Hot cross buns, a love letter to mum

Growing up, our mum baked bread. The aromas of rising yeast and mouthwatering smells of fresh loaves, speak to me of childhood. The warm crust slathered with butter and homemade jam was the best bit. These memories transport me back to our paddock surrounded ‘Billenya’ house in Holloway Road.

Of course, the bread was mostly wholemeal. My plea of ‘Mum, can’t I just have store bought white bread?’, must have driven her nuts. Rarely do my own sproglets have white bread. My, we really do turn into our mothers.

Mum also made her own hot cross buns. Having children of my own, helped me to truly appreciate what our own mother did for us. Not everyone is lucky enough to have mothers as emotionally and physically present as she was. (Even when things were less than idyllic.) As time has passed, some friends have sadly lost their mums. I am feeling very thankful for mum today.

Apart from pizza, yeast based products have never been my forte. That is about to change. On this slightly cloudy and drizzly day, with Easter on the horizon, something in me longs for the aromas of mums kitchen. These hot cross buns are a homage to her. In every knead of the dough, I pour in gratitude for all of her hard work, commitment and for always feeding her four girls so well and healthily.

No matter how much we may have moaned about it.

Hot cross buns

Light, airy with a lovely warmth from the spices, these were absolutely delicious, scoffed down with a cup of tea. Ambrosia.

I have slightly adapted an SBS website recipe by halving it, adding a touch of spelt flour and using less fruit. I have also provided the full recipe quantities if you would like to make about 20 buns. (See after the recipe.) I made 9 out of this quantity.

I only added sultanas as the kidlets don’t like a lot of dried fruit, but feel free to add some chopped apricots and currants if you like. (Maybe 50g or so.) Keep in mind the 1 hour and 45 minutes resting time.

YOU NEED
200 ml milk
60g butter
2 cups bread (high protein ) flour
1/2 cup wholemeal spelt flour
40g raw caster sugar (or regular)
1 x 7g yeast sachet
120g sultanas
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
Zest one lemon
1/2 beaten egg

Cross paste (this makes too much for 9, its the full amount for 20 buns)
1/2 cup plain flour
75 ml sunflower oil (I used rice bran oil)
65ml water

Spice glaze
1/4 tsp mixed spice
70g raw caster sugar
50ml water

HOW YOU DO IT
Place the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low to medium heat and stir until combined. Let cool slightly.
Place the sugar, yeast, flours, sultanas, cinnamon, mixed spice, salt and lemon zest into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir to combine.
Stir in the egg, then the milk mixture.
Knead for 9 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and elastic.
Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and please in a warm and draught free spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (This process is called ‘proving’.)
Knock back the dough and divide into 9 or 10 equal pieces. Knead each piece for 1 minute until it is a smooth ball.
Place in rows on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm, draught free spot for 45 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 220C (conventional, 200C fan forced)
To make paste for the cross, place flour, oil and water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Place into a piping bag with a small nozzle (or a small ziplock plastic bag with the tip cut off) and pipe a cross shape onto each dough ball.
Bake for 10 minutes at 220C (conventional, or 200C fan forced) for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 200C (or 180C fan forced) and bake for a further 9 minutes or until golden.

Make spice glaze while buns are baking, put mixed spice, sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, dissolving sugar. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Brush buns generously with glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter.

A tip from one of my lovely sissies: If your house is draughty, try proving in the microwave! (Just don’t turn it on).

To make 20 buns:
400 ml milk, 120g butter, 4 cups bread (high protein ) flour, 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour, 75g raw caster sugar (or regular), 2 x 7g yeast sachet, 240g sultannas, 3 1/2 tsps cinnamon, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp salt, zest one lemon, 1 beaten egg.
The paste recipe is the same, for the glaze, use 1/2 tsp mixed spice and 125 g caster sugar.

Go here for the original recipe: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/hot-cross-buns-0

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28 thoughts on “Hot cross buns, a love letter to mum

  1. Amanda

    Awww, that made me a bit teary, as much as we complained at times wouldn’t change any of it for the world, what a way to grow up, fresh bread after school yummm, beautifully written Lisa xx

  2. Leanne Sagala

    Oh that’s so beautiful I even got a bit teary! So special.
    I know one day your boys will feel exactly the same about you Lise xx

  3. I grew up on homebrand wholemeal bread. As nutritionally devoid of anything as homebrand white bread however not delicious and fluffy, rather dry and pasty. It was awful. When my Mum decided to switch to rye bread, i was beside myself i was so happy.

  4. Leanne Sagala

    These were so delicious that I had 2 in one sitting!
    Added extra sultanas thanks to Miss Cheergerms tip. Be very hard to eat store bought hot cross buns now..

  5. tweatfeast

    I really like your step-by-step photos. And your finished product is picture perfect. I still think its like magic when yeast dough rises! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Easter egg biscuits and Miffy | The Cheergerm & the Silly Yak

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