from one generation to the next
I’m of the opinion that Hot Cross Buns should only eaten to be at Easter time despite the supermarket sales campaigns that generally begin soon after Christmas, so, each year in the lead up to Easter, I begin experimenting with perfecting 100% Spelt Sourdough Hot Cross Buns for my family.
There was nothing wrong with the recipe I shared in 2017 or 2016 but I’m continually seeking improvement so the first taste of each batch of buns is subjected to critical appraisal. The adjustments I made to those recipes were based on notes I jotted in the margin of my recipe development notebook, “add more spice, try alternative to sugar, reduce starter proportion, make smaller.”
I seek to make buns that are dense and moist, buns that have a delicious balance of warm spicy sweetness, buns that are studded with soft vine fruits, buns that so delicious that you find it hard to say no to more than one. My sourdough Hot Cross Buns also need to be gut friendly so a long fermentation is necessary and in this case it was 20 hours. These buns are lactose free, cane sugar free and the amount of currants used is deliberately controlled to make them low Fodmap.
For me Easter is not complete without buns for breakfast and I’m not missing out.
Spelt Sourdough Hot Cross Buns #3
250g strong chai tea
275g active sourdough starter
1kg white spelt flour
10g sea salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
100g roughly chopped pecans
3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked
90g coconut oil
150g rice malt syrup
about 100mls warm milk
Begin by activating your sourdough starter. Mine takes about 6 hours to boogie.
Pour the hot chai over the currants and set aside to cool.
Gently heat the milk to remove the fridge chill.
Into a large non reactive bowl measures the starter, flour, salt, spices and nuts.
Drain the currants and set aside the tea.
Measure the rice malt syrup and coconut oil in a large measuring jug.
Add the eggs and tea, then enough milk to make the volume 650 mis.
Put the currants into the mixing bowl then pour over the liquids.
Mix to a shaggy dough then cover and set the dough aside for 20 minutes.
Dust the bench with a little spelt flour, tip the dough onto the bench and knead it only until smooth and elastic.
Wash the bowl and lightly oil the inside with coconut oil.
Return the dough to the bowl, turn the dough over so it’s coated in oil then cover and set aside for 45 minutes.
Tip the dough onto the bench again then gently stretch the dough as thinly as you can before it tears.
Fold the dough into a boule, return it to the bowl, cover and set aside until doubled in bulk.
Gently release the gases from the dough, cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.
The next day, about three hours before you intend to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and gently tip it onto the bench.
Divide the dough into 30 X 80g pieces.
Line a flat oven tray with baking paper.
Shape each piece of dough into a ball by folding it in on itself until the outside surface shows no exposed fruit.
Place the shaped buns on the baking tray so they are only just touching.
Cover the buns with a piece of greased baking paper and a tea towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 1 -1 1/2 hours or until slightly risen.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Crosses: Make a thick slurry with 2 heaped tablespoons of gluten free flour, pinch of baking powder and 3 tablespoons water.
Pipe the crosses onto the buns then put them immediately into the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes at 220C.
Reduce the heat to 200C and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Glaze: In a small pan heat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat and simmer the syrup for 1 minute.
When the baking time is complete remove the buns from the oven and brush the tops generously with the glaze. Return the buns to the oven for 1 minute.
Set the buns aside to cool on wire rack.