Hugh's Sourdough Hot Cross Buns
Hugh decided to make some Sourdough Hot Cross Buns for the River Cottage team challenge. Very tasty and also perfect alternative if you do not have yeast but have your usual sourdough starter.
If you’ve got a sourdough bread habit on the go, then it’s very easy to adapt your procedure to make fantastic sourdough hot cross buns – like the ones I’ve made in these pics. When you come to make the dough, instead of water, add one beaten egg, plus enough (hand-warm) milk to make up your usual water level (or a tiny bit more – you want a dough that’s as loose as you can handle).
Also add 75 grammes caster sugar for every 500g flour. You can stick to your usual flour mix, or use 50 per cent plain (ie cake) flour for a softer, more cakey crumb. Add a rounded tablespoon (15g) mixed spice to the flour, and the grated zest of an orange and a lemon if you like. Add the raisins/sultanas/currents during the final kneed, along with any chopped peel, if using.
Then, after the final kneed, and before the final rise, divide your dough into buns. ( A dough based on 500 g of flour will make 12 buns). Rise the buns on a well-floured board (or two) for about 60-75 mins, until almost doubled in size. Then add the crosses, made from a simple flour and water paste, either sift enough to pipe, or firm enough to roll and cut into strips. Brush the buns and crosses with an egg beaten with a dash of milk. Carefully transfer the buns to an oiled, floured (or parchment covered) baking sheet (or two).
Bake at 220 for 18-25 minutes, until golden brown. If you want a sticky glaze, warm a tablespoon of marmalade or redcurrant jelly, and brush over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Leave to cool a bit before serving warm. Or leave to cool completely before splitting and toasting, and buttering well.
If you would like to try Gelf's Hot Cross Buns or the original River Cottage handbook recipe, head to the Baking section of the recipe collection here on rivercottage.net
1 egg (beaten)
75g caster sugar
15g mixed spice
grated zest of an orange and a lemon (optional)