Everybody Loves Hot Cross Buns
I really do not know what possessed me to make hot cross buns yesterday but I decided to try my hand at them. I actually even looked up the lyrics to this old english song and there is even a line that goes….”Everybody loves hot cross buns…” I figured how hard could they be so I put my mind to it and broke out all of the ingredients and went to work. I totally understand why women went to work on the bread first thing in the morning historically because bread making has tons of steps involved.
First of all let me start by saying I have not always had the best luck with bread. One reason is that I am extremely impatient which is why making soups, stews or casseroles is a better fit for me. I also am not an extremely precise person for example I love to add a dash of this or a dash of that this does not bode well for baking. Baking bread is challenging for me but as I am working towards having our family eat less processed foods it is something that I have to work at and practice and get better kind of like pizza crust which by the way I almost started my pizza challenge back up this weekend and I will soon!
Lil’ Suburban Homestead’s Version of Old English Hot Cross Buns
2 TBSP. dry yeast
1/3 Cup warm water
1/4 Cup honey – I cannot wait for our first honey harvest this Spring 😉
3/4 Cup Half & Half
1/4 Cup Plus 2 TBSP. butter
1 TBSP. molasses (molasses is a waste product from the sugar caning process and is so much healthier for you than sugar)
1 Cup quick cooking rolled oats
3 to 3 1/3 Cups White Flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
3/4 Cup dried currants or chopped raisins
(See Cream Cheese glaze below)
I did use the white flour that I have even though the recipe called for wheat flour because I have tons of white flour and even if I start shifting to more whole grain flour I am not one to waste so we will use it up. We have used it so far…..and I may start blending in whole grains since I have about another 20 lbs or so to use up. So technically I had to make about 3 changes to the recipe so it’s definitely mine now for better or for worse and I promise they are delicious! The recipe I modified is from a 1984 cookbook my husband picked up for me called Rodale’s Basic Natural Foods Cook book I believe in giving credit where credit is due. The original recipe called for wheat germ which I did not have on hand and lemon rind for the glaze and I decided to use lemon juice because I had it in the refrigerator so I didn’t have to make another run to the store.
First I got the ingredients out I needed.
Then I mixed the water, yeast, and honey together to proof. (my definition – let it get foamy in the bowl it takes a few minutes) a step I sometimes rather impatiently forget.
Okay next I put the half and half and butter in the sauce pan and got the temperature up to about 105 to 115 degrees. Once it gets to that temperature and the yeast is proofed you can mix the two together.
Then you add the molasses, honey, oats, 2 eggs, the spices and one cup of the flour and stir for 2 minutes. Then you add about 2 more cups of the flour and the currants or raisins and reserve about a half cup for kneading. I used the currants and since I have whole cardamom pods I used my mortar and pestle to grind the cardamom. The picture just shows me pouring the cardamom pods in but in actuality you have to peel them this is difficult to show but I have included a few pictures so you can see how they look and how the finished product should look. I buy my cardamom pods whole because they are less expensive this way and they last for a very long time.
When you peel the pods they look like little brownish black seeds as shown below:
After you grind it in the mortar and pestle it should look and smell like chai tea almost….
This is me stirring it is a thick dough and you need to really spend a couple of minutes stirring it.
Then I took the dough over to my vintage pastry mat and I kneaded the dough for about 6 to 8 minutes. You see I have a very little bit of counter space….my in-law’s bought us a Keurig for Christmas and they now make these little re-fillable reservoirs for ground up coffee (but that’s another post)…but back to the issue of having little counter space the mat really comes in handy.
Once I got the dough kneaded I placed it in an oiled glass bowl I also oil the plastic wrap or wax paper I place on top so it won’t stick to it.
Then I set it on this clever “Heating Pad” idea I found on Pinterest and let it rise for 45-60 minutes until it rose and almost doubled in size. While that was rising I greased a 13 X9 metal cake pan.
I then broke the dough off into balls and filled the sheet up and placed it again on the heating pad with some plastic wrap on top until it rose again about 45 minutes again.
Here is how they look after the dough has risen again.
Right before I placed them in the oven my husband used a razor knife and scored “X’s in the top of all the buns. I also whipped up the remaining egg and brushed all the tops of the buns with an egg bath.
I baked them at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. While that was baking I made the glaze….it is so simple and my daughter loved it she wanted me to make more.
The glaze is simply:
1/3 Cream Cheese
1 TBSP. butter
2 TBSP. honey
1 TBSP. lemon juice
Whip this up it won’t look like enough but it is it does the trick and its a glaze not a frosting 😉
Once they come out go ahead and spread the glaze on while they are hot so it really sticks to the buns and Voila’ your done!
I ate one fresh and hot out of the oven they were delicious and I could taste the oatmeal grains in them and the cream cheese. A very special treat! If you try them I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Just know that these are not as simple as most of the recipes I share and certainly it is much easier to pick up the buns at the grocery store but you won’t find these buns there! Have an amazing Sunday everyone!