More Hot Cross Buns..

Here are this year’s hot cross buns!

This year I decided to make the ones from ‘How to Make Bread’ by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. This is such a pretty book, with beautiful step by step photos and clear easy to follow recipes, a good model for anyone aspiring to write a bread book.

I didn’t really need another bread book but it was a want and if you visit Ray’s blog you can see some of the lovely breads that Ray is making from it, which is why I was tempted to buy it. The book gives quantities in grams and in cups, which is useful for those who prefer cups* and has a good range and selection of breads to make and I am looking forward to trying a few more of the recipes soon. Got to be more adventurous with my books!

These buns use a mix of soft and strong flours and a delicately spiced citrus glaze that is dead easy to make.

I liked the mixture of raisins and currants in the first batch we made. Brian liked these buns so much that he started a second batch when I went out; he added some finely chopped home made crystallised peel to the mix of fruits as he is very fond of mixed peel.

We ran out of unwaxed fruits, so I used these essences as a substitute for zest in the dough.

I noticed that if you add the spices with the dried fruit as in the recipe they are quite hard to get to blend evenly into the final dough. We tried it both ways, once mixing it in with the flour at the beginning and as written in the recipe. I have read that spice added too early to a dough slows down the prove and from my limited experiment here it would seem that is indeed the case. The second batch with the spice mixed in with the flour did take longer to do their final rise.

I also had to bake both batches for longer than the 10 – 15 minutes suggested. The recipe instructs you to preheat the oven to 220º C and then turn it down to 180º  C once you have put them in the oven. However after 15 minutes they were barely colouring  so I gave them another 5 minutes and even then they are not as brown as some people’s are. It might well be my oven, but I think another time I would bake them a little hotter, say at 190 º C.

The crossing paste was a bit runny and so the crosses sort of flattened out rather than stand proud on the top of the bun,  but that is something one can adjust and probably depends on how absorbent your flour is. I quite like them that way as I never liked the hard strip of dough on top of the ones you get in the shops if I’m honest. The glaze dried to a dullish finish so if you want really shiny buns you might have to add some glucose or something like that as well or a sticky syrup. Little Loaf has made some that I was admiring yesterday with a golden syrup glaze which sounds like a great idea!

All these small things apart, these are delectable soft buns with a lovely aroma of star anis and clove as you bite into them. They are frabjous toasted with melting french butter and the very last of my wild cherry jam from two years ago. As I have a big jar of glaze sitting in the fridge now, there may be another batch or two to come….

PS I haven’t written out the recipe in full as it isn’t mine to write out though I have seen it copied out on another site. There are however loads of hot cross bun recipes all over the net and they aren’t really all that different.  You can find Dan Lepard’s delightful stout buns on the Guardian website for example and his new ones this year have cider in them. We don’t have any of these in the house at the moment so I haven’t made them.

 If you experiment with the flours you use then you will get a softer or a chewier bun depending on whether you use stronger or softer flours, lower the temperature and you will also get a softer bun. If you are planning on freezing some, it is a good idea to make this softer sort as you can then reheat them without them going dry.

  Happy Bun Making!

Edit : Batch 3! Easter Monday :  Baked at 190 º C for 20 minutes made with Amaretto Flour from Felin Ganol 

* Lena has made this recipe using the cups version of this and found that the water is far too little for the dough so if you go that route be prepared to adjust the water for this recipe. You can see her detailed comments below. I used the gram weights as is my custom when baking  – so I haven’t tested the volumetric way of making these.

58 thoughts on “More Hot Cross Buns..

  1. ceciliag

    I really really must make some hot cross buns, it is almost too late, I had better get onto it! lovely looking buns and interesting tips about the spices and the rising, c

  2. ceciliag

    Must not muCt.. what am i like!! I really MUST make some hot cross buns and i really MUST proof my work before I push Post!! love celi

    1. Joanna Post author

      shhh… I changed it already, and yes you must muCt make some hot cross buns but make a double batch because if they are good then they are gone in a flash of melty butter and jam, I had some with cheese in the other day, also good. When I comment using the iPad my comments are full of typos and I never see them till too late. ;)

  3. gillthepainter

    What do you get the woman who has everything?
    A new bread book.

    Tony has just asked for hot x buns just like Joannas.
    A hard act to follow, but I’ve refreshed the leaven …. as he wants them for Easter Tuesday :)

    By the way, I prefer your crosses. I can’t be doing with the dental floss effect.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I found this book hard to resist Gill, OK maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Go for those sourdough babies, I bet they will be delicious :)

  4. Misky

    I bought the cider this morning for Dan’s hot cross buns but I forgot the double cream, so I’ll try to pay attention to my shopping list tomorrow and get it sorted. P detests fruit peel, so I’m going to try chopped apricots, which he does like. Thanks for the pointer about the spice!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I really liked these ones a lot and the original version, batch one, used raisins and currants and the citrus taste comes from the essences rather than from any peel. Look forward to your take on Dan’s buns ;)

  5. Suelle

    I think the flatter crosses look very good, and if you’re going on to toast the buns, you don’t want them too dark to start with. In other words, they look perfect to me!

