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Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Delectably soft, sweet buns for Easter, Mother's Day, and other special mornings

These gorgeously soft, sweet buns are a favorite on Easter, Mother’s Day, or any Sunday morning.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (~ 2 cups) sourdough starter
  • 1.125 kg (2 1/2 lb or ~7 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour + extra for kneading
  • zest of 2 large oranges
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (currants, dried cherries, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped apricots, dried figs, etc) soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 50 g (~4 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

Flour, water, and olive oil for the crosses
Honey for glazing
juice of 1 orange for glazing

Instructions

  1. Place the sourdough starter, flour, zests, sugar, and spices in a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer. Lightly beat the eggs with the raw honey, milk and water, then add to the sourdough/flour mixture. Mix until completely combined and a very sticky dough has formed. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Mix in the fruit and the salt. The dough will be a rather wet dough, but resist the urge to add more flour. Knead until the dough begins to look smooth and shiny, about 20 minutes by hand or 10 minutes with the mixer.
  3. Add in the cubes of butter, one at a time. The kneading action will incorporate it and create a gorgeous, rich dough. Knead until all the butter is fully incorporated, once again resisting the urge to add more flour. (You may add 2-3 tablespoons of flour ONLY if the dough at this point is super-sticky AND if you measured your flour by volume rather than weight. Remember: Too little flour is better than too much flour!) The final dough should be very soft, but not at all sticky.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it sit for 1 hour. After an hour, punch it down gently by folding it over on itself a number of times on a floured board, then place it back in the bowl to rise another hour.
  5. Divide dough into 24 pieces and shape each into a small roll. Place rolls in a buttered 9×13 baking dish, close but not