With Easter fast approaching, there will not be many more opportunities to bake Hot Cross Buns in the true spirit of Easter. Having weakened last year and strayed from the true Hot Cross Bun theme with a batch of Hot Cross Chocolate Muffins, the troops have been hoping for a repeat performance. The cocoa in Karen Martini’s Hot Cross Buns seemed like a suitable compromise.
Converted the recipe to a sourdough version, using 270mls spring water, 520g bread flour, and 160g starter in place of the 350ml milk and 600g flour listed in the ingredients. Left the mixture to autolyse at room temperature for an hour, before stretching, folding and letting the dough rest for an hour three times over. Shaped the dough into 12 balls, arranged them in a ceramic dish dribbled with a little vegetable oil, rolling to coat, before covering them and leaving them to prove in the refrigerator overnight. Removed them from the fridge about an hour before baking, then transferred them to a baking tray while the oven preheated to 220ºC. Instinctively brush the buns with beaten egg before they go into the oven now, add a grind of salt to the cross batter, and brush with a tablespoon of golden caster sugar dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water as they come out of the oven.