Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Traditionally eaten on Good Friday in many countries, hot cross buns are a sweet spiced bun made with dried fruit, usually either currants or raisins. Usually served warm, the bun derives its name from the cross that is marked on the top representing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the “hot” spices that are said to signify the embalming spices used for his burial.

Most recipes you’ll find require the use of yeast as the raising agent, however you can make an exceedingly good bun using your sourdough starter.

Hot Cross Buns

Sourdough Hot Cross Bun Recipe

Ingredients:

Sponge

Starter replenishment

  • 50g spelt flour
  • water

Dough

  • The sponge as prepared
  • 2 & 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 2/3 cup of currants, sultanas and/or raisins
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 50g butter
  • 2 teaspoon grated unwaxed orange peel
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon 5-spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of finely ground sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Water
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Mix the ingredients for the sponge in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and leave for overnight. By morning the sponge should be clearly fermenting (thick, sticky and bubbly) and should have doubled in size.
  2. Don’t forget to replenish the starter with the flour and sufficient water to maintain the batter-like consistency, otherwise you’ll soon run out.
  3. In the morning, or once the sponge is well fermented, mix in the maple syrup and butter.
  4. Place the flour in a separate bowl and mix in the salt, spices and orange peel.
  5. Place the dried fruit an a small bowl, cover with water and leave to soak.
  6. Add the dry mixture to the sponge and mix well, adding sufficient water to form a soft dough that is not too sticky then knead well, cover and set aside to prove for 3-5 hours (depending on the temperature).
  7. Once the dough has proved, drain the fruit and set aside the liquid.
  8. Knead the dough and mix in the fruit, continuing to knead until the fruit is evenly distributed.
  9. Roll the dough into a cylinder shape and cut into evenly-sized pieces using a knife or dough cutter. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a baking tray or cake tin that is well-greased or lined with baking parchment.
  10. Allow the tray of dough balls to prove until they are 2-3 times their original size.
  11. Mix some white flour, water, and a little olive oil to form a fairly stiff paste then using a piping bag, form a cross on the top of each bun.
  12. Bake at 180C for about 20 mins, until a skewer come out clean.
  13. Whist baking the buns, boil and reduce the liquid from the fruit to form a paste. Use this to glaze the buns as soon as they have been taken out of the oven.
  14. Allow to cool a little and then…
  15. Eat and enjoy with a generous helping of organic butter whilst still warm!

Notes:

Oven temperatures – All ovens are slightly different so you may need to adjust for your particular model. I’m using an electric fan oven, you may need to bake for longer and/or at a higher temperature.

Baking tray vs cake tin? – Using a cake tin will ensure there is less lateral spread as the dough rises. Your buns will not be as wide as the tin sides and the adjacent buns stop the spread, but they will be thicker.

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