Easter Is Coming - It's Time for Hot Cross Buns


| 3/31/2011 8:19:25 AM


Tags: Sue Van Slooten, Hot Cross buns, Easter breads, bread history, Sue Van Slooten,

   Hot Cross Buns by Sue Van Slooten 

Easter is coming, April 24, albeit just about the latest date it can; only coming one day before the very latest possible on April 25. A lot of people reckon that Easter brings visions of the Easter Bunny delivering chocolate eggs and other sweet goodies to good girls and boys. I ascribe to this theory, but being the baker I am, I tend to also include Easter breads. First and foremost, for those of us in the English-speaking world, Hot Cross Buns. These buns are ancient, having been made in England for centuries. Not too different from other similar type buns, the distinguishing features are a spiced dough, usually cinnamon (I rather suspect this is a more recent introduction, maybe since the Renaissance), although some cloves or allspice are not unheard of.  The other crucial, distinguishing feature is the Mark of the Cross on the bun, some bakers using small strips of dough to accomplish this, I prefer sugar icing. Or, leave them plain.

Whichever route you choose, spices started to really infiltrate Europe in the Middle Ages, a result of the various Crusades that went on, but also through trade routes. The trade routes were certainly established by the Renaissance period, with our Italian friend Cristobal Columbo (otherwise known as Cris Columbus), trying to establish a westerly direction in search of spice. He was partly successful.  The recipe below calls for cinnamon, but if you have a penchant for another, or in addition to, by all means, feel free.  Also it calls for currants, but I’m not a fan and leave them out, but feel free there as well. Traditionally they always have currants and candied fruit, or just the currants. This recipe makes 9, but it can be easily doubled.   

 Ingredients: 

3 cups bread flour 

¼ cup sugar 




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