Hot Cross Buns

Yield: 10 Servings
My Grams used to bring HCBs from some place in Sacto when I was growing up. I have no idea where, but they came in incredibly unwholesome tin pans. I'd love to bust that out as kind of a retro touch, but it'll need some experimenting. Dough like this, thick and kinda elastic, refrigerates past the apocalypse. It would kick ass to be able to pull a pan of these out whenever. This makes wonderfully elastic buns that are golden brown yet chewy-soft throughout. The as-yet untried Sacto Standard uses diced, candied fruit instead of raisins and was considerably cakier.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 Tbl light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp mace
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • pinch ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbl unsalted butter, in small chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbl milk, for glaze

Preparation

Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup lukewarm milk and let proof 10 minutes.

Mix all dry ingredients except fruit together and add the fermented milk/yeast mixture. Add butter, egg and yolk and mix thoroughly.

When the dough is solid enough to form a dough ball, remove to a floured surface and knead until elastic. Knead dried fruit product into dough. Lightly flour a large ziploc bag and seal dough inside until the dough doubles.

Refrigerate overnight or up to 20 hours. Remove 20 minutes before shaping to take the chill off.

Punch down dough inside of bag to deflate. Remove and divide into 10 pieces, rolling each into a ball. The balls with look rather small but will rise significantly by the time they're cooked. Place balls about 2 inches apart on a lined or greased baking sheet and flatten slightly.

Cover buns with a damp, clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes until nearly doubled in size.

Using a razor blade or sharp knife, make a cross cut about 1/2 inch deep in the tops of the buns. You can get away with making the cuts with two duller knives in opposite directions.

Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven (375 for convections) for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

While buns are baking, sift powdered sugar into a small bowl and add just enough milk to make a soft glaze.

When buns are done, paint a cross of glaze along previous scores. (PUNK ROCK NOTE: this glaze sounds like it would come out, well, lets say it rhymes with "like fizz". Oldschool Sacto way is some kind of gooey-yet- rather-clear cookup). Serve as soon as possible.

If baked ahead, the buns may be reheated in a 350F oven for a few minutes.

**Decent-sounding HCB recipes are somewhat hard to come by, in my experience. The whole HCB culture seems blighted -- in some regions being all but completely unknown. This Seems Wrong.