sharing recipes from one generation to the next
What ever happened to Chelsea buns, Boston buns, coffee scrolls and the plethora of yeasted sticky fruit buns of different shapes, sizes and garnishes that adorned the display window of the local bakery when I was a kid?
It seems they have gone in the direction of beehive hairdos and smoking, unfashionable and bad for your health, except at Easter we embrace our inner child and scoff Hot Cross Buns by the truckload. It’s not without reason that the supermarkets begin to stack their shelves with Easter buns early each New Year, customers can’t get enough.
But have you ever eaten a Hot Cross Bun bought in the supermarket? They are a first cousin of the pappy white sliced bread available on the next shelf. They lack spice, fruit, flavour and texture.
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Easter buns. I like my buns just sweet but super moist. I like them to be studded generously with currants, warm with spices and citrus zest and have the textural variation of a few chopped nuts added. They must be topped with a sparkling jewel like glaze.
For the Easters in the recent past I’ve searched out and bought artisan buns, but since the seismic shift toward excellence with my 100% spelt sourdough bread, I’ve been thinking about home made Hot Cross Buns, about devising a formula that will translate into the above mentioned warmly remembered buns of my childhood.
100% Spelt Sourdough Hot Cross Buns
300g activated spelt sourdough starter
485g organic white spelt flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
60g brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
finely grated zest of an orange
2 large eggs, whisked lightly
60g melted butter, cooled
90 mls milk, lightly warmed to remove the fridge chill
60g roughly chopped walnuts
Whisk the flour, salt, sugar and spices together to thoroughly combine.
Lightly whisk together the eggs, butter, milk and zest to combine.
Weigh the starter into a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients, then the wet and mix into a shaggy dough.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Lightly flour the bench, tip the dough onto the bench then knead until smooth.
Stretch the dough into an oblong then sprinkle the currants and nuts over the dough then continue kneading until the fruit is evenly distributed.
Return the dough to the fridge in a greased bowl and allow to rest for 40 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge then stretch it into a large oblong on the bench. Fold the edges to the middle over and over until you have a tight boule.
Return the dough to buttered bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then prove the dough overnight in the fridge. My dough had 13 hours.
The next morning, divide the dough into 14 X 80g pieces.
Line an oven tray with baking paper.
Shape the buns by flattening each piece then folding the edges into the centre until the outside surface is taut and most of the fruit is within.
Place the shaped buns on the paper lined tray 1cm apart, then cover them loosely with oiled plastic and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200C
Crosses: Make a thick slurry with 1 heaped tablespoon gluten free flour, 1 heaped tablespoon spelt flour, pinch of baking powder and 2 tablespoons water.
Pipe the crosses onto the buns then put them immediately into the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes at 200C.
Reduce the heat to 180C and bake for a further 20 minutes.
Glaze: In a small pan heat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water until the sugar has melted.
Immediately after you remove the buns from the oven, brush generously with the glaze, then set the buns aside to cool on wire rack.
What happens if you don’t refridgerate the dough overnight but instead just prove it outside for less time? Just wondering about doing the whole thing in a day …
Hi Kate, it’s definitely okay to bake in a day, however slowly fermented sourdough is much easier to digest and for me that’s a major consideration
Thanks for the recipe. I’m a complete novice but baked these using my wholewheat sourdough starter, left out the zest and fruit, and added dark chocolate chunks. I was worried they wouldn’t rise but they did wonderfully. They were absolutely delicious! We also glazed with some maple syrup when they came out of the oven.
So glad you took my formula and made it your own, recipes after all, are just a guide😃
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I received a notice in yesterday’s email that “The Perfect Loaf” had posted another recipe, this one for spelt sourdough. I immediately thought of you. I don’t know if you’ll find it interesting or perhaps even useful. If nothing else, the photos are good. 🙂 His is a great site for all things bread. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Thanks John, that’s amazing looking bread. I’ll give it close scrutiny
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I need to mark this. I make spelt noodles but I’ve never made spelt bread or rolls.
Spelt handles a little differently to wheat in breadbaking. I’ve never made noodles with it, how does it compare
I agree, Sandra. SO many truly good recipes have fallen by the wayside because they are deemed not healthy enough. The reality is that we need to exercise a bit of restraint and thereby eat a larger variety of foods. Home made hot cross buns would certainly be on my list. Yours look wonderful. I can almost smell them baking. 🙂
The spicy sweet aroma of baking buns was almost too much to endure John. The flavour didn’t disappoint either.
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Wow, these look delicious.
Thank you, they were….
Glossy, fragrant and topped with a nice little slab of butter – these look totally amazing Sandra. You’re so very clever my friend! 🙂
Aw thanks Margot. Hot Cross Buns were a very satisfying achievement
You go girl! I’m sitting here in the Dallas airport salivating heavily while reading this post! Will have to wait about five weeks to try out my starter. No Easter buns for me this year but maybe next year!
Enjoy your travels Ardys
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I’m so glad they turned out for you. I never grew up with hit cross buns but I’ll be sure to make some this year. Chelsea buns are great too, we enjoy them.
I think Hot X buns are an English thing, but they are a powerful symbol of Easter in Australia too
Hope there is some left over for the Gees to sample 🙂 xx
Taste… Imagine the best hand crafted buns you have tasted and these, well they taste even more natural, with distinctive flavours and who can resist adding real butter on top. The flavours linger in your mouth for ages. Enjoy.
You should know, how many did you scoff?