Hot Cross Bun Bread – Not just for Easter

Last Easter I made Hot Cross Buns for the first time as they are one of my favourite Easter treats that I miss now that I live in Italy, home to the equally delicious but, not quite the same, Easter Colomba (think Panettone but with candied fruit). Having painstakingly rolled out 20 or so buns last year it dawned on me this time around that I could quite simply cut to the chase and make one giant bun which would be quicker, easier, more transportable (we spent Easter in the mountains) and, lets face it, just as delicious. I’ve made quite a few sweet loaves throughout the year which all borrow from the hot cross bun recipe plus or minus different fruits but there is something about the classic orange zest and all spice flavour that shouts “Easter has arrived”.

But why confine ourselves to just Easter. It’s true that saving a few special treats for Christmas and Easter mean that you look forward to them all year but by switching in and out a few ingredients you can have the best of both worlds; tasty fruit loaf whenever you want and Hot Cross Bun Traditional mix for Easter. I often use cranberries, dates, half a fresh apple (cubed), and mixed seeds in this recipe to give different variations.

Hot Cross Bun Bread

Ingredients: 500g plain flour, 25g fresh yeast, 125g warm water, 125g warm milk, 1 egg, 25g melted butter, 50g caster sugar, 50g sultanas or raisins, 50g mixed peel,  brown sugar (for sprinkling), pinch of salt

Preparation: 20 mins + 45 mins lievitation and 35 mins baking

1. In a jug mix the warm milk and water, take 1 tsp of the caster sugar and stir in the yeast.

2. Leave the yeast mix for 10 mins and it will begin to froth as the yeast becomes active.

3. Add in the egg and melted butter and beat together.

4. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl; flour, salt, remaining caster sugar, fruit and peel.

5. Stir in the yeast mix and combine into a wet dough.

Hot Cross Bun Dough

6. Sprinkle extra flour onto a clean surface and knead the mix into a smooth dough.

7. Place in a large loaf tin and leave to rise for 45 mins.

8. Once risen, sprinkle with the brown sugar and bake at 190C for c. 35 mins.

Hot Cross Bun Dough 2

9. Test if fully baked by inserting a metal skeewer in the centre and checking if it comes out clean. If not leave to bake for a further few minutes.

10. Eat warm with lashings of butter.

3 Responses to “Hot Cross Bun Bread – Not just for Easter”
  1. What a good idea! Sometimes I do the same thing with cookies. I’m too lazy to shape all of the individual dough balls, so I press the all of the cookie dough into a square baking dish and call them bar cookies instead! Just as tasty with a lot less work.

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