Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday: Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are traditionally served during Lent and especially on Good Friday. Holiday traditions, especially foods, can really be comforting and I love the tradition. My step-mom (who is a very good cook) makes a meal she had every Good Friday of her childhood, although it isn't my favorite food (German and involves wilted lettuce) I still miss not being close enough to take part in the tradition. I thought I might start one of my own and have been making Hot Cross Buns for the last few years. In preparation of this post I looked the buns history up on Wikipedia and discover one of the superstitions is that if you hang one in the kitchen it will "ensure that all breads turn out perfectly". In light of my confession earlier this week, I think I should hang one in my kitchen.

Inspired by Clotilde's post last month I decided to convert this recipe to a sourdough* version. She did warn that breads which include sugar and eggs might not rise and to add some dry yeast to help it rise. I should have probably started with an easier recipe - so I'll post the non-sourdough version here (and stop neglecting my starter!).

Whatever your Easter holiday traditions are (or if you don't celebrate), I hope it's a happy Easter and beautiful early spring weekend!

Hot Cross Buns
1 pkg. dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1 c. milk, scalded
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 egg, well-beaten
3 1/2 c. flour (420 g) - divided
1/2 t. cinnamon
2/3 c. raisins, soaked

1. Combine the yeast and warm water for a few minutes.

2. Combine milk, sugar, salt and egg in a large bowl. Beat well.

3. Add yeast mixture to large bowl. Add 1 1/2 c. flour (180 g) and cinnamon. Cover and let rest for 1-hour until double in size. (Begin to soak raisins in water).

4. Add the remaining flour, 2 c. (240 g), add more if needed to make dough firm enough to handle. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth + elastic. Drain raisins and dust with flour. Knead in raisins at last minute.

5. Put the dough in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled. Punch the dough down and turn onto floured surface. Roll into rectangle and 1/2" thick. Cut the buns with a cutter (2 1/2" d) and place 1" apart on greased cookie sheet. Let rise, uncovered until doubled.

6. Cut cross in top of buns with floured scissors. Bake in preheated 375 deg. F oven for about 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

Yield: 24 buns

* I've been neglecting my starter which also couldn't have helped. Apparently one names their starter so I've been brainstorming and am thinking "June" after my grandmother.

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