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Dee's Hot Cross Buns

4 12-5 cups plain flour (all purpose)
12 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
14 teaspoon salt
1 12 tablespoons dried yeast
1 cup whole milk (if you only have reduced fat milk, use about 1/4 cup of cream plus 3/4 cup of milk to replicate whol)
14 cup water
115 g butter
1 large egg
1 cup raisins
14 cup sultana
14 cup candied peel
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons water
1 34 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter
14 teaspoon lemon juice


Sift 1 cup of the flour into a medium sized bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt and yeast. Heat milk, butter and water until just warm (NOT hot or you'll kill the yeast). Pour warm liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer until just mixed. Increase speed and beat for 2 minutes. Now, sift in another cup of flour, and add the egg, and beat for another 2 minutes. Sift another 3 cups of the flour into a separate bowl. Add 2 cups of this flour to the dough mixture, and mix with a wooden spoon to make a soft dough - one that just comes together enough to come away without sticking too much to the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add more of the sifted flour if necessary to bring the dough to the right consistency. Sprinkle some of the sifted flour onto a board, turn the dough onto the board and knead for 5 minutes, adding more flour to stop the dough sticking when necessary. Mix the dried fruits and candied peel together in a bowl, making sure to pull apart any clumps of raisins which have stuck together. Empty the dried fruits onto the board, and knead the bread so that you incorporate the fruits evenly into the dough. Knead until smooth and elastic adding more flour if necessary - this may take 10-15 minutes. When the dough is ready, shape it into a ball. Grease a large mixing bowl (I use spray oil to do this) and place the dough into the bowl, turning it over so the ball is greased top and bottom. Drape some cling wrap loosely over the top of the bowl, and then cover with a clean cloth. Place into a warm (not hot) place until the dough ball has doubled in size - this will take about 2 hours. Punch the dough down, and rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Now, tip the dough onto a lightly floured board and, using a knife, divide as evenly as possible into 12 pieces. I find the best way to do this is to cut the dough roughly into 12 portions, and then use a scale to measure out 12 portions of approximately 120g each. If you wish, weigh the dough, then divide the weight by 12 to get exact portion sizes. Shape the dough portions into balls. The easiest way to do this is to take a portion of dough in your left hand, keeping your left hand flat; then put the tips of your thumb and finger on your right hand together and, with that hand cupped, place it over the dough; now, pressing down quite firmly, rub your right hand around your left hand until the dough forms into a smooth, even ball. I like to finish the ball off on the floured board, rubbing it in a circular motion between the board and my cupped right hand (as above) with increasing pressure until it is completely smooth. Now, make an egg wash by whisking together the egg yolk and two tablespoons of water. Using a pastry brush, paint the egg wash evenly over each bun. Place the buns onto a greased baking or cookie tray, about 5cm (2") apart. Cover the buns loosely with a clean cloth and place the tray in a warm place for about 30 minutes, until the buns have doubled in size. After about 20 minutes resting time, preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Before you place the buns in the oven, use the back of a knife to make a 1/4" cross in the top of each bun. Place tray on the centre shelf of the oven and bake at 180C (350F) for 30 minutes or until the buns are lightly browned. In the meantime, prepare the icing by whisking all the icing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Remove buns from oven and cool slightly on a rack. Place a sheet of baking/silicone paper underneath the rack and, using a dessert spoon, drizzle a little of the icing over each warm bun. Continue drizzling icing over the buns until they are evenly covered. When you've used all the icing in the bowl, remove the baking paper from under the rack and squeeze out any icing which has dripped onto it back into the bowl. Placing another sheet of baking paper under the tray, drizzle the remaining icing over the buns. Serve Hot Cross Buns warm, split in two and buttered. Iced buns can be reheated in the microwave - about 40 seconds on HIGH for two (thawed) buns. Iced buns can be frozen, thawed, and reheated in the microwave. Happy Easter!

Source: www.food.com