  6. Bridget

    I really enjoy your blog so I hope you do not mind that I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award. Details of the award are on my latest post.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you – I am very touched by your nominating me Bridget, I am not very good at doing awards but I will scoot over and see what is growing on your blog and find out more xx

  7. Ray

    Oh they look good! Hope the book met your expectation. What about that chocolate sourdough recipe? Yum. I just got my copy of Bethesdabasics back after lending it to a colleague and tried the “Five seed and spelt” recipe. Delicious!

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s a sumptuous book so far I have only licked a few pages and this is the first recipe from it I have tried. Glad you have got your Basics back, got to keep track of our favourite books :)

  8. peasepudding

    I haven’t eaten one yet this year let alone baked one! A few days to go to make this happen. Yours look delightful.

    1. Joanna Post author

      They are worth it – I confess I bought a couple the other day and they were 45p each in a proper baker’s and I was a bit surprised and thought hey, I can make these, so I did. I hope you have time to rustle up a few for yourself at some point. You can always make them after Easter too :)

  9. thelittleloaf

    Your buns look beautiful! I prefer a flatter cross – the ones that stand up never really taste of anything so these are perfect :-) Still got a few left from the batch I made this weekend – but will definitely have to bake some more for Easter!

    1. Joanna Post author

      thanks! I just added a little pic from the book of how they are supposed to look and I am a bit baffled by my flat crosses, but it hasn’t stopped us eating them – and I hope we have enough to last till Easter :)

      Just had a flashback to Mellow Bakers two years ago and rushed over to their site. Jeffrey Hamelman made a crossing paste which is quite different from any I’ve ever come across in case you are interested,157.0.html

    1. Joanna Post author

      you would like these ones, go on make some buns…. you know you want to…. join me, join us, become one with the bun….. ;)

  10. teawithhazel

    love your buns children and i are making them together on sunday for our annual anyone welcome easter afternoon tea so i haven’t eaten one yet this year..the price of them in the better bakeries is around $3.50-$4 here so i’d need to take out a loan for the 20 or more buns we need and the ones from the chain bakeries aren’t worth the chewing time..mind you the cost was never the reason i started making them..happy easter to you and brian..xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi jane, I have just edited your name thing as it seems to link to an old wordpress blog that you might have started once upon a time? I am not sure why that is. Anyway I have changed it to go to your blog if someone clicks on it. I can’t believe they cost that much where you live. There is a yawning gap between the prices charged in the supermarkets and the bakeries isn’t there? Anyway thanks for visiting and and you have a lovely Easter – can’t think of a better way to spend a few hours than baking buns either :)

      1. teawithhazel

        thanks jo for the editing thing..i would never have known..wordpress have been fiddling around lately so it’s probably related to that..i now have to sign in with an old wordpress account to comment on posts from a wordpress blog..maybe i need to delete the that’s a clever thought..:)

        1. Joanna Post author

          That’s silly, Can’t you put your regular blog name in the http bit? What happens if you do that? Maybe you just have to do it once, and then I ‘moderate’ it and then after that it works again? Do other people have this issue?

          1. teawithhazel

            i think others have had the problem too..i’ve just deleted my wordpress account so i’ll see what happens when i post this comment..i’ll try your suggestion if it’s still an the way jo i linked to your cheese and onion rolls on a bread post i wrote yesterday..

            1. Joanna Post author

              I just went and looked on the wp forums, you are so right jane, it is a farce and they have made it so that if your email address is linked to a wp account then you have to ‘sign in’ to wp in order to comment. I hope your fix works. I have a feeling Heidi might have the same thing going on too. I will look more closely at other people’s sign ins and alert them if I notice like I did yours. xx

              I will continue this below… in a new comment with more space…

  11. Heidi Post author

    Heidi has sent me her comment via email as there is a glitch in the commenting system that has been going on for a while now, where she tries to post a comment and gets big red letters all over the comment boxes. Is anyone else getting this? Do let me or know if you are.

    Anyway she said ” Hey-ho!
    Beautiful buns on your blog site.
    BIG BIG words all over my comment box- so I’m sending it to you via email.
    My recipes all include potatoes and potato water- and the buns raise close together so only the tops are
    crusted. I think I’d like the ones you made better! They look more like a Bath bun than my Easter rolls.
    I’m going to make mine on Friday!
    Thanks so much for sharing yours!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I haven’t come across the potato recipe ones yet Heidi so many recipes to try – I think Brian would quite happily live on buns especially if they have dried fruit in them. He is the dried fruit fan in the house for sure.

