I would love to bottle the aroma that fills the house whenever I bake hot cross buns and save it for special occasions. If you are like me I am sure, you will feel the same. Pinterest has been a source of inspiration and excitement for me. There are loads of recipes and best of all colourful photographs and step by step tutorials for anything and everything you could dream of. And so I mix and match and bake and steam and experiment to my heart's delight.
I can't remember how many recipes and sites I went through before I found http://onionsandpaper.blogspot.co.uk which gave step by step instructions on how to make a hot cross bun loaf in a bread maker. What joy! And since I have a bread machine, I decided to trial bake it yesterday. The result was phenomenal, the aroma enough to drive me insane and the taste everything one could wish for. The three of us had it for dinner yesterday with butter and enjoyed every crumb.
350 ml warm water; 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 1/4 tsp salt; 2 tbsp brown sugar; 520 gm all purpose flour; 1 tsp dry yeast at room temperature; 1 cup of dried fruit- I used my fruit cake mix which I always have soaking in rum for Christmas.
Using a wooden spoon, mix the flour, sugar, salt, oil, yeast and spices together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water. Keep mixing until the dough comes together. Discard the spoon and use your hands to knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until soft. Add the fruit and knead to incorporate. Place in a large glass bowl, cover with cling film and keep in a warm place to rise until double in size. This takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the warmth of the place you have kept it in. Punch down the dough (it should spring back) and gently knead again. Grease a loaf tin and place the dough inside and leave aside to rise again until double in size. Bake in a preheated oven at 175 C for 40 minutes or until the loaf is nice and brown. Every oven is different, so there may be a slight variation in the time it takes to bake. Remove from oven, cool for 10 minutes or so and serve warm or toasted with butter and jam if you please.
NB: This took me three hours, so start early.
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