space between them to allow for expansion.
Cover the tray with a tea towel and leave for 30 minutes.
Mix the 45ml flour with some water to create a thick paste. This is what you are going to use to create the traditional crosses on your buns. The paste should go into a piping bag but if you don’t have one you can simply pour it into the “corner” of a plastic bag and snip off the tip, thereby creating your own piping bag.
Once the buns have risen and are ready to go into the oven, pipe a steady line across the entire row of buns. Repeat until you have crosses over each one.
Now place into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden.
Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and while the buns are hot out of the oven, brush them with runny honey.
Leave to cool and enjoy.
May you and yours have a blessed and peaceful Easter.