We know, it might be easy to just pick up a bag of ready-made hot cross buns at the supermarket but this Easter, we’re encouraging you to try out this easy hot cross buns recipe that will get the home smelling of baked bread and cinnamon. Imagine the buns popping straight out of the over, piping hot… and then having butter melt perfectly on it – everyone will be begging for more.
For the hot cross buns to be soft and fluffy, you’ll need to use a slow proving process with just a little yeast. This recipe calls for the dough to be proved three times before it goes into the oven. This allows for the yeast to work in the dough, and it’s responsible for giving you that light, chewy texture that makes the buns irresistible.
We also used bread flour, which is higher in gluten than plain flour. This gives the bun a better texture. If you can’t get bread flour, use plain flour.
The first proving comes right after combining the ingredients of the dough (see our complete Easy Hot Cross Buns recipe here). Make sure it’s covered with plastic wrap and left to stand in a warm place. It should rise to twice its size in about an hour.
The perfect warm places to prove yeast dough are a windowsill in sunlight, or on an open oven door, with the oven set at a low temperature.
Once the dough has risen, you don’t have to punch it or “knock it down”. Just knead it for a few seconds and return it to the bowl to prove for another hour.
The final proving takes 30 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time to prep the flour paste for piping the crosses. If you want to make fresh hot cross buns on Good Friday morning you can cover loosely for the last proving in the fridge overnight. Stand at room temperature for 45 mins, pipe the crosses, then bake.
Once the dough has risen a second time, divide it evenly into 16 rolls.
If you like a softer crust, arrange the buns in rows of four inside a square 23-cm cake pan. If you like a bit more of a crust, arrange the buns 4 x 4 on a baking tray.
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Photos: Ben Dearnley/bauersyndication.com.au