Hot Cross Buns

Easter is coming up, which means warm, glossy hot cross buns are on the menu. My birthday is around Easter, and two years ago (my last pre-pandemic birthday *sigh*!) I went on a hot cross bun making class on my birthday at a cookery school in London where we learnt how to make the perfect hot cross bun. They’re worth making from scratch, I promise you’ll never buy a store bought version after this! They’re not too difficult to prep, plus your kitchen will smell amazing afterwards! You’ll need a piping bag for this recipe.

Ingredients:
Makes 6 buns

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice powder (you can also use allspice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 5g salt
  • 5g fast-action dried yeast
  • 20g butter
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g sultanas
  • olive oil, for greasing
  • 35g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup

Method:

  1. Mix the bread flour, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon and lemon and orange zests in a bowl. Move this half of the mixture to one side of the bowl and then add the salt and yeast on the opposite side.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and warm the milk in a separate pan or in the microwave (until just warm/tepid).
  3. This step and step 4 can either be done by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook. Add the butter and half the milk to the dry ingredients, then add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the dry ingredients from the edges of the bowl as you do. Gradually add the remaining milk until you have a soft dough. You may not need all of the milk.
  4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes and incorporate the sultanas and lemon and orange zest into the dough. The dough should be silky and elastic and form a smooth ball.
  5. Oil a large mixing bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. I usually warm up my oven for 3-5 minutes, turn the heat off and then place the bowl in there to prove.
  6. Divide the dough into 6 balls and line a baking tray with baking parchment and place on top, fairly close together and flattening them slightly. Cover in clingfilm and leave to prove again for 60 minutes until doubled in size.
  7. Preheat your oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
  8. For the ‘cross’ toppings for your buns, add your plain flour to a bowl with 50ml water. Mix together to make a paste and spoon into a piping bag. Pipe a cross on each bun.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking tray round halfway through if necessary.
  10. Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with the syrup to give them a shine and then leave to cool on a wire rack.

Cheesy tear-n-share Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is easily the best type of bread, and this recipe creates an amazing tear and share loaf that tastes as good as the ones you get in a fancy Italian restaurant! There’s actually not much proving time required compared to other loafs I have made, you only really need to let it rise for an hour or so.

Prep Time: 1.5 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 120ml warm water
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dried yeast
  • 14g butter (softened)
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 360g strong white bread flour

For the topping:

  • 56g melted butter
  • a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Mix the warm water, yeast and sugar together in a bowl. Whisk and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your flour mixture in a separate bowl. Mix the butter, milk, salt and 180g of bread flour in a bowl. Stir in your yeast mixture and then gradually add the remaining flour until a dough is formed. Knead for 10 minutes on a floured surface.
  3. Combine the butter, parsley, oregano, garlic and salt in a saucepan on a low heat until the butter is melted.
  4. Cut your dough into 1 inch pieces and roll into balls (each ball should roughly weigh 35-40g each).
  5. Place the balls on a lined baking tray and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough is doubled in size.
  6. Once your dough has risen, chop up your mozzarella into small chunks and slot in the creases of the dough balls. Pour the remaining butter mixture over your dough.
  7. Bake at gas mark 4 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.