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Recipe: Bread Ahead’s famous hot cross buns

By Felicity Williams on 1st April 2021

For an essential Easter feasting treat, look no further than the traditional hot cross bun; they’re sweet, delicately spiced, and mark the end of lent. Known for their hot cross buns, expert bakers Bread Ahead share their recipe so you can whip up these delightful treats at home.

Ingredients

Makes 12 buns

For the buns

250g strong white bread flour
3g salt
40g caster sugar
6g mixed spice
3g nutmeg
30g unsalted butter
40g sultanas
25g mixed peel
30g peeled, cored and diced apple
8g fresh yeast (4 dried yeast)
140g full fat milk

For the cross

100g strong white flour
A pinch of caster sugar
A pinch of fine sea salt

For the glaze

100g caster sugar
50ml lemon juice
100g water

Bread Ahead
Image credit: Bread Ahead

Method  

1. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub in the butter to form a sandy consistency.

2. Mix together the yeast and milk, add to the dry ingredients and fold until combined.

3. Turn out your dough on to the work surface and knead. Hold onto your dough with one hand and with the other hand stretch and fold it for around five minutes until the dough is nice and smooth.

4. Stretch out your dough into a pizza shape and add your fruit combination in the centre, fold over your dough into a Cornish pasty shape covering your fruit.

5. Gently start to roll and fold your dough till the fruits are evenly distributed. Once distributed, place the dough in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature for one hour or until doubled in size.

6. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the mixture on a lightly floured surface and cut into 65g pieces. Roll each one into a smooth ball and place on the baking tray, leaving plenty of room as they will spread out. Cover with clingfilm and leave to double in size.

7. While the buns are proving make the cross mixture and the glaze. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and 100g water until you have a smooth paste, pour into a piping bag with a 4mm plain nozzle.

8. Place the sugar, lemon juice and 100g water in a small pan. Bring to the boil and simmer until the temperature reaches 105°C, or about five minutes.

9. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.

10. Once the buns have proved, pipe a cross on the top of each one and bake for 14-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. After two minutes, brush with the bun glaze.

11. Serve warm with lots of butter.

Check out the Bread Ahead baking courses and get involved in their national baking competition, The Bread Ahead Great British Bake In.