Here is a reason to give up raisins, rather than chocolate, for Lent

Measure flour, sugar, yeast and make a well, pour on milk...

Measure flour, sugar, yeast and make a well, pour on milk... click to enlarge

Knead well and let rise 2 hours.

Knead well and let rise 2 hours. click to enlarge

Crossed and in the oven

Crossed and in the oven click to enlarge

Baked, glazed and warm

Baked, glazed and warm click to enlarge

What I am baking today:  Hot cross buns with chocolate chips (for those who do not like raisins).

Ingredients

150 g whole wheat flour
300 g plain white wheat flour
2 g instant/4.5 g active dry/9 g fresh yeast
50 g sugar
280 g milk that you have heated up to boiling point and allowed to cool completely
1 egg
9 g salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ginger
1/2 teaspoon clove
1/2 all spice
50 g butter
250 g chocolate chips

For the crossing mix:

50 g white flour
pinch of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil of your choice
50 g cold water

Method:

Measure the flours in a big mixing bowl make a well.  Sprinkle in the yeast and the sugar.  Pour over the milk.  Flick a thin layer of flour over the milk to close the well and leave it for one hour.

Meanwhile, put the raisins in a little bowl and just cover them in water (or in rum or brandy if you would like a grown up hot cross bun).  Give them a little stir every once in a while.

After an hour, add the egg, salt, and spices and gather the dough together into a ball.  Turn it out on the counter and knead well for 10 minutes.  Add the butter and continue to knead for 10 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky but don’t let that stop you and please don’t add more flour.

Pop it back in the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Squish in the chocolate chips to make sure they are distrubuted evenly.  Don't worry about the dough, it will recover.  Pop the dough back into the bowl, cover it and let it rest for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.

 

Shape the buns

- Pull the dough out gently on to a non floury surface.  The dough is quite soft and sticy and that is normal.  You need a non floury surface because you need "stick" in order to shape the buns firmly so they keep their shape

- Divide the dough into blobs about 75 grams in weight

- Shape tight balls (see a video here if you are not sure how to do this)

Place these buns about 5 cm apart on a baking tray that is lined with non stick baking parchment.  Flour the tops lightly, cover them with a tea towel and let them rise for 45 minutes or so.  

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

While they are rising, make the crossing mixture by whisking all the ingredients together in a little bowl.  When the buns have doubled in size, scrape the crossing mixture into a piping bag or into a little plastic bag and cut a tiny hole in one corner.

Squeeze the piping or plastic bag gently to get all the mixture gathered near the hole and then carefully pipe crosses on each bun.   

Pop them in the oven and bake them for 18-20 minutes.  In an ideal world this results in a brown bun and a white cross.  Take them out of the oven and put them on a cooling rack that is sitting on top of some greaseproof paper.  Brush the buns immediately with liquid honey, golden syrup or the glaze of your choice.

If you like this recipes, there are more bun recipes from around the world in The Book of Buns as well as a facebook group you can join filled with people who are baking their way through The Book of Buns.  This recipe also appears in All You Knead Is Bread which has bread recipes from around the world (and the odd bun...)