It’s my favourite time of the week. The time that I share with you another recipe and this one is amazing. I’ve been working on these for a while because dough is hard to master. However, I’ve cracked the Easter code so I can now present to you The Fluffiest Hot Cross Buns. Full of plump sultanas (because no one likes when the baker is stingy with these), a mix of comforting spices and buns that are risen to perfection with a fluffy centre that screams out “eat me!”
Since perfecting these buns, I haven’t stopped making them. Once they are all gone a new batch is in the oven waiting to be eaten. I’m going to share with you the tricks and tips I always look for when making these fluffy hot cross buns.
- Kneading is crucial! I do it the old fashioned way and knead with my hands. This way I can feel what the dough is like and add more flour or water if necessary.
- Knead for 5-8 minutes. This is a must. The longer you knead it the more the gluten will activate, which helps to create a dough that is light and airy. No one wants a tough flat dough.
- The dough needs to be slightly sticky when kneading. Not so sticky that it gets all over your hands and bench top but just enough so that you can work it on an un-floured bench and it lightly sticks to your hands when you press it. If the dough is too tough, dry and floury you won’t have a fluffy hot cross bun.
- Use lukewarm water. There are two times when you need water. First when you stir it with the yeast, flour and coconut sugar and the second when you add it to create the dough. Using lukewarm water helps the yeast to activate.
Pictured above is the yeast mixture after it’s been left to sit for 10 minutes to get frothy. This step is needed to start the activation process of the yeast. It is very important to make sure your yeast froths up, if it doesn’t your yeast is old and you will need to buy a new one.
Below is the before and after photos of the dough. As with all yeast based doughs, they need time to prove in a warm environment, which helps the yeast activate and makes a fluffy dough. These fluffy hot cross buns have two proving times. First being as a whole ball of dough and the second after they’ve been shaped into buns. I use my oven as the warm environment to prove any kind of dough. I warm it slightly, no higher than 30°C, cover the dough with a tea towel and place it in the oven with the door closed for the required time. Works like a charm. Each time they prove, the dough should grow 2 times in size.
I know I’ve crammed a lot of information into this post BUT I really want you to nail these on your first go. They really are worth all the trouble you have to go through. Oh and the smell that comes from the oven as they cook…enough to send you crazy!
Now for all the people who can’t stand the thought of fruit being cooked into bread, I have great news for you. You don’t have to add the sultanas in! Take them out or maybe sub them in for a fruit you can tolerate or even chocolate chips. The choice is yours.
If you’re totally addicted to spices like I am, then don’t forget to check out this life changing Chunky Spiced Buckwheat Granola.
….So what are you waiting for? Let’s get baking!
- Hot Cross Buns
- - 2 teaspoons (7g) instant dried yeast
- - 1 cup (155g) wholemeal plain flour
- - 1 cup (140g) white flour
- - 1 tablespoon (10g) coconut sugar, plus an extra ½ teaspoon
- - 1¼ teaspoons ground mixed spice
- - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- - ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- - ½ teaspoon salt
- - 1½ tablespoons (20g) Niulife coconut oil, room temperature
- - ½ cup (100g) sultanas
- Cross Mixture
- - 2½ tablespoons plain flour
- - water
- - 2 teaspoons coconut sugar
- - 4 teaspoons water
- In a medium sized measuring jug add the yeast, 1 teaspoon wholemeal flour, ½ teaspoon coconut sugar and 60mL lukewarm water. Stir and leave to sit for 10 minutes. The top should turn frothy.
- Meanwhile in a large bowl mix together the flours, coconut sugar, spices and salt. Mix in the room temperature coconut oil and then the sultanas.
- Pour in the frothy yeast mixture and stir to combine. Slowly add an additional 70-90mL lukewarm water, mixing as you pour. The dough should be able to come together and be lightly sticky. Knead on an un-floured bench top for 5-8mins. If the dough sticks to the bench then add a little extra flour to the mix. It is important though to still have a lightly sticky dough (refer to information in post).
- Shape into a ball, place into a large greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and place in a warm space (I used my oven) for 40 minutes or doubled in size.
- Remove from oven, lightly knead again to knock back the air. Divide evenly into 6 pieces. Shape into a bun and place 1cm apart in a lined 18x28cm baking tray. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm area for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 195°C/383°F fan forced.
- Make the cross mixture by combining the flour and enough water to make a paste that can hold its shape. Pipe crosses over the buns. Bake for 17-19 minutes. They should be lightly golden on top.
- Meanwhile make the glaze by boiling the coconut sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Be careful that it doesn't burn. It should turn into a syrup. Brush over the buns.
- Serve fresh out of the oven with some vegan butter.
Recipe adapted from Essjay Eats