Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ED: Hot Cross Buns

This was number one of my recipes. I had to start with this one b/c it had, at least in my mind, the highest risk of failing. I have some problems with bread rising. I blame it on my husband. You ask, how can you blame this on your husband? He keeps the house too cold. I turned the oven on first thing Saturday morning and opened the oven door to warm up the kitchen. I was reading my recipe when I decided I needed a different one. This recipe called for fresh yeast, which I couldn't find. The hubs had gone to the store the day before with my detailed list and bought some breadmachine yeast.

This is where I discovered what I have been doing wrong with my yeast baking experiences. I was trying to figure out how many teaspoons of bread machine yeast are in one active dry yeast packet when lo and behold, on the side of the container it says "For Active Dry Yeast: mix xxx teaspoons of bread machine yeast, with xx cup of warm water & 1 tsp sugar" Hum... I had never done this before. So I get it all mixed up, it looks good, then I knock over the cup. HS*&*(%^&! I start over, this time the yeast is sticking to my spoon & not mixing with the water. HS*&*(%^&! One more time, I make the water a little warmer, mixes perfectly, I set over on the kitchen table, as I know I wont be over there anytime soon.
Anyway, back to recipes, I found 2 on food network that I liked so I combined them. I had this one from the Levain Bakery & another one from Betsy Oppenneer (no clue who she is BTW). I liked the spice mixture from the first one, but I liked the raisins in the second one. So I will post my kluged together recipe.
Hot Cross Buns
For The Dough:
1 scant tablespoon or 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 1/2 cups warm milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown or raw sugar
2 eggs
Spice Mix (see below)
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
golden Raisins
dark raisins

For The Glaze:
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For The Icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream (or milk)

In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften (omit this if you are using the bread machine yeast). Add milk, butter, sugar, eggs, spice mix. Add the raisins and stir to combine.
Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 24 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and put into two well-seasoned 9 by 12-inch baking pans. Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Just before baking, cut a cross into the top of each bun.
Combine the milk and sugar for the glaze and brush lightly over the top of the buns.Bake for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the buns reach 190 degrees. Immediately remove buns from pans and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.
In a glass measuring cup with a pouring lip, combine the confectioners' sugar with lemon juice and enough heavy cream to reach the consistency of honey. Use to pour into the cross on the top of each bun.

Spice Mix:
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix together all the ingredients.

Let me just say that this process started around 9am and finished around 3pm. My hubs was very thankful they worked b/c I get super pissed off when my baking/cooking fails. Its that red headed leo temper I have. I was/am very proud of these. My grandpa was a baker and I couldn't help but think how proud he must be of me. I am not nearly as fearful of the yeast as I once was.

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