And happy Easter to you all.
As ever, thanks for all of your support for everything we do. It is thanks to you that things like our Crafternoon Tea on 26 March was such a success and we raised a phenomenal £656 to send to the Turkey/Syria Earthquake relief fund.
We’ll be announcing some new bread classes after Easter including a couple of exciting new ones. Our existing class schedule is fully booked!
Coming soon: Our SEVENTH Birthday celebrations and details of our Coronation celebration packages!
But for now, Easter is just a couple of days away, and, as a family time it is nice to share the love of baking with the ones nearest and dearest - or eat it all yourself!
Hot Cross Bun, the history
As the mince pie is to Christmas, the Hot Cross Bun is to Easter. And I do love a Hot Cross Bun. The commercial ones are okay but just like a homemade mince pie at Christmas you cannot beat one that is homemade. Next year we should run a class but in the meantime I’ve included my recipe below. For any of you who have attended any of our classes these are a cinch, they taste great and family and friends will be amazed at your skill.
I’ve been doing a bit of fact digging about the Hot Cross Bun, so did you know…
· The cross on the top of the bun was originally cut into the bun (just as we do on a sodabread) and not made of flour paste
· The cross on the top of the bun has always been symbolic – we now interpret it as a symbol of Christ, but it wasn’t always so. Crosses on buns date back to Roman and pagan times and represented the four seasons or phases of the moon.
· Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 decreed that no baker should ‘make, utter, or sell…any spice cakes, buns, biscuits or other spice bread’ except at burials, Christmas and on Good Friday.
· The ‘one a penny, two a penny rhyme…’ hot cross bun rhyme appeared in the 1730’s. Little chance of getting a hot cross bun nowadays for a halfpenny but a halfpenny in 1730 was worth the equivalent of 39p today.
Hot Cross Buns - The Recipe
· 500g strong white flour
· 75g caster sugar
· 2 tsp mixed spice
· 1 tsp ground cinnamon
· 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
· 10g salt
· 7g fast-action dried yeast
· 50g butter
· 300ml milk
· 1 free-range egg, beaten
· 200g sultanas
· 50g finely chopped mixed candied peel
· oil, for greasing
· For the topping
· 75g plain flour
· 2 tbsp golden syrup, for glazing
1. Put the flour, sugar, spices and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix together. Then add the salt and yeast, placing them apart on opposite sides of the bowl.
2. Put the butter and milk into a jug and war in the microwave for 50 seconds (enough that the milk is slightly warm and the butter very soft or melted). Add half the tepid milk/butter liquid to the dry ingredients. Add the egg and use your hands to bring the mixture together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go. Gradually add the remaining milk, to form a soft pliable dough (you may not need all of the milk).
3. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 10 minutes until silky and elastic and forming a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film or a dinner plate and leave to rest in a warm place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
4. Turn the risen dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Knock back flatten out the dough and incorporate the sultanas and mixed peel and give a light knead for a further minute or so. Return to the bowl, cover again with cling film or the plate and leave in a warm place to rise for a further 50 minutes or until doubled in size.
5. Turn the dough out again on to a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces, shaping each of these into a ball. – if you want uniform buns weight the dough ,divide weight by 12 and weigh each dough ball individually. Line 1-2 baking trays with paper and place the balls on the tray, placing them fairly close together and flattening them slightly.
6. Lighly oil some cling film and lay over the buns on the trays. Leave for 40-60 minutes until the buns have doubled in size.
7. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
8. For the topping, add the flour to a bowl with 100ml/3½fl oz water. Mix together to make a thin paste and spoon into an icing bag (or freezer bag and just chop off a corner).
9. Here’s a fun bit - when the buns have risen remove the polythene bags and pipe a cross on each bun.
10. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden-brown, turning the baking trays round halfway through if necessary.
11. Melt the golden syrup in a pan and while the buns are still warm, brush the buns with a little syrup to give a nice shine, before setting aside to cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy and remember to tell us what you think of them, with pics!