The best thing about Easter for me has to be the freshly baked hot cross buns, yes, that's right, better than the chocolate eggs! This recipe is really simple and should have you making perfect buns in no time. I usually prefer raisins in my buns, but when I went to bake I realised I was all out, these ones were made with chocolate instead.
300ml full fat milk
500g strong bread flour (plus another 75g for the cross)
1 teaspoon salt
75g caster sugar
7g sachet fast action yeast
100g raisins (or chocolate drops)
golden syrup for glaze (or marmalade for an orangy kick)
Prep Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: Makes 12 buns
Bring the milk to a boil and add the butter, stir through
Let the milk cool down until it is warm but not cold and add the yeast, whisk to mix through. Let sit for a minute
Mix the flour, salt and sugar and sift into a bowl
Make a well in the center of the flour and crack the egg in
Beat the egg with a fork for a few seconds then pour in the milk
Using the fork mix the milk and egg with the flour with a circular motion, bringing the mix together
Tip out onto a flour surface and knead for 10 minutes, until there are no lumpy bits in the dough and it is smooth and bouncy. You will probably need to add more flour, a handful or two but use your eye. You want to keep the dough as moist as possible but also stop it from sticking to the surface as you need.
Once finished kneading, lightly oil a bowl and place the dough inside, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for about an hour, or until it has double inside
Remove from the bowl and work in the raisins (or chocolate) Knead for another few minutes to make sure that the raisins are evenly dispersed in the dough
Place back in the bowl and allow to rise for another hour, with the damp cloth on top
Remove from the bowl and divide into 12 pieces. Knead each piece lightly and form into balls, place in a tray with the tray lightly dusted with flour to stop the buns sticking
Cover with the towel again and let rise for another hour
Before baking combine 75g plain flour with 5 tablespoons water, it should have a pasty consistency but still be slightly runny.
Add the paste into a piping bag and run over the buns to make your crosses, I suggest doing a run straight down on each bun and then switching and doing the other side of the cross
Bake in a oven pre heated to 180c for about 20 minutes, it may be slightly less or more, make sure they are lightly browned (see my picture for guide) If unsure you can always pop one open and make sure it is not doughy inside
Heat up a little golden syrup in a pan and brush over the scones when they come out of the oven, this will give them a nice glaze and also add some complexity to the flavour
Serve with lots of butter, the sooner the better!