      By the way there is a good version of the Hamelman buns on Susan at Wild Yeast’s site which is written for American bakers trying their hands at these

      1. heidiannie

        The big letters have dissipated so I’m going to have my say!
        I’m going to try the Hamelman buns this year- I’ll let you know how they turn out.
        Hope you have a wonderful Easter, we went from summer weather back to very early spring temps with freeze warnings overnight. Our spring flowers are so confused!

        1. Joanna Post author

          Hi again! We have had just the same, and they had a blizzard in the North East with loads of snow. Fortunately our apple and pear trees hadn’t blossomed quite as the cold came along but who knows how the rest of the Spring/Summer will go with this confusing weather. Brrr, back in sweaters today ….

  12. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Joanna they look lovely… I’m still deciding whether to make them or not this year. I know The Monkeys will scoff them up if I do. Mr Chocolate however still needs a whole lot of convincing on the merits of dried fruit.

  13. hotlyspiced

    What beautiful hot cross buns Joanna. I make mine with currants and raisins too but I haven’t made them with a spiced citrus glaze. That sounds like it would take the hot cross bun to a new dimension – fabulous! xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      I used some of the leftover glaze in a fruit salad I did yesterday, it worked quite well. We decided we like these buns with less spice in the actual dough but the fragrant tops. Hope you are getting settled in to your new home Charlie !

  14. sallybr

    Did I read “stout buns” ? Oh, my…. I am all excited now, as I am on the search for another use for a last bottle of stout staring at me

    lovely buns, Joanna – I made hot cross buns once, but did not think the recipe was that great. Of course, it could be that the baker was the problem… ;-)

  15. Joanna Post author

    my settings

    Dear People who read this blog and want to comment. This is all my settings require and I have that ticked as I don’t believe in anonymous commenting, though this doesn’t preclude using a pseudonym or first name only of course and your email addresses are never shown publicly. You will note I haven’t got the second box ticked. It seems as if WordPress have changed things around and I am going to find out a bit more as it doesn’t seem to be fair on non WordPress users that they have to register with wordpress to comment. I use my google login to comment on blogger and other blogs, so why can’t WordPress reciprocate?

  16. Just A Smidgen

    Well, these turned out very professional looking! I’ve been eyeing these in the bakeries here and denying myself anything I haven’t made from scratch.. now guess what I get to make;) I might just have to pick up that book too!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Go for it! If you line the buns up then you can just run the lines over the top, like when you walk over the rooftops of parked cars ;)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Kari! Thanks for visiting :) I think that’s a good idea to leave the peel out, one should always customise ingredients like dried fruits and seasonings to suit. These have a nice citrus taste from the glaze without needing to add any peel at all.

  17. C

    They look really lovely – I really, really want to make HCBs this year, but will have to palm most off on neighbours as no work until Tuesday now and freezer stuffed to bursting. Hmm, not sure what neighbours will think!

    I noticed a while ago that I’m now logged into a wordpress account to comment here, and on Celia’s blog and a few other WP that I visit. I didn’t even know I had a account, so they must have fiddled with something. Hence why I’m now appearing as bakecakecrumbs rather than Caroline as on Blogger blogs. Very confusing.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi C, I have manually edited your login for the above comment and included the normal link to your blog and I can only apologise that WordPress have done this. I saw Celia had put something from WordPress in her sidebar about this issue. It would seem that if you have ever registered for either a wordpress user id or for a gravatar then this is what it now expects you to use. I dont know if they are going to change things back to how they were before. I will try to manually change people back to how they should be as I go along, providing I know of course, what their usual blog name is etc. If I was your neighbour I would be delighted to be given home made hcbs. Have a Happy Easter :)

  18. Jan

    Lovely jubbly buns Joanna. I’ve just made some and scoffed two of them but they were a bit disappointing. I added all the liquid in one go; the dough was unmanagably sticky and consequently I had to add more flour. Along with raisins and candied orange these buns had diced apple and lemon in them which cooked first in cinnamon,sugar, water and lemon juice. The fruit was taken out and the liquid simmered down to a syrup which became a quite jammy glaze. I suspect it was the jammy glaze which caused my jaws to bite and my claws to catch:) I’ve just been catching up on your posts – does the red lily beetle have no natural predator? And I love “essence of dog” – I’m sure that little fellow has been in an earlier post?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Morning Jan! – I wonder if it was the apple in the buns that made the dough a bit wet? Apples vary so much in texture. Maybe they would be better layered onto a rectangle of dough and rolled up, chelsea bun style? I don’t know about predators for the red ones, I wonder if their colour is a warning that they taste bad and to stay away as well as a come hither signal to their fellows?

