”Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha’ penny,
Two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns!”
To my mind, the rhyme ”One ha’ penny…” invokes memories of childhood. I associate it with our school playground. It’s playtime and a large group of little girls are standing in a circle, singing ( more like shouting) the above rhyme in unison and at the same time tapping each hand with that of the person next to her. There was a lot of confusion, many missed beats and untimed tapping of the hands, but one thing was for sure, it was a lot of fun! And laughter, oh there was so much of it. Isn’t it amazing how easily little girls can burst into laughter? Ah! the joys of a carefree childhood! I hope the laughter has remained a part of all those little girls as they grew up into womanhood. I have lost touch with many of them now, but I sincerely pray that they are happy in whichever part of the world they are in.
Having spent twelve years in a convent school, I more or less know about the festivities associated with Christianity. But we belong to a different faith, so did not celebrate Easter at home. After I passed out of school, Easter was not talked about that much, apart from getting a holiday on Good Friday. But, having spent the last decade in this country, where every year, during Easter, the supermarkets almost shove Easter goodies in your face, it’s hard not to be reminded. Egg and bunny shaped treats greet you at almost every store’s entrance. This year I saw them make an appearance almost two months ago!!
As I mentioned earlier, we do not celebrate easter, but do not mind the odd hot cross bun now and then. Traditionally, a hot cross bun, eaten on Good Friday, is a sweet, spiced bun made with raisins or currants and marked with a cross on top. I was in a bread baking mood, not having made one for quite a while. And, the almost full pack of bread flour needed to be used up soon. The pack had been bought for the daughter who needed some for her healthy living class in school. But I did not want to make a sweet bread. So the cheese, sundried tomatoes, herbs and spices were summoned and I was all set to bake a savoury bread; and since it was almost Good Friday it had to be a savoury hot cross bun!
Hre’s how I made it-
For the dough-
2C strong white bread flour
1/2C whole wheat flour (atta)
2tsp fast action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
5 tbls of finely chopped sundried tomatoes
1 tblsp of mixed dried herbs
1 tsp crushed red chillies
1 C of warm milk
1 tblsp sunflower/ vegetable oil
For the cross-
2 and a 1/2 tblsp of plain flour
5 tblsp of water
For brushing the tops-
a little melted butter
- Except the milk and oil, add all the other ingredients for the dough in a large bowl. Rub everything well with fingertips.
- Mix together the milk and oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and tip in the milk mixture. Mix till everything comes together into a sticky dough.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and knead for at least 5 minutes, till the dough is soft and smooth. Shape into a ball and place in a lightlt oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with an oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour or till doubled in size.
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Knock down the dough and knead for a few minutes.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Shape into balls, slightly flatten the tops and arrange on the lined tray, at least 4 cms apart.
- Cover the tray lightly with an oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for an hour or till double in size.
- Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C (220 for a gas oven).
- Combine the ingredients for the cross to make a thick paste. Fill a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe crosses on top of the buns.
- Place the tray in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or till golden.
- Brush the tops with a little melted butter.
- If eating later, cool completely on a rack before storing.
We loved the subtle flavours of these buns and the crumb was quite delightful.
We had ours while they were still warm, with some soup for a light dinner. Dabbed with a little butter, they can be had for breakfast or as a light snack. Slice them in half and toast them, before buttering them, if you like it that way.
The ever hungry kids on their spring break even grabbed a couple of the buns on the next day as a snack. All in all, it was lovely to get back to bread making; in fact am already looking forward to the next! Here’s a parting look at the buns!
Some other savoury breads from this blog-
For a full ist of all the breads on this blog, check here.
Until next time, take care and here’s wishing a very happy Easter to all who are celebrating!