Hot cross buns

Ingredients

60 g sultanas or raisins
60 g morello cherries
2 tablespoons mixed peel
1 orange, juice and zest
220 ml semi-skimmed milk
14 g dried yeast (2 sachets)
500 g strong bread flour , plus extra for dusting
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sea salt
1 nutmeg, for grating
60 g caster sugar
60 g unsalted butter, melted
1 large free-range egg, beaten

Crosses

2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tsp icing sugar
1 tsp vegetable oil

Glaze

100 g water
100 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
Zest from the orange

Method

  1. Put the dried fruit and peel into a small glass bowl with the orange juice.
  2. Add the milk and 55 g water to a small saucepan and gently heat, until it reaches blood temperature, then add the yeast.
  3. Sift the flour, spices, sea salt, and grated nutmeg into a large bowl, then add the sugar.
  4. Make a well in the centre and pour in the butter, yeast mixture and the beaten egg.
  5. Mix (with a bread scraper) until you have a dough, then transfer to a clean work surface and knead for around 7 minutes, or until smooth and springy. It will be wet, but don’t be tempted to add more flour.
  6. Return the dough to a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  7. Transfer the dough to a clean flour-dusted work surface. Press the dough down, then drain the dried fruit and sprinkle over the dough and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. It will be quite wet, but will come together again.
  8. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas 5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  9. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces (about 70 g each) and roll each into a ball, evenly spacing them on the tray.
  10. Cover with the damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 30 min to 1 hour, or until doubled in size. The dough is ready when it does not spring back when gently pressed.
  11. To make the crosses, place the plain flour, icing sugar, oil and 2 tbsp water into a small bowl and mix to a thick paste, then pour into a small icing bag.
  12. For the glaze, put the water, sugar, vanilla into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes then allow to cool. Add the orange zest.
  13. Gently pat down the risen buns then use the batter to draw a cross over the top.
  14. Place the buns into the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  15. Transfer to a wire cooling rack, generously brush over the glaze, then leave to cool.

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