X is for Hot X Buns
I've almost made my way through the alphabet for my A-Z baking challenge. X was proving to be a bit of a challenge, I couldn't for the life of me think of what to make. Then with Easter approaching, my husband suggested I put a spin on things and make Hot X Buns. It ticks off the letter X and we get to enjoy some fresh, hot cross buns. Nothing beats home made.
The only thing I would change about this recipe is the quantity of spice. I couldn't taste much spice in the buns, so I would add in 2 teaspoons of all spice next time & see if that works.
These take a fair bit of time to make. Around 2 - 2.5 hours for prep & proving before you bake them for 20-25 mins. So plan ahead if you want these to be ready for afty tea!
- Mix flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice, salt & currants in a large bowl. Be careful to separate the yeast from the salt - I usually place salt, yeast & sugar in separate corners of the bowl.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, then add milk & stir. Heat gently for a minute or so, then remove from heat.
- Lightly beat two eggs in a separate bowl, then add to the dry mixture.
- Add the melted butter & milk to the dry ingredients - then using a flat-blade knife (I used a bread & butter knife) mix everything until almost combined. For the last bit, get in there with your hands & give everything a quick knead to combine the last bits of flour. Be sure to clean the bowl with the dough so that you get everything from the bottom & sides.
- Lightly dust your work bench with flour, then turn the dough out. Set the bowl aside to use later.
- Now it's time for a work out! Knead the dough for 10 minutes - keep an eye on the time so you don't over knead it. After 10 minutes the dough should be smooth. Keep adding a little sprinkle of flour here & there to the bench so the dough doesn't stick - but don't overdo it. You don't want to incorporate too much flour.
- Tip some oil into the bowl you used to mix the dough, then rub it all around the bottom & sides so it's well greased. Place the dough back in, cover the bowl with cling film & then leave it somewhere warm for 1-1.5 hours until the dough has doubled in size (remember to put a timer on so you don't lose track of time, as there is such a thing as over-proving dough). Somewhere sunny, away from draughts would be ideal - or do what I did, pop the oven on the absolute lowest temperature possible and place the dough inside to prove. For those of you with a hot water cylinder cupboard - this is an ideal place to prove dough.
- Grab two baking trays, give them a quick spray with baking spray & then line the tops of each with non-stick baking paper.
- Grab your bowl with the dough, remove the cling film & punch the dough down to push the air out of it & return it to its original size. Sprinkle a little more flour on your workbench, tip the dough out & then knead lightly for 30 seconds.
- Divide the dough into twelve pieces - I weighed mine at about 120 grams each (you want twelve in total).
- Shape each piece into a ball, then place them on your baking trays - making sure to leave a gap of around 1cm in between. Cover the buns with more cling film, then return to the warm place to prove for a further 30 minutes until doubled in size.
- Pre-heat your oven to 190C static or 170C fan bake.
- Next, whip up the flour paste by mixing the flour & water together until you have a pipe-able consistency (like you would with icing). Grab a piping bag or snap-lock bag & cut a corner off (only make a small snip, so you don't have too much paste flowing out when you go to pipe it on).
- Rescue the buns from their warm hiding place & then spoon the paste into your piping bag & pipe an 'x' onto each bun.
- It's finally time to bake them! Place the buns in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- While the buns are cooking, make the glaze by mixing water & sugar in a small saucepan & heating over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Remove the buns from the oven & brush with the glaze while they are still warm.
- Now, this next step is very important: enjoy a bun straight from the oven with butter or marg. Even better, boil the jug & make yourself a cuppa to enjoy it with as a reward for your hard work!