Monday, 1 April 2013

Spelt hot cross buns

First up, apologises for the late post as ideally you should have had this recipe in time for Good Friday . . . but life is never ideal is it? Easter is almost done and dusted for 2013, but you don't have to stop eating hot cross buns just yet do you? (in moderation of course, plus they freeze really well). I have been making my own hot cross buns at Easter for years, although originally I didn't use spelt flour and would use my bread machine to knead and prove the dough. I completely avoid the commercial varieties, not just because of all the additives and other synthetic ingredients, but because once you've had homemade you just can't go back can you? My crosses may not be as white and perfect as the store bought ones, but that's by choice . . . I choose the rustic look over bleached flour and hydrogenated oils any day!

My family look forward to enjoying their hot cross buns straight from the oven at Easter time, and I also use this same recipe to make a fruit loaf all year round . . but isn't there just something special about eating them in the form of a bun :) The enjoyment we all get out of sharing them over brunch or lunch (depending on how late in the day I started making them), definitely makes it worth the extra effort to fuss over their presentation at least once per year. I like to make a double batch of the dough, one batch after another and combine the dough in a bowl to prove. I must confess that I haven't tried the EDC recipe, even though I have heard great things about it, but that's just because I can't quite get past my own recipe . . . when you're onto a good thing you stick to it right? :)

330g filtered water
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
500g spelt bakers flour (use all white or half wholemeal) - use normal strong bread flour if you can't find spelt bread flour. 
3 rounded tsp cinnamon
2 rounded tsp mixed spice
3 tsp rapadura or raw caster sugar
1 tsp Himalyan salt
20g avocado or macadamia oil
1 1/2 cups dried fruit of choice (sultanas, raisins, currants, dried apricots, apples, cranberries etc.)

3 tbsp filtered boiling water
2 tbsp sucanat or raw honey
1/2 tsp mixed spice

flour paste
80g white spelt flour
100g filtered water
1 tsp oil (optional)

1. Line a shallow rectangular tray or dish with baking paper. 

2. Add 330g filtered water to the TM bowl and heat 1 minute at 90°C on speed 1.

3. Add remaining ingredients (except the dried fruit), and mix for a few seconds on speed 7
Then, set dial to closed lid position and knead for 2 minutes on interval setting

4. Add dried fruits and mix on speed 5 for about 10 seconds. Transfer the dough onto your thermomat and wrap up (or into a large, floured stainless steel bowl and cover).

5. Place the dough in a warm place for 1.5 - 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size. I like to place in a 40°C oven, covered with a damp tea towel. I've heard another great place is inside your car in the sun . . not that I have this option available to me in Hong Kong!

6. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a floured benchtop or your thermomat. Divide into 12 pieces of equal size (or 24 if you have doubled the recipe). I'm a little pedantic here I must confess, I use a scale to measure pieces of dough at about 90g each :)  Shape each piece into a smooth ball, then place smooth side up into your prepared tray or dish and brush the buns at this point with a lightly whisked egg or milk (this is optional as I didn't do this for the batch I made in the photo, but it will help your buns to brown a little more).

7. Cover the tray of buns loosely with the damp tea towel or your thermomat, and leave in a warm place (or return to the warm oven) and allow them to expand to just fill the pan (about 15-20 minutes). Next, preheat oven to fan-forced 190°C. 

8. Meanwhile, to make the flour paste for the crosses, place all ingredients in the TM bowl and mix to combine for about 20 seconds on speed 4. Pour into a small ziplock bag and snip off the very corner with scissors (or use a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain piping tip) and pipe the paste in one continuous line down the centre of each row of buns and then crossways to form crosses. 

9. Place buns in preheated oven and cook for about 15 minutes until golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped. 

10. To make the glaze, combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to dissolve the honey or sugar. You can use cold water and combine all ingredients and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave if you prefer. Brush the hot cross buns with the glaze while still warm. Serve as is or with butter. They are also lovely with lemon butter. These buns are so moist I often skip using any spreads. Enjoy!

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