Friday, April 30, 2010

Hot Cross Buns!

Well, there is a lot that could be said about Hot Cross Buns, but then, I have a very juvenile mind. I have heard of them, and sang the song as a kid, but to the best of my knowledge I have never actually seen one. My Darling Wife assures me that have seen them in Ireland. I have certainly never tasted one.
Hot Cross Buns were the very first bread in the Mellow Bakers Group. It was their March bread, and seeing that April is nearly over, today being the 30th, I thought it was time to learn the bread that goes with the nursery rhyme. I am attaching the link above so that those of you that are interested in baking can find your way to the friendliest, most laid back site on the web. Also, so that you can see what HCB's are supposed to look like! At this stage, my dough is going through it's first fermentation. I was fortunate enough to read that the recipe in "BREAD" - our bible for this venture - has enough of the cross paste for several armies. So, I will cut way back as well.
This is the yeast and milk mixture, one picture a half hour later than the other.

This is what the dough looks like so far. It just went into the microwave (off, of course) to warm and sit for an hour. On the right, an hour later.

After an hour, the dough was divided. If you look at the picture below, you will see a long fillet knife on the side of the dough. I am pretty fond of that knife. I bought a Gerber fillet knife and liked it so much I bought one of each size. This one is my Halibut knife - a very useful thing for filleting a 150 lb. fish or dividing dough!

I digress...


I went to the SHOT show (shooting, hunting, outdoor trades) in Vegas a few years ago. There was a tent set up in the convention center, and Chuck Buck was in there, taking a dollar donation for charity and giving out small Buck pocket knives. A good deal, and I like Buck knives, but there was a huge line of fans waiting to see 'the' Chuck Buck. I was standing outside when a fellow walked up to me and asked if I was going to get in line for a knife. I replied, no, it seemed like a long line. Plus, I added, I had just bought seven Gerber fillet knives - one in every size they made - and I was really happy with my knives right now. The guy grinned, stuck out his hand for me to shake and said, "That's great to hear. I'm Pete Gerber." as he handed me a beautiful Gerber folding hunter. Whoo Hoo! Score!

Right, I show the second paste I made. The first time I made this recipe I reduced the amounts, but for some reason my math was off and the paste I had was kinda runny. It ended up becoming a surfactant glaze over the whole bun. You could not see any cross at all.

So, we suffered through this tragedy and ate them anyway. The second batch of paste was made of stiffer stock!

Below left are the proofed buns with the paste applied. I did not have a piping bag - I am new to this whole baking world, after all, so I spooned the paste into a ZipLock bag and cut off a corner tip. It worked OK in a pinch!

Below right are some buns before glazing.

And finally, the finished product! Success!


  1. Did you love them? They look great - which paste recipe did your book have? Love the knife story! =)

  2. Abby, I had the paste with the lemon zest, and I still quartered it.

    Story? Oh, don't encourage me...