Recipe Testing: Baking Mad's Mini Orange & Cranberry Hot Cross Buns

Having our cake and eat it, is not enough, we want to make it ourselves and with Easter around the corner, we can do plenty of that. In preparation, I am having a hot cross bun moment.

It is well know that though a good cook, a perfect host and an even "perfecter" diner, I am not a cake baker, "It's always the baker's children who have no bread."
Having learnt that for trial and error to be fine the trial period needs to be short. When it comes to cakes and baking treats, I turn to a site which is working hand in hand with the food-blogsphere. I am referring to
Their tĂȘte de pont, is Eric Lanlard who trained with the Roux's brothers. Lanlard is Baking Mad on Channel 4. Behind the gloss there is also team of communicators who know exactly how to give tips, steps by steps, explain ingredients and what they do singly and together.
But are their guidelines good enough for the like of "distracted bakers" like me? We were soon to find out when they asked me to try out a recipe in Baking Mad Easter page. I safely chose Hot Cross Buns, as it is a bread base and I am good at this. 

Mini Orange and Cranberry Hot Cross Buns 

Preparation time  2h20
Baking 20 mins
Make 12 mini, 16 large

600g Very strong white flour

1 tspSalt
2 tspMixed Spice
50 gramsButter chilled
50 gramsGolden Caster Sugar
1 Orange zest of
1 sachetEasy Bake Yeast
1 Eggs
275 mlmilk tepid
125 gramsDried Cranberries
 For the cross
2tbsp white flour
1 tbsp golden syrup

How to make Mini Orange and Cranberry Hot Cross Buns   

  1. Sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter, using your fingertips.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the sugar, orange zest and yeast. Stir in the egg and milk. Mix the mixture into soft dough – this might be easier to do using your hands rather than a wooden spoon           
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Carefully work in the cranberries. Knead lightly by push away the dough with the heel of one hand, gather up with the other hand, and then knead again. Knead for about 10 minutes or until you can pull a strand and it bounces back like elastic.           
  4. Grease a large, warm mixing bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove until the mixture doubles in size           
  5. After an hour, remove the dough from the bowl and knead gently for 6-8 minutes. Return to the bowl and cover and leave to rise for a further 20 minutes.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands.            
  7. Put the buns on a floured baking tray. Wrap it loosely in greaseproof paper and place inside a large plastic bag. Tie the end of the bag so it is airtight. Leave in a warm place for 40 minutes.            
  8. Preheat the oven to 190C/ 170C fan/gas 5. Mix 2tbsp of flour with 2tsp of cold water to create a paste. When the buns have raised remove from the bag and pipe a cross shape onto each bun.            
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the buns are golden-brown. Check they are cooked through by tapping the bottom. It should sound hollow  
  10. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the hot golden syrup, and then set aside to cool on a wire rack.  
Conclusion, did it work?

Yes, the hot cross buns were extremely tasty, the texture was perfect, the cranberry and the orange lift the recipe and it makes a real good treat, breakfast bun and/or snack

No, By the end of the process, I had forgotten to carefully read the recipe therefore miscalculating the number of buns, being too heavy, they had a problem with a result they didn't look very good, but looks is not everything. At least, I now know what to do and it will take only another go for them to be perfect which is an achievement.

Thank you to BakingMad to request my participation in their new campaign.

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