Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

You’re probably familiar with the old saying, “Good Friday comes this Month, the old woman runs, With one or two a Penny hot cross buns.”  And certainly most of us are familiar with the religious symbolism of hot cross buns.  But did you know that folklore contains a lot of superstitions surrounding the sweet Good Friday treat?

Folklore says that if you share a bun with someone, you will be friends with that person throughout the following year, especially if you say, “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” at the time you share.  There is another belief that you should kiss the bun before you eat it because of the cross on it.  If sailors took hot cross buns on their voyage with them, another superstition says that they would be protected from shipwreck.  Yet another superstition said that if you hung a hot cross bun on your kitchen wall, you would be protected from fires and it would ensure that any bread you baked would turn out well.  That protection expired in one year, so that would ensure you’d have to make more hot cross buns the next year.  Sounds like a kid made that one up to me!

It wouldn’t be Good Friday without the annual treat of a batch of lightly spiced hot cross buns with currants, glazed and topped off with a cross of icing.

“One-a-penny, two-a penny, hot cross buns!”

One year ago:  Apple Butter Vinaigrette

Hot Cross Buns

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Yield: 18 buns

Ingredients for the Buns

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp.salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbl. lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp.ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp.ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup dried currants

Ingredients for the Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons water

Directions

To make the dough using a bread machine:

Have liquid ingredients at 80o F and all other ingredients at room temperature.  Place ingredients in pan in the order specified in your owner’s manual.  Select dough/manual cycle.  Follow your manual’s instructions for adding fruit.  Currants can be added 5 minutes before the end of the last kneading.  Do not use the delay timer.  Take dough out after kneading cycle is complete. Follow Shaping, Rising and Baking directions below.  Check dough consistency after 5 minutes of kneading.  The dough should be in a soft, tacky ball.  If it is dry and stiff, add water, 1/2 to 1 tablespoon at a time.  If it is too wet and sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time.

To make using a hand-held mixer:

Combine yeast, 1 cup flour, and other dry ingredients, except currants.  Combine water and milk; heat to 120 to 130o F.

Combine dry mixture, liquid ingredients, and butter in mixing bowl on low speed. Beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed.  Add egg; beat 1 minute.  By hand, stir in enough remaining flour to make a firm dough.  Knead on floured surface 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Add additional flour if necessary.  Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top.  Cover; let rise until dough doubles.

To make using a stand mixer:

Combine yeast, 1 cup flour, and other dry ingredients, except currants.  Combine water and milk; heat to 120 to 130o F.

Combine dry mixture, liquid ingredients, and butter in mixing bowl with paddle or beaters for 4 minutes on medium speed.  Add egg; beat 1 minute. Gradually add remaining flour and knead with dough hook 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top.  Cover; let rise until dough doubles.

To make using a food processor:

Put dry mixture in processing bowl with steel blade.  While motor is running, add butter, egg, and liquid ingredients.  Process until mixed.  Continue processing, adding remaining flour until dough forms a ball.  Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough doubles.

Shaping, rising, and baking:

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles.  Divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 6 pieces.  Shape each piece into a smooth ball.  Place on greased cookie sheet, sides touching.  Cover; let rise until indentation remains after touching.  Combine 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water; brush buns.  Bake in preheated 375F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheets; cool.  Frost with thin glaze; then thicken glaze and put into piping bag to make cross on top of buns.  Alternatively, put glaze in a zip-lock bag and snip a corner off to form piping bag.

To make the glaze:

Whisk together sugar, vanilla, and water until you get your desired consistency.

Source:  A recipe from Fake Ginger

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