One of our favorite Lenten traditions here at the C of J is the baking and sharing of Hot cross buns on Good Friday a.m. First attributed to a 12th century monk, it has blesses countless numbers of believers over the years. This meaningful little act is a significant way of remembering and acknowledging our Lord’s death on the cross on our behalf.
There are many legends connected with this tradition. One of my favorites is that a fresh baked bun hung in your kitchen window will bring blessing upon all the baking done there throughout the coming year.
Each year I intend to do this, but before I get to it every bun has disappeared.
CHANGE SERVING SIZEdozen buns
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 1/2 tsp yeast active, dry
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 egg yolk(s) large
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract pure
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger ground
- 3 cups flour (13 oz)
- 1/2 cup raisins or currants (heaping)
- 1/2 cup citron
- Egg Wash
- 1 eggs beaten with a tablespoon of water
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2 Tbsp milk or as needed for a thick frosting
- 1 tsp vanilla extract pure, or almond extract
- 1 tsp oil
- Dissolve the yeast by sprinkling it over the very warm water and add a pinch of sugar to activate.
- Heat milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until about 100 degrees F. (but no more than 110 degrees)
- In a mixer, fitted with a dough hook, add the warmed milk to the yeast mixture.
- Plump the raisins (or currants) and citron in the microwave with a little orange juice; cool and set aside
- To the yeast & milk mixture add the remaining sugar, melted butter, egg yolk and extract.
- Add the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger to the mixture and continue kneading.
- Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
- Remove the orange juice from the raisins and citron and discard.
- Add the raisins and citron to the dough and mix well. The dough should be slightly sticky and not dry.
- Knead until soft and elastic, about 8 min. Shape into a ball.
- Brush the inside of a large bowl with butter. Put dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hr. 30 min. **
- To form the rolls: Pam a 9x13” pyrex pan. Turn the dought out of the bowl and roll into a log. With a dough cutter or sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each of these pieces into a round bun shape, tucking the edges under.
- Place them seam side down in the prepared pan, leaving a little space between each roll. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the rolls are doubled in size, about 45 min. or longer.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare your egg wash.
- Prepare glaze: In a mixer, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla or almond extract and oil until smooth (the oil will give it a high gloss). The icing should be quite thick. If too runny, add more powdered sugar. Transfer icing to a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with a corner snipped off.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the rolls and brush the buns with egg wash. Bake rolls until golden brown and puffy, about 25 min. (an instant read thermometer inserted into the roll should read 190 degrees F.)
- Ice buns with a thick cross shape on the top of the warm buns and serve.