Hot-cross buns! Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons,
One a penny, two a penny,
But if you have none of these little elves,
Then you may eat them all yourselves.
So goes the nursery song, describing the traditional English spiced buns that were eaten on Good Friday. (For a bit more history, check out my last year's hot cross buns post here.) Reading between the lines, it appears that if you have any hot cross buns, you are supposed to give them away. The preferred recipients appear to be any daughters that you might have. Failing that, hand the buns over to your sons. No children? You get to eat the buns yourself!
I baked a big batch of buns this year, and by chance my daughters were visting home this week! I sent most of the buns home with my older daughter to share with her Easter weekend guests.
- Hot cross buns are a kind of celebration bread, filled with fruit and spices. The smell of this dough reminded me of some of the celebration breads that I've baked in from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.
- The recipe for these hot cross buns is from Dan Lepard, part of his "How To Bake" weekly series for The Guardian. I love to check the site each Satuday to see what Dan is baking up. Ingredients for these buns include stout, tea, raisins, spices, and candied citrus peel. It sounded like an intriguing combination of ingredients, so I was very eager to see how the buns would turn out.
- This is the first time that I've followed a Dan Lepard recipe that employs an overnight pre-ferment; in this case stout, yeast, some of the flour, and the spices are mixed together, covered and put aside overnight.
- In a separate bowl, the raisins and peel soak in black tea for the same length of time. I ran out of regular raisins, so I measured out a combination of raisins, golden raisins, and currants.
- A big bag of homemade candied citrus peel (lemon,lime, tangerine, orange) was resting in my freezer and I was very excited to find a great use for it. (I posted about the candied peel recipe that I use here)
- The next day, the dough is mixed in typical Dan Lepard style: combine all ingredients, rest briefly, knead for 10 seconds every 10 minutes (3 cycles) then shape, rise, bake.
- I had run out of bread flour (it happens, even to bread bakers!), so I combined 2/3 all purpose flour with 1/3 high gluten flour (approximately).
- I measured out 100g for each bun, and ended up with 20 1/2. If I'd been a little more thoughtful when I was working, I could have avoided that half roll, but warm from the oven the little bun made for a great taste test for my daughter.
- Last year's buns featured a piped cross made from icing, but the crosses on these buns are a flour and water paste. After the buns come out of the oven they are brushed with a sugar glaze.
- I'm submitting these buns for Bread Baking Day #28. The theme this month is "Bread Buns" and is hosted by Rachel of Tangerine's Kitchen. Rachel will be posting a roundup, so be sure to check back to see the wonderful bun-ny bread!
The happy little half-bun, in bad artificial light!
After the rolls had mostly cooled, my daughter ALE tasted the little half roll. Here's her reaction: "yum. That's good. (pause) That's really good." After a few more bites, she gave a more complete assessment: "I like the glaze. I can taste the stout. I usually don't like fruit in breads, but I'm dealing with it. That candied peel is good."
She shared the buns with her friends, and reported that they made a big hit. Her boyfriend loved the peel and the complex variety of flavors.
Wishing a blessed Easter to all who observe the holy day.