Breads

Hot Cross Bun Challenge 2013

I am pleased to present – finally – our first Hot Cross Bun challenge!  Guest blogger, Lynne Baker (The Measured Baker) has provided our first recipe in the challenge and her thoughts (below).  Last minute entry into our challenge features a recipe from Nik Snacks. Your job – read through the three recipes (yes, mine is here too!), look at the pictures, and tell us which you like best!

Lynne Baker – The Measured Baker

Well here we go ……

Hot Cross Bun’s bring back such fond memories of growing up.  Every Good Friday we would have HCB’s prepared for us as we arrived at the kitchen table for breakfast!    When choosing the recipe I chose one that was chock full of fruit …. something my mom loved.

Mixing up the dough
Mixing up the dough

I chose a recipe from Bouchon Bakery  …… it uses a brioche dough base which required a little more prep time but I thought it would be wonderful.

Look at all that fruit! Yum!
Look at all that fruit! Yum!

here is what I discovered…..

1.  very time-consuming but delicious in taste
2.  although the icing on buns were flavorful (cardamom) I missed traditional powder sugar icing
3.  chocked full of fruit raisins and cranberries  …. just like mom would love

OVER ALL     will try the recipe again …… to master the roundness and fullness of buns …… overall ……. happy with first attempt.

Finished product!
Finished product!

Lynne’s choice of recipes:  Hot Cross Buns

Thank you Lynne.  These look amazing!  Lynne’s name is misleading… she’s more of a gourmet cook!  Anything she makes is fabulous!

Nik Snacks:

I met this delightful woman at the Mixed Conference in November 2012.  I love bonding with other amazing people!

Nik Snack’s Entry

Hmmm, I just read Nikki’s profile – she may have an edge!  😉

Nosh with Nash:  (aka “the underdog”)

Like Lynne’s story, I would absolutely love Easter and the smells that would be wafting through the house from my mother’s baking.  She could bake just about anything, and do it very well.  I still love her pie pastry the most.  But when she started making Hot Cross Buns, she really ratcheted up the flavour experience for me!  These delightful buns were a family favourite, loaded with fruit and raisins or currents, and spiced just right, who could resist?  So, when Lynne challenged me to this Hot Cross Bun bake off, I had to scour books to find just the right recipe.

If you follow me on twitter, or facebook  you probably read of my first disaster!  Really, I thought, how hard can these be? Hmm, harder than I thought.  Well, not so much difficult, but learning how long to knead was my challenge.  I’m impatient! My first batch of hot cross buns sure smelled wonderful,  but they turned out more like hockey pucks!  These suckers could break a window, smash ceramic tiles, and break your teeth!  Nasty things!  They went into my compost bin.  I’m sure they will take years to break down!  Sigh.  FAIL!

Mixing/Kneading the dough
Mixing/Kneading the dough
2nd rising, waiting for the oven!
2nd rising, waiting for the oven!

Try number two was way more successful!  I kneaded them (well, my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer did!) a little less (actually a lot less!) until the dough reached that desired stage of ‘elasticity’ and the rest worked just fine!

Finished product. Tasted great!
Finished product. Tasted great!

Adapted from two different recipes that I re-worked and combined to get the desired results….here’s my entry:

Combine together in a large bowl (I used the bowl for my stand mixer, it makes it easier… you’ll see!)

3 tbsp warm water1 pkg active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp)

These two should stand together until the  yeast dissolves and looks a little foamy on top!

Add:

1 cup warm milk – define warm? about 105-115 F)
5 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 c white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp salt

Mix this by hand, or low speed on your stand mixer using the flat paddle, for about a minute.  Gradually stir in:

2 c all purpose flour (or bread flour if you have it!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
and the fruit….  I used:
1/4 c dried currents
1/4 c mixed peel

Change to the dough hook and mix only at speed #2… gradually add until the dough is still moist but it’s not ‘sticky’

1 1/2 – 2 c all-purpose/bread flour.

Now, this is where I screwed up the first time… i didn’t knead long enough!  So, knead the dough for about 10 minutes by hand until it is smooth and elastic.  If you are using your mixer and the dough hook, it “looks” done at a few minutes, and I thought I  needed to knead longer… and so over-kneaded it… so watch!  It should be about 2 or so minutes – when the dough cleans the sides of the bowl it’s done! I forget sometimes just how powerful my stand mixer is!  So… seriously… 10 minutes by hand, or 2 by my amazing kitchen best friend – my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!

Transfer the ball of dough (as wonderful as it is beginning to smell) to a greased bowl. Make sure you turn it to cover it in the oil. Cover the bowl and place it in a draft-free warm place to rise.  It should double in size and should take about an hour to do so.

When the dough is ready, punch it down and shape it into 12 equal sized balls and space about  1 1/2 inches apart on a baking sheet (lined with parchment – it makes it much easier, trust me!)  If you are not using parchment, you will have to grease your baking sheets.  Cover and let rise again until double in size.  It may take a bit longer on the second rise, so plan for 1- 1 1/2 hrs.

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Brush the ‘buns’ with an egg wash* and bake about 15 minutes (watch!) until they are a delightful golden brown.  Cool. Decorate with the traditional cross using a milk glaze.

*egg wash.  One egg, beaten, with 1/2 ‘shell’ measure of water.

Milk glaze:  This will give you about a 1/2 cup of glaze and is super simple:  just beat together 1/2 c icing sugar (aka confectioners) with 2 tsp hot milk and 1/4 tsp vanilla.

SO, for me… overall happy with the 2nd attempt.  I’d make them again to, like Lynne, master the roundness of the buns and the fluffiness.  Overall, pleased.  Overall, ticked that Lynne could do it in one try, and it took me two!  Kidding!

———————-

None of these three entries have preservatives so they do not keep long – but then again, when you have HOT hot cross buns fresh out of your oven, did you really expect them to hang around long?  Enjoy!

Your job – read through the recipes, comment below to place your vote on who you think should win the title “Hot Cross Bun Champ”

Happy Easter everyone!

He Is Risen!

Happy noshing!

2 thoughts on “Hot Cross Bun Challenge 2013”

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