hot cross buns

Celebrate Easter with this homemade hot cross buns recipe

Swisher Post - 10.04.2020

The best way to celebrate Easter in lockdown is trying your hand at baking hot cross buns.

Unfortunately, hot cross buns are not whitelisted in South Africa’s gazetted essential goods. So, more than likely, you would have run into a snag trying to pick up a tray or two at the stores recently.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, grocery stores in South Africa have been restricted to restocking items that we can’t live without like sanitary goods, bread, milk and vegetables.

Baked goods can be purchased but it’s seldom you’ll find a tray of hot cross buns. Considering that we are at the start of the Easter weekend, there is a high probability that they’re already sold out.

If anything, this nationwide lockdown has encouraged people to adapt to the DIY culture. If you can’t find it in-store, do it yourself. That’s the pragmatic approach in these trying times.

Try this hot cross buns recipe at home

Baking is also a fun activity. It is the perfect way to bond with your children who may be showing symptoms of cabin fever 15 days into lockdown.

To commemorate this year’s unorthodox Easter weekend, we have compiled a simple-to-follow hot cross buns recipe for you to try.

What you will need:

For the bunsFor the crossFor the glaze
300ml full-fat milk
, plus 2 tbsp more
75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting3 tbsp apricot jam
50g butter
500g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
75g caster sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
1 egg, beaten
75g sultanas
50g mixed peel
zest 1 orange
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Follow these six easy steps, developed by master baker Paul Hollywood, to make a perfect batch of crispy fresh hot cross buns:

  1. Bring 300ml full-fat milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add 50g butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put 500g strong bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 75g caster sugar and 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add 1 beaten egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
  2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
  3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in 75g sultanas, 50g mixed peel, zest of 1 orange, 1 finely chopped apple and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.
  4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.
  5. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix 75g plain flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  6. Gently heat 3 tbsp apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.