Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hot Cross Buns

I'm not hot. Nor am I cross. And I am ready to make these fabulous buns. The original recipe belongs to Allison Robicelli. Tasting Table amends her version. It lives on my blog in this third adaptation. The bulk of the process is the same. But I have left out a whole bunch of complications.

As always with sweet bread you need yeast, hot milk, eggs, butter and flour. The recipe has an unusual method of leavening..that is to leave a shaggy dough to rise in a warm place. Not quite convinced I peer at the dough often. I am convinced after a couple of hours, as it looks light and fluffy. Soft butter and eggs are kneaded into the dough. The technique is unfamiliar to me as I watch in amazement as the dough hook work its magic. Once again I divert from the recipe which calls for twelve buns. My sheet pans have twenty four smaller buns. Another short rise lets the buns double up. Brushed with egg wash, they bake in a hot oven to emerge golden brown. You get a textured bun, one that looks brown and crusty but really is soft and flaky. 

Adapted from Tasting Table
Makes 22-24 small buns

1 cup Milk 
1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon active dry Yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt 
2 Eggs
7 tablespoons soft Butter 
1 Egg
1 tablespoon cold Water 

3/4 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 tablespoon Lemon Zest
1-2 teaspoons Water

Heat milk till warm.

Add yeast to milk and stir. Cover bowl and leave be for 5 minutes.

Stir in flour, raisins, sugar and salt. Mix. You should have a shaggy dough. Cover with a towel and leave in aware place for 2 hours.

Put dough into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a dough hook, knead dough for a few minutes.

Break eggs into a bowl and beat for a few minutes. 

Add eggs to dough.

Add butter to dough one tablespoon at a time. You might have to use a spatula to direct pieces of butter in to the dough. Once all the butter is added, turn the speed up to medium and knead dough for a few minutes. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl and glisten. 

Line 2 sheetpans with parchment or silpat sheets.

Scoop out pieces of dough the size of a lemon. Roll them lightly and arrange them on sheetpans 2 inches apart. Remember they have one more proofing to go through. If they are too close they will touch when they proof.

Cover sheetpans loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a sunny warm spot for 30 minutes to proof.

Break one egg into a bowl. Add water and whisk.

Brush buns with egg wash.

Heat oven to 375F.

Bake one tray at time for 20-25 minutes.

Cool buns on a rack. 

Make the glaze by mixing confectioners sugar, lemon zest and water till it is thick. 

Spoon glaze into a small plastic bag. Gather glaze into one corner of bag. Snip off that end and pipe crosses onto cooled buns.

Wait a few minutes for the glaze to set and enjoy.

These buns are yeasty, crumbly, flaky and soft. The glaze makes a lemony requisite cross. Bites are not too sweet, chockful of raisins,  are a bread lovers delight. Hot cross buns, synonymous with Easter, jogs a preschool memory. A nursery rhyme echoes in my a penny two a cross buns. Bun in hand, I have turned into a singing Mother Goose.