Hot Cross Buns

I never made hot cross buns before moving to the US. There was no point really, they are quite a bit of hard work to make & the bakeries near me all sold versions that were better than anything I could make. Then I moved to Michigan & it turns out, there aren’t many places you can go to get a hot cross bun around Detroit at Easter. Some friends found one bakery that sells them at Easter but you have to get there crazy early to get them before they sell out.

Now if I want to eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter, I have to make them myself. Every year for the past 3 years I’ve tried making hot cross buns. After a couple of years of making rock hard on the outside, doughy on the inside hot cross buns, I FINALLY made some this year that were close to the soft buns I remember from Australia.

I use this recipe from Gourmet Traveller.

The changes I’ve made so far are:-
– I kneaded the dough for just over 15mins instead of the 10 recommended. I used the window method to check the dough & make sure it had been kneaded enough
– For the second proof, I covered the tin with plastic wrap instead of a damp tea towel

These changes seemed to lead to a softer, smoother crust. Also spending hours watching the Great British Bake Off while I was on maternity leave probably helped too!

This year I made two types, dried fruit (my favourite) & chocolate (my husband’s favourite). The chocolate ones weren’t as good I think it’s because of when I added the chocolate chips & the temperature. I added them before the first proof which I think was a mistake. My friend Jacqui (who always gives me best baking advice!) suggested next time to add them after the first proof & to also freeze or refrigerate them before adding them to help the hold their shape & not end up with streaks of chocolate everywhere. I think it’s a good idea & I’ll give it a go next time!