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’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.

Bunnies and floral prints to celebrate Spring….

pink blue and cream bunny face hangers

I think that’s been one of the fastest, flying by weekends I’ve known in a while….I just looked at my watch and was like how is that the time already…..most mornings I’m up pretty early (anywhere between 5.30 and 6) but I felt so completely shattered yesterday after doing the Spring fair in Holt yesterday (thank you again Ruth for all your hard work in organizing it) I forgot to set my alarm so slept right through til about 8 o’clock which is a proper lie in for me, and getting up late (and still feeling right tired) has meant I’ve felt behind for most of the day…..anyway I had a nice day in Holt and it was lovely to see some familar faces who popped by to say hello.

As I mentioned at the end of last week I’ve now listed some new pieces in my Folksy shop…more will be added in the next day or so but I thought these would be of interest if you’re buying presents to celebrate Spring……..

First up is a selection of children’s coat hangers….these are some of my favourite pieces to make….I’ve been using the bunny face motif now for more years than I care to remember…it started out adorning egg cosies, has been a brooch, a hair slide, and has appeared along the top of some baby blankets amongst other things.

grey face bunny

The coat hangers are made from vintage Witney wool blankets so are lovely and soft, (oh Witney wool blankets how I love you) …..they come in a range of colours including cream, a raspberry pink and a gorgeous orangey red. The bunnys and carrots are made from 100% pure wool felt and are hand sewn (even those tiny cheeks are sewn by hand)….then the hangers are filled with Norfolk lavender.

They look very sweet hanging up behind a bedroom door or from the architrave, especially when they’re displaying a party frock or a wee pair of dungarees….I also find it’s much easier to be tidier and to hang things up when there is a pretty hanger to hand.

I’ve listed  quite a selection and have left it up to you which two to chose if you want to buy a pair.  (Previously I’ve sold these as singles but the postage seems to cost so much for one that it makes more sense to buy two as that second one is pretty much pence then to post).

primrose bunny fabric bag

The second Easter item (though like the hangers you can use it all year round) are these draw string bags made from a soft primrose yellow vintage fabric with bunnies and ducks on it…..the bags are fully lined with a bright yellow floral print and measure about 10 inches by 15 1/2 inches.

floral print inside

They’re a nice size so you could use them to hold a selection of chocolatey Easter treats….but they also hold a book more than comfortably so afterwards could be used as a library book bag, or to hold soft toys and treasures…..

The drawstring tie is pretty sturdy so these can be hung up from door hooks or coat racks if you want to use them as tiny PE bags for ballet class or just somewhere to pop in bits and pieces when bedroom floors need a quick tidy up of toys.

flower embellished egg cosy

Along with the bag is a little floral embellished egg cosy…I grew up in quite a chilly house (and to be honest most of the houses I’ve lived in since have been pretty parky too, and egg cosies and tea cosies were part and parcel of cold kitchens)…..I made these a few years ago and am selling the bag and egg cosy combined at a somewhat cheaper price than some of my other pieces.

As a little Easter treat, I’m also including a free Mystery gift which I’m sure will appeal to Bunny lovers.

If you order in the next day or so then these should all be with you before Easter, after Wednesday then you may not be so lucky but I’ll try my best to get anything posted out on the day it’s ordered.

Both the hangers and the draw string bags are also pretty handy if you’re in the middle of Spring cleans and tidy ups…

Hope whatever you did this weekend, you had fun and got to enjoy a little Spring sunshine.