Hot cross buns using a sourdough starter….

allow the buns to rise at room temp for about an hour and a half

Last year I adapted my recipe for hot cross buns which I’ve used pretty much for twenty and then some years to one that is made with a natural starter which I called Hipster hot cross buns (because as we know, hipsters do like their natural starters and making pickles…oh wait, does that mean I’m a ……)

I was a bit late putting the recipe up for the Hipster buns so it didn’t give you a lot of time to fit in the rising time that a sourdough needs so I thought to mention it again today so if you want to make them for this year you can get prepared…..also I wasn’t really sure how they’d turn out….and while they didn’t look the prettiest buns in the world, the boyfriend wolfed them down so I think we can happily say they tasted good too.

paint the buns with flour and sugar water crosses

Even if you don’t use a natural starter then you can still get ahead  by making the buns the night before and leaving them to rise in the fridge, then if on Good Friday you get up nice and early, allow the buns to rise for an hour or so in a warm kitchen before putting them into the oven to bake then you’ll have warm and sticky buns for breakfast.  These are easily my favourite seasonal/celebrational food to make.

Do they need the cross, not really, do they need the flour and water dribbled on top, nope…but doing both is for me part and parcel of their appeal, and whether it’s to signify a crucifxion or to mark the four seasons then to me they aren’t hot cross buns without them (they don’t make the buns taste any different if you decide not to worry about doing ..it’s purely visual.)

sticky and sweet sourdough buns

I’ve been looking at my past pictures of buns, and they really have my mouth watering and tummy grumbling….both batches look homemade rather than shop bought and these ones from last year look….well very rustic  (I think that the ones I made the year  before that came out looking better) but the spicy aroma while they were baking was just intoxicationg as it wafted around the house…..

So what changes to the recipe this year……well as you know I bake a fair amount of bread, and just recently I’ve made a few changes to how I make it , though to be honest the recipes I use don’t tend to be writ in stone and are often tinkered with, however this change has meant baking bread especially at a weekend fits in so well with what we’re doing.  Rather than get the starter out of the fridge and make the bread sponge first thing in the morning, I now do it while the kettle is boiling for a pre-bed time cup of tea……making the sponge late at night means it’s all ready to have extra ingredients added when I get up (kneading bread while you’re still all sleepy eyed is the nicest and gentlest way to wake up) and then a few hours proving while the dough rises means freshly baked bread can be served at lunch time…..

So I’m going to try out making the sponge tonight (Wednesday) and then plan to leave it til about lunch time tomorrow before kneading the dough and allowing it to slowly prove before shaping the rolls…..I’ll let them sit overnight Thursday in the fridge and then take them out first thing Friday morning so the boyfriend can have freshly baked buns for breakfast, with pats of yellow salty butter melting in the middle……

I know it all sounds like a right old rigmarole and a lot of fuss over something that will be gobbled up soon as looked at, but all the prepping and planning is part and parcel of the ritual, making these just once a year means I don’t mind spending extra time and attention to them, like marking those crosses, and it’s one of the ways in what I love about celebration food and traditions.

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