Monthly Archives: April 2014

Hot Cross Buns

I’ve always been put off making Hot Cross Buns because of the crosses.  I am fairly confident with buns now – I do a pretty good Chelsea Bun, with an enriched sourdough, and am quite adventurous in fillings and spices – so thought it was time to add a bit of piping to my baking.

Chelsea Buns, baked in square and round tins, with a little extra!

Chelsea Buns, baked in square and round tins, with a little extra!

I thought I would use some Very Strong White with some Strong White and a mix of sourdough starter and instant yeast to generate the dough and give it a bit more flavour; and I soaked the dried ingredients in tea and spices overnight before mixing them in.  The crosses were made with a mix of gram and plain white flour, mixed with an equal weight of water, and piped using a piping syringe.

Overall, they were … OK.  I think a higher protein content on the flours would help and a richer dough, with more butter and two eggs instead of one.

Hot Cross Buns - batch 1 cooling and batch 3 waiting (batch 2 is in the oven!)

Hot Cross Buns – batch 1 cooling and batch 3 waiting (batch 2 is in the oven!)

Experiments with a lump of dough

I often tell people about the flexibility of sourdough and the longevity of a piece of dough.  So I thought I would see what I could do when I ended up with too much milk in the house.

I made a simple sourdough starter, but with milk instead of water.  I had seen a recipe for a Cypriot flatbread, where yoghurt and milk are used in the dough, and an ellipse of dough is folded over some grated haloumi cheese and fresh mint and fried; so I took some of the dough, added yoghurt and made the flatbreads.  They were quite good.

I added some flour and milk to the rest of the dough, tore off a lump and made a sourdough loaf.

With the rest, I added eggs, butter and flour, tore off a lump and made a tarte flambee, rolling it out into a tray-size flatbread and covering it with a mix of ricotta cheese and creme frais, which is topped with finely chopped onion, bacon and grated nutmeg.

With the remainder of the dough, I tore off a big lump, added sugar, milk and flour, and let it rest for a while before roling it out, brushing it with melted butter and spices, adding soaked currants, sultanas and glace cherries, rolling it up and cutting it into buns.  The dough is now four days old.

The next day, I bake the buns.  They are delicious.

Matured sourdough buns

Matured sourdough buns

The sourdough was wonderfully rich, soft and flavoursome.  An excellent bun.  So good, in fact, that by the time I remembered to photograph them, there were only these left!

There was a piece of enriched dough left, sans sugar, which I made again into the Cypriot flatbread.  This time, with the richer, softer dough, the flatbreads were spongier and were very tasty.