Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hot Cross Buns!

Hey, it's almost Easter time, and you know what that means: hot cross buns, people!!!

OK, folks, you need to try these if you like breads. The recipe is from Cooking Light magazine, April issue. Pretty easy to follow, and the resulting buns are really quite tasty. They have the texture of a good panettone, and you can taste just a slight hint of the orange/cinnamon/nutmeg combination. The frosting is super-sweet, but there's only a little bit of it and it offsets the other flavors.

Recipe link:

This is a definite keeper, and will make this again (and again). I changed the recipe a bit, as my family doesn't do well with fruit rind or currants. So I doubled the amount of golden raisins, and it worked out just fine. I also didn't use the quick rise yeast the recipe calls for, as I despise using any kind of quick rise yeast in any bread recipes - that stuff makes the dough consistency too dense, the dough tends to rise fast and then flop with no hope of recovery, resulting in a very weird texture, and it will make your bread bake unevenly.

The only issue other people may have with the recipe is the prep time. Make sure you have 3 hours to do these in because that is approximately how long they will take. The end result is worth it, though; I promise!

Two things that I have found over the years that help my breads (any breads, not just the buns): I will only use King Arthur brand flour. I don't know what those folks in Vermont are doing with their milling processes, but it is superior stuff for smooth, consistent breads every time. Yes, I know it costs more, but it's really worth it as you will see from the results you get each and every time you use it in bread recipes. And pizza dough!

I will also only use Fleischmann's yeast - not the rapid rise type, though. Fleishmann's has consistently active cultures and I've never had a problem with it. Another good idea is to keep yeast in the refrigerator, as it stays fresher for longer periods of time than if you keep it at room temperature. The cold retards the active cultures and puts them into a dormant state until you're ready to use the yeast. I've even frozen yeast I've bought in bulk at Sam's Club or Costco and it works great once defrosted.

This recipe rates a solid 5 out of 5 stars for me. I'm not usually a big bread eating person, but I enjoyed these. Good texture, not overpowering flavor, slightly sweet, spicy and fruity. Spring-season tastes!

My family will love these - but Le Spouse is the Big Bread-o-Phile in this household. I sent him a picture of the finished buns, and I could literally feel the drool through the smartphone. He's probably panting to get home and try some. I anticipate a major dent in the 24 buns this recipe yields by bedtime tonight.

Hope you like the recipe, and the picture above is what my results looked like. Oh, the only thing I'd be careful of is the cooking spray in the muffin tins - I'm not sure if it's my oven that did this or what, but the bottoms of the buns are slightly burnt which I don't like. I suspect it's my oven, though - it is newer and I'm still adjusting to its quirks.

I'm currently working on getting a food truck together, so stay tuned - I am finally going to begin the business that I've been dreaming about for years and years.