I got this recipe from a church event a couple years back, and have no idea where it originates, but it’s a great little recipe that I make every year for Easter. I’ve made a few alterations to it, but for the most part it’s a pretty good recipe – if you’ve got several hours to spare to make them!
Start by pouring 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup boiling water into a bowl. Mix in 1 tsp Muscavado or brown sugar, until it dissolves. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp live yeast over the top and set aside to go frothy. (Note: Use your smallest bowl for this, as you’ll need a bigger one later!)
In a different bowl (or pot, in my case!) mix 4 cups flour, 2 Tbsp Muscovado or brown sugar (this Trade Aid one is GREAT btw!), sprinkle of salt.
For traditional hot cross buns, add 1 Tbsp mixed spice, 1 cup raisins (or dried fruit), and 1 Tbsp butter, and rub it in. You’ll need to really get your hands in their and rub it between your thumb and forefingers, as it won’t work easily with a spoon. It’s definitely a rings-off kind of job!
For chocolate ones, substitute mixed spice for cocoa, and raisins for chocolate chips.
Lightly beat an egg.
Make a well in your dry ingredients, and pour your egg into it.
Check your yeast mixture is nice and frothy like this.
Add it to the well.
Mix thoroughly into a slightly sticky dough. You may have to add a little warm water, but try to keep it minimal.
Turn it onto a floured surface, and knead it for a good ten minutes. You want to punch all the air out of that sucker. Add flour as necessary so it doesn’t stick to your board.
Once your kneading is done, get a little oil and a pastry brush.
Lightly grease a bowl (or pot). You don’t want it to bee too dribbly, so a good pastry brush is great.
Plop your dough in there, cover with gladwrap and leave for an hour to double in bulk. Now go do your dishes, and get your next batch ready if you’re doing multiples.
They rise by a drastic amount. The back bowl is the freshest, the bottom right almost ready to go! When doing multiple batches for gifts, I usually will make three kinds – one spiced WITH raisins, one spiced WITHOUT raisins, and one chocolate, which means everyone is likely to get their favourite flavour!
Once it’s risen for an hour, put it back on the floured board and punch the air out it again for 3 or so minutes.
Form into little buns, and place on a lined tray about 1 cm apart. Cover in gladwrap and place in a warm place for another hour to double in bulk again.
About 20 mins before they are ready, preheat the oven to 220C and start making the crosses.
Rub approx 40g butter into 1/4 cup flour, adding extra flour if needed, and a couple of teaspoons of chilled water until it turns into a soft dough. You’ll need to use your fingers to squish the butter in to begin with.
I switch to using the back of a spoon when I add the chilled water.
It’s done when it’s soft and malleable, like play dough.
Roll inbetween your hands into long lines, and place on the buns. Try to get good coverage, and squish them down into the bun a bit as they can flake off once baked.
For chocolate crosses, mix in a little cocoa.
I hope you washed your pastry brush, because you’ll be needing it again now. Glaze the buns well with milk, and then bake them for approximately 10 minutes, until they start to go golden.
Now they’re ready to eat!
Or package up for gifts! I use wine bags from the $2 shop. I found ones a couple years ago that were a great size, fitting 6 buns per bag, but this year they only had the single size. Oh well!
This is the brochure with the recipe that I got a couple years ago. Such a cute little hand out. We all got together for a women’s even and made crosses to put on the buns (and then eat them – delicious!!)
And the recipe inside: