Hot cross buns

I’ve been having a little think today about what areas of baking I need to improve upon and bread goods are high on the list.  I remember as a child having fantastic Hot cross buns and morning rolls at my granny’s house and I want to be able to achieve the same.  This year I attempted for the first time Hot cross buns (Hollywood style) at easter and I thought I’d share my (mixed) results.  Fortunately I was so impressed with my first batch that I took a picture.

HC Buns

I know, they look a bit ugly and I got a little over excited when “glazing” them with apricot jam, but they did taste very nice and were even better toasted.  I was so excited by my first batch that I made another 24 hours later (yes, very keen with a huge appetite for buns).  The second batch was not so nice as I tried to take shortcuts. So, Paul “the silver-haired fox” Hollywood has a lovely recipe for Hot cross buns on the Good Food website (I use this website for a lot of our bakes and dinner recipes).  I followed this recipe closely first time with the exception that my proving times were longer due to managed immediate demands of two small boys.  The mix was WET and this worried me, so like an amateur I used a lot of flour on my work top instead of working through the sticky mess and kneading the mix until soft. Anyway they rose well and the use of fresh apple was a refreshing surprise in the baked result.  Only improvement would have been a little more cinnamon.

The second attempt was cocky to say the least.  I thought I’d follow the suggestion of a comment made on the recipe page on the Good Food website.  Add all the flavourings (fruit, peel and spice) to the initial mix and allow it to prove together then shape and prove again, cutting the overall make time by a third.  The yeast was inhibited by the flavourings and I was left with a heavy under proved bun which was ok once toasted but not the marvelous result I was expecting.  I could hear Mr Hollywood’s voice in my head as I tasted my first bite – not enough kneading, yeast not developed, bad bake.  Moral of the story is don’t mess with a bread recipe.  Defeated by dough.  Thank you for reading.

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