April 7, 2023

Hot Cross Buns


Yesterday (Holy Thursday) I decided to make a batch of Hot Cross Buns, which are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but I like to enjoy them throughout the Lenten season.  To make the buns I used my all-time favorite fluffy dinner rolls recipe from Cook's Illustrated. The only revision I made to the original version was to add cinnamon, nutmeg and plenty of raisins.  

While I was making the buns an idea came to me that I think was quite ingenious.  As I finished shaping the buns it just so happened that my dishwasher beeped, signaling the end of a recent cycle.  When I opened the dishwasher door I was reminded of how warm and humid the interior was.  EUREKA! Why not proof the dough buns inside the turned off dishwasher since it had the optimum conditions?  
After only 30 minutes the dough doubled in size beautifully and validated my hypothesis.   Normally the ambient temperature in San Francisco is too cold to proof dough without some assistance so the dishwasher solution is perfect.  Who says you need an expensive dough proofer?  Not me!  I will definitely be using this funny technique going forward.   

Hot Cross Buns

Makes 12 rolls

Flour Paste
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons bread flour

1/2 cup cold milk
1 large egg
2 cups (11 oz) bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup raisins (add up to 1 more cup if you'd like) 

1 tablespoon apricot jam
Royal Icing (for the cross decoration)

For the Flour Paste: Whisk water and flour together in small bowl until no lumps remain. Microwave, whisking every 20 seconds, until mixture thickens to stiff, smooth, pudding-like consistency that forms mound when dropped from end of whisk into bowl, 40 to 80 seconds.

For the Dough: In bowl of stand mixer, whisk flour paste and milk together until smooth. Add egg and whisk until incorporated. Add flour and yeast. Fit stand mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until all flour is moistened, 1 to 2 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Add sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix on medium-low speed for 5 minutes. With mixer running, add softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to mix on medium-low speed 5 minutes longer, scraping down dough hook and sides of bowl occasionally (dough will stick to bottom of bowl).  Add raisins and continue mixing until evenly distributed.

Transfer dough to very lightly floured counter. Knead briefly to form ball and transfer, seam side down, to lightly greased bowl; lightly coat surface of dough with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper.  
Transfer dough to counter. Press dough gently but firmly to expel all air. Evenly divide dough into 12 portions, about 75g each. Working with 1 piece at a time, shape the dough into a round by cupping your hand around the dough and moving in a circular motion.  Place the dough onto the parchment-lined sheet pan.  Shape the remaining dough.  Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When rolls are nearly doubled, adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls until deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rolls cool in pan on wire rack.  Warm the apricot jam in a small bowl.  Brush the tops of each bun with the melted jam.  Pipe a royal icing cross on top each bun and let dry completely.

1 comment:

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