As mentioned several times before, I’m trying to practice my bread-making more, as I’m not particularly good at it. These Easter hot cross buns from a Paul Hollywood recipe presented a bit of a challenge for me, but I think I just about overcame it!
One of the intriguing things about this recipe is the addition of chunks of fresh apple, which help keep the hot cross buns moist and add a bit more flavour. There are also a lot of sultanas and mixed peel, along with a generous helping of cinnamon.
The main issue I had to grapple with was, as always, the proving of the dough. The recipe says it takes 4 hours in total to prove the dough (you need to do it three times), but the whole thing including baking took me well over 7 hours!
The problem was that the dough seemed ridiculously slow to rise. Things improved when I attempted to warm up the kitchen, covered the trays with greased clingfilm instead of placing them in plastic bags and placed the final shaped dough balls on a chair in front of a hot oven (the last two points are Lorraine Pascale tips!), but I suspect the sheer weight of all the fruit in the dough inhibited the rise somewhat. Either that or I should have kneaded the dough a lot more!
I also had issues with shaping the dough into nice, neat, round buns, which is an ongoing problem for me! Some of the buns ended up slightly deformed as a result, but I just ate those first…
Despite the near-burning and the proving issues, the buns tasted so good. The first one I had, fresh from the oven, was absolutely delicious and beautifully sticky from the apricot jam glaze. They were equally good toasted and buttered, too. I really can tell the difference between these and shop-bought hot cross buns!
Would I make these again? Well, perhaps in the height of summer and when I know I have a whole day free! If you have a warmer kitchen than mine, I would recommend this recipe. Paul Hollywood might be a harsh taskmaster, but his bread recipes really do tend to be a cut above the rest.
Can be found here: http://paulhollywood.com/recipes/easter-hot-cross-buns/