Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Raw Sourdough BunsAnother batch of Hot Cross Buns, this time using the leftover starter from the weekly pizza base regimen. The recipe for this batch is an adaptation of Perfect Hot Cross Buns, borrowing ideas of treacly flavours,  tweaked spices, and neat raising arrangements and times. Used rice bran oil throughout the process.

Starter
About 30g sourdough leaven
About 40g bread flour
About 30g spring water
Two nights before you’ll bake the buns, combine leaven, flour and water to make up 100g of starter (that is, approximately one-sixth of the weight of flour and liquid from the original recipe). These quantities are quite small, so it’s tricky to adhere to a 60-40 flour to water ratio, but the desired consistency is a paste that is thick enough to capture fermentation bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove for 24 hours.
Dough
250ml boiling water
Large pinch of saffron
The night before you’ll eat the buns, steep the saffron in boiling water then leave to cool to room temperature. Hesitated about including egg or milk in the dough, as the final overnight raise would be at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator; consequently avoided egg and dairy ingredients. Additional water compensates for the moisture that would have otherwise come from eggs.
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons molasses
Strain the cooled saffron-infused water into the starter, stir in oil and molasses.
400g bread flour
1 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and mixed spice
Combine flour and spices, make a well and pour in starter, mix into a sticky dough. Cover and rest for an hour.
150g currants
50g mixed peel
half a teaspoon salt flakes
Sprinkle work surface with flour, tip dough onto flour, then stretch dough to make a large rectangle. Strew combined fruit and salt over dough, then fold dough in thirds over filling to enclose. Give dough a gentle knead, oil the bowl, return dough to bowl while turning to coat in oil, then cover and rest for another hour.
Prepare a ceramic dish by lining it with baking paper and dribbling a little oil in the base. Wipe work surface down, and spread about 1 teaspoon of oil over. Tip dough onto surface, knead lightly and divide dough into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and arrange on baking paper, turning to coat in oil as you do. Cover and leave to raise overnight. Used a ceramic dish in case any corrosion or rusting started under the buns while they were raising.
Baking
1 egg whisked with a little milk
half a cup flour
Preheat oven to 190°C. Make a paste with the flour, a grind of salt, and tablespoon or so of cool water. Brush buns with egg wash, then pipe crosses over. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Lift the buns out of their dish about 15 minutes into the baking time onto a metal tray to be sure that the buns are browning evenly.
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar Dissolve caster sugar in 1 tablespoon of hot water in a small bowl. Brush glaze over buns while very hot. Enjoy!
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