Breadmaker Hot Cross Buns
The wonderful thing about breadmakers is they cut all the tedious bits out of making an enriched dough, but all homemade hot cross buns are in a different league from anything you can buy.
First of all pop the ingredients for the dough, excluding the currants and mixed peel, into the breadmaker along with 1½-2 fl oz (40-55 ml) water, in the order your manual instructs. Then set it to the ‘dough raisin’ mode (or equivalent setting) and press the start button.
When the ‘raisin’ bleep blinks, add the currants and mixed peel and then continue to mix until the dough is ready. After that, turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface, knead it briefly, then divide it into 12 round portions and place them on the greased baking sheet, leaving plenty of room around each one.
Use a sharp knife to make a cross on the top of each bun. Then cover them with the oiled polythene bag and leave them to rise, which will take about 30 minutes by which time the buns will have almost doubled in size and are ready. While that’s happening, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C) and make the crosses.
Form a paste with 2 oz/50 g flour and 1½-2 tablespoons water, then roll this out and cut into ¼ inch (5 mm) strips. When the buns have risen, brush the strips with water to make them stick and place them on top of the buns along the indentations you made earlier. Then place the baking sheet on a high shelf in the oven and bake them for about 15 minutes.
While they are cooking, make the glaze by slowly melting together the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a pan over a gentle heat until all the sugar grains have dissolved and you have a clear syrup. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them immediately with the glaze while they are still warm. If you want to make them ahead of time, it’s quite nice just to warm them through again in the oven before eating.
If you want to freeze them, they do freeze well – just remember to put on the glaze after defrosting and then warm the buns through in the oven. Also don’t forget that stale leftover buns are brilliant toasted.
You will also need a baking sheet measuring 16 x 12 inches (40 x 30 cm), greased, and a large polythene bag, lightly oiled.