Thought I’d quickly just share the results of my “hot cross buns/ sourdough overnight”experiment….what a success. I can honestly say, hand on heart these are the best tasting hot cross buns I think I’ve ever made or ever tasted, they’re very light but still have a nice robustness about them, and because they’re home-made ones don’t taste all pappy and over sweet (which I always think is the trouble with shop bought ones unless you toast them)….
There was a little bit of fannying about making them but really that was more in the preparation, making the sponge on Wednesday night and then making the bread dough yesterday…but the taste was worth it……I shouldn’t really eat bread anymore as it makes me feel so wretched but one mouthful of these wasn’t enough so I ate a whole one,and I fully expect to spend this afternoon in a poorly bed on the sofa but for now I’m thinking it was worth it.
My weights and measures are very sketchy as I’ve just adapted my regular bread recipe which changes from week to week but roughly I made a sponge using bread flour (about 200g) starter (about 160g) some tepid water, I used this rather than milk as I knew it was going to be sitting out (just under 300 ml) about a handful of currants and a couple of desert spoons of dark brown sugar…this was all stirred together and left in a big bowl overnight covered with a tea towel.
I made the sponge about 9.30 at night…and left it until about 5.00 in the afternoon the next day so it had plenty of time to bubble and do it’s thing (which sourdough breads really do benefit from)…to the bubbled sponge I added some more bread flour, about 100g, then some melted unsalted butter (about 30g), a beaten egg, a couple of teaspoons of spice (1 tsp of cinnamon, some nutmeg, 1/2 tsp of ground clove and then 1/2 tsp of ground cumin) and a teaspoon of sea salt. This was mixed together with a silicone spatula as it’s pretty sticky and then I just kept adding more bread flour, once it’s coming together as a dough rather than a sticky mass, I emptied it out on the worktop and began kneading and adding flour as and when the dough wanted it…..then once the dough becomes cool and silky feeling, I popped it into a clean bowl which had a quick wipe of oil, covered it with a cloth and left it for a few hours……
Just before bed (about 9.30 ish) I took the dough out, gently knocked it back and cut it in half, and again and again and again….so you have 16 pieces of dough, roll them in your hands and place them onto a lined baking sheet. Using a plastic spatula or fish slice, press down and then again at 90 degrees to make a cross in the top of the bun (I find dipping the spatula into flour every other time stops it from sticking in the dough)…then leave the buns in the fridge overnight.
I got up at 6 this morning, took the buns out and gave them about 2 1/2 hours to come to room temp before giving them an egg wash and dribbling a flour paste cross on top then popping them into a gas mark 6 oven….our oven has been getting a bit hot agian so I gave them 17 minutes….they’d really swelled up in the oven and tore apart very easily…..once they are out I coated them with a sticky sugar syrup….they’d barely cooled before one was split open and salty butter was smeared inside, quickly disappearing into the boyfriend’s mouth…now you see it, now you don’t.
Like I said, they are a bit of a fanny about but it just involved being a bit organized, and they taste so good so I think the extra trouble is worth it.
If you’ve got a starter in the fridge then you could begin these today and have them ready for breakfast on Sunday. But if you don’t want to pfaff about, this is the recipe I used for years and years before I began using a natural starter, and which taste good as well.