It is that time again when you start to wake up to birds singing outside the window. It is definitely spring , whether officially acknowledged or not. Mind you, this is also the season when the eyes are watery and nose is itchy , but that is not what this post is about.
Our favorite this season is the hot cross buns. We end up baking hot cross buns a few times in March and April. Today’s version is a healthy makeover of the traditional Hot Cross Buns. This one is not as pretty as the ones you see at the local bakery. There are a lot of dried fruits in there, trying to burst out 🙂 .
These healthy hot cross buns are are made with part whole wheat flour, has less butter and sugar. Now if you are allergic to eggs, or avoiding eggs for any other reason, this is your day – these buns are indeed egg free. Isn’t that reason enough to try these out ?
The bread dough for these buns is the standard sweet dough minus a little sugar. The dough is a little more wet that usual and I usually knead the dry fruits into the dough. The fruits absorb a little of the moisture. Add the fruits towards the end of kneading – and knead for only a minute or so , just long enough to distribute the fruits evenly. Form the dough into a ball, cover and let rest till doubled . It usually takes about an hour in a warm environment.
Once the dough has doubled , punch it down and divide into 12 equal portions. Form each into a ball and arrange in a baking tin about 1 cm apart. Cover and let these rise for about 30 minutes , or until almost doubled in volume.
If planning to place the cross there are a few options. One is a simple pastry cross which is piped on top and baked . The other option is to pipe on a icing sugar cross over the baked buns . My family is not big fans of icing on the buns , so we either opt for no cross or pastry crosses .
Pastry crosses are simple – mix in flour, water and some sugar to a thick paste and pipe over the buns . A ratio of 3 to 4 tablespoons of flour , 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water is what I use . Pipe the crosses on just before putting the buns in the oven.
While the buns are rising , pre heat the oven to 375°F. Place a small metal trey in the bottom rack of the oven. Place some ice cubes in metal trey as the buns are placed in the oven. Reduce the heat to 350°F as soon as the buns are in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes till the top of the buns are lightly browned.
Remove the buns from the oven and lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter . Cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Few notes for bread nerds :
The flour is used in 2:1 ratio of AP/Bread Flour to WW by weight. The dough hydration is around 70%. Yeast at 2% and salt at 1.75% by weight.
Feeling more traditional ? how about these traditional hot cross buns ?