Hot Cross Buns 2014

Raw Hot Cross BunsEaster is almost here, so have been mulling over Hot Cross Bun Recipes. Developed an express method using leftover starter from the weekly pizza base regimen. The bun routine starts on Thursday evening, shaping takes place on Friday evening, followed by baking on Saturday morning. ‘Express’ might seem like an oxymoron to describe a three-day process, but the hands-on effort required is really quite minimal. Dividing the dough into 14 portions means that they can be arranged in a circle: start with four buns across the centre of the tin, 3 along either side of that row, then tuck the last two rows of two into the remaining spaces.

Day 1
About 40g sourdough leaven
235g spring water
400g bread flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tablespoons sugar
Pour water into leftover starter’s container. Stir to dissolve starter and any smears or scrapes sticking to the sides of the container. Combine flour, spices, and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well then stir dissolved starter into flour to make a soft dough. Cover and leave to stand for an hour, then turn onto a lightly floured bench and knead briefly. Drizzle a little oil into the bowl, return dough, and turn to cover surface with a slick of oil. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until you are ready to shape the dough into buns.
Day 2
3/4 cup currants
1/4 cup mixed peel
Line a 24cm (9 inch) round cake tin with baking paper and dribble a little oil in the base. On a lightly floured surface, stretch dough, strew with currants and peel, then fold dough over to encase fruit, dusting off as much flour as possible. Knead lightly then divide dough into fourteen portions. Shape each portion into a ball, and arrange in prepared tin. As each ball goes into the pan, roll it in the oil in the base of the pan so that the surface of each ball is covered with a thin film of oil. Cover cake tin and leave buns to raise at room temperature overnight.
Day 3
1 egg whisked with a little water
half a cup flour
Preheat oven to 220°C. Make a paste with the flour, a grind of salt, and tablespoon or so of cool water, then spoon the mixture into a bag ready for piping crosses onto buns. Brush buns with egg wash, then pipe crosses over. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 200°C and bake buns for a further 15 minutes until well browned.
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Dissolve caster sugar and spices in 1 tablespoon of hot water from a recently boiled kettle in a small bowl. Brush glaze over buns after removing them from the oven and while still very hot. Remove from tin and cool on a rack. Enjoy warm, cold, or toasted.
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