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No knead Easter "faux-caccia" hot cross buns

Home made hot cross buns are absolutely delicious but they are a little fiddly.  Here is a great solution for someone who wants to bake their own hot cross bun experience without the fiddle.  It's the the no knead hot cross bun faux-caccia. 

This is by far the easiest way to make a focaccia and it makes one for a crowd.  To prepare it, you start the night before and put the dough in the fridge, taking it out up to 3 hours before you want to bake, OR you start that morning and put the dough on the counter all day to have your "buns" for tea. 

You can scrape the dough right from the bowl to your prepared pan.  If you want your fauxcaccia to be *even* better you can do the following:

1.  Measure the water into the bowl and add the yeast.  Let it sit for 10 minutes before adding the flour and the salt. You do not need to do this but if you have an extra 10 minutes, you can.  It always helps when the yeast is dissolved.  Any kind of yeast.
2.  You can do a stretch and fold about one hour before you want to bake.
3.  When you scrape the dough out of the bowl into your prepared tray, you can stretch out the top edge and fold it to the middle, stretch out the bottom edge and fold it to the middle and then flip the whole thing over.  That way you have layers of butter in your dough and that's VERY NICE.  

But - to be clear - you don't have to do any of those things if you cannot be bothered.

I use a deep roasting tray (at least 2 inches) that is 13 x 9 inches.  The faux-caccia is about 1.5 inches tall.  If you like it thicker, make it in a smaller tray.  If you don't have a try as big as this and like it thin, but the dough in half (or make two - one after the other).  It take a bit of experimentation to find the right dough:tray ratio that you like.

I have adapted this from the one that appears for Hot Cross Buns in Making Bread at Home, which is a re-publication of my first book All You Knead is Bread.  If you have that book, you don't need the new one.  If you don't have Making Bread at Home, it's really a great book for beginners and advanced bakers alike. 

Ingredients - makes one large tray

For the dough:

150 g whole meal flour
300 g white flour
2 g instant yeast, 4 g dry yeast, 8 g fresh yeast
8 g salt
60 g sugar
350 g milk (from the fridge is fine)
1 egg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground clove
1 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon mixed spice or cardamom (ground)

To make it really nice:

250 g raisins or sultanas
60 g unsalted butter

For the crossing mix:

50 g white flour
50 g water
pinch of baking powder or soda
1/2 tsp vegetable oil of your choice (even olive will do - there is so little you cannot taste it)

Method:

The overnight method:

The night before you want the buns measure the raisins/sultanas into a bowl and cover them with water.  Cover and let sit on the counter over night. Measure all the other ingredients for the buns except the butter into a big mixing bowl.  Stir well to mix and then cover with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge.

The next day remove the dough from the fridge a at least three hours before you want to bake so that the dough can warm up.  Do a two or three "stretch and folds" during that time.  Drain the raisins/sultanas reserving their soaking liquid and distribute them thoroughly into the dough in your last "stretch and fold".  You won't hurt the dough, just watch out for the raisins.

Melt the butter and pour it into a roasting tray that is about 12 x 9 inches.  If it is a non stick tray, pour the butter straight in and spread it around.  If it is not a non stick tray, line it first with non stick baking parchment and then pour in the butter and spread it around.  Let it cool until it is just warm and still liquid.  You don't want to kill the yeast with butter that is too hot.

Scrape the dough into the pan and roll it around in the butter to coat it thoroughly, flipping it over a few times and taking care not to press it or push it or you will take all the air out.  Take the top edge and stretch it before folding it into the middle.  Take the bottom edge and stretch it before folding it into the middle.  Flip the dough over again.  The point here is to get the butter all over the place and inside the dough.  Then, get under the dough with your hands and gently pull it out to the edges so that it fills the tray.  

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

The "same day" method

Start at least 3 hours before you want to bake.  It can be 5-6 hours, the dough is pretty forgiving.

Measure the raisins/sultanas into a bowl and cover them with water.  Cover and let sit on the counter. Measure all the other ingredients for the buns except the butter into a big mixing bowl.  Stir well to mix and then cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter.  Every hour, do a "stretch and fold".  About one hour before you want to bake, drain the raisins/sultanas reserving their soaking liquid and distribute them evenly into the dough by doing a "stretch and fold".  You won't hurt the dough, just watch out for the raisins.

Melt the butter and pour it into a roasting tray that is about 12 x 9 inches.  If it is a non stick tray, pour the butter straight in and spread it around.  If it is not a non stick tray, line it first with non stick baking parchment and then pour in the butter and spread it around.  Let it cool until it is just warm and still liquid.  You don't want to kill the yeast with butter that is too hot.

Scrape the dough into the pan and roll it around in the butter to coat it thoroughly, flipping it over a few times and taking care not to press it or push it or you will take all the air out.  Take the top edge and stretch it before folding it into the middle.  Take the bottom edge and stretch it before folding it into the middle.  Flip the dough over again.  The point here is to get the butter all over the place and inside the dough.  Then, get under the dough with your hands and gently pull it out to the edges so that it fills the tray.  

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Stir together the ingredients for the crossing mixture and the scoop it into a piping bag with a small nozzle or a sturdy plastic bag with a tiny hole cut into one corner.  Pipe 3 lines going long wise over the surface of the dough and 5 lines going across the width of the dough.  Make sure you start the lines about 1 - 2 inches in from the edges because you want the lines' intersection to be in the middle of each "bun".

Pop the dough in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.  You want the dough to be a nice golden brown and the crosses to be white (fingers crossed).

While the dough is baking, put the liquid you reserved from the raisins into a small sauce pan and boil it rapidly until it becomes a thick syrup.

When the faux-caccia is done, remove it from the oven and remove it from the pan carefully.  Immediately glaze it with the raisin syrup and then let it cool completely.

Cut it into squares where the lines intersect and eat.  YUM.
 

Measure all the ingredients into a bowl and stir Measure all the ingredients into a bowl and stir

The dough rises over night The dough rises over night

Pipe the crossing mixture on the dough before baking Pipe the crossing mixture on the dough before baking

Hot cross buns faux-caccia Hot cross buns faux-caccia

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