      And yes I think there was a pic of the loping Len a while back, I am getting repetitive blogitis I suspect, it will be two years on Sunday since I started this caper. Happy Easter to you and yours and thanks fo reading as ever xx Jo

  19. Gregoire Michaud

    Very nice baking Joanna!
    I stuffed myself with hot cross buns already, but I could do with a few of your toasted ones, covered with jam! :) Happy Easter!

    1. Joanna Post author

      A very Happy Easter to you to Gregoire, thanks for visiting me. i have been admiring your fabuloos creations for Easter :)

  20. Sincerely, Emily

    Beautiful bun! you always make me hungry! – that is a compliment and not a criticism!

    I have had problems commenting with WP for several months. Some bloodspots let me others don’t and I end up using with my google acct and then it won’t take people directly to my blog OR I use the name/URL if it is an option. At least I found a way to be able to comment on those blogs I want to. it can be quite a process though. And I do seem to have to be logged into WP to comment w/WP – fine with me, just takes a while to figure out all the “rules” esp when they change from time to time.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Emily, wishing you a very Happy Easter ! It is a bit of a challenge commenting.Maybe it is a response to spam from blogspot, wordpress et al? I find that commenting from my google account seems to work, though I am not sure if it links to this blog always. My pet hates are the ones with very long Captcha phrases, and I found the Disqus system fairly incomprehensible too, though I got there in the end.

  21. Lena

    How much liquid (water/milk) did you use in making the dough for these buns?

    I checked out the online copy of the Hadjiandreou’s recipe as it appears on the Projectfoodie website, and find that the suggested 3/4 cup water (about 180 ml), unless it’s a typo or incorrect conversion from metric system into volume, is just a tad too little and would produce a stiff dough (45% hydration).

    I made these buns, but increased the dough hydration substantially to about 57-60% to make a nice, soft dough (replaced water with milk as well and soaked dried fruit in a mixture of rum and orange liqueur). To improve browning, I baked the buns at 220C throughout (15 min) without bothering to lower the temperature to 180C.

    Was very satisfied with the final result.

    Thanks and Happy Easter!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Lena, it sounds as if you made a different hot cross bun in the end! Most recipes seem to include milk like you did. I didn’t include the link to the projectfoodie site in the end because it was all in cups ( I don’t use cups) and seemed to be a straight lift from the book.

      I made the buns in metric as per the book and the water weight given is 200 ml/g or 3/4 cup. The flour conversion they give is 200 g to 1 3/4 cups flour. I don’t know what your cups of flour weigh.

      Looking at the metric numbers in the recipe the water to flour ratio is therefore 50%. You can see my dough in the picture in the post above. I didn’t add any extra liquid. I think the key thing is to use the two types of flours as in the recipe – if you use an all strong bread flour it will want more liquid. This recipe has half and half soft and strong flour. Hope this helps :)

  22. Lena

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Looks like the conversion from the metric system into volume for water by the book’s US/UK editors wasn’t quite correct. In the US, one cup is about 227 ml (or up to 240 ml if one is more casual about measuring ingredients), so 3/4 cup would actually be equal to 170-180 ml, NOT 200 ml as required in the original version of the recipe. Those 30-40 missing ml make a big difference in a bread formula and final consistency of the dough. I started out with 180 ml (based on the suggested 3/4 cup water in Projectfoodie version which, unfortunately, didn’t bother to publish ingredient amounts by weight), and then realized that MORE LIQUID would have to be added to make a soft dough, and not a brick. I probably added even more liquid than the author recommended (about 57-60% hydration), but that’s my personal preference. BTW, the recently published Paul Hollywood’s hot cross bun recipe on BBC Good Food website also translates into 60% hydration.

    As far as flour is concerned, I followed the author’s recommendation. But you can achieve the same percentage of protein as in combining equal quantities of a typical UK supermarket quality plain flour (about 10.5% protein) with a typical bread flour (about 12.6% protein) by just using wholly either the Waitrose organic plain flour (11.3% protein – quite higher than average for UK plain flours) or their Leckford Estate plain flour (11.8% protein). This eliminates the need for having to use both the plain and the bread flours to achieve the level of gluten in the 11+% range. I like this level of gluten, as it creates a good rise without toughening up the final product or making it squishy-soft.

    1. Joanna Post author

      We made them again today using a lovely stoneground English Amaretto flour (12.4% protein) from Felin Ganol – baked them a bit hotter, made the crossing paste a little dryer and they came out beautifully, soft enough for OH’s 86 year old Mum who we took them over to this afternoon :)

      Amaretto Flour Hot Cross Buns

    1. Joanna Post author

      I think yours look delicious and they would be gone in a flash if they were in this house, the bun monster would carry them off to his lair… ;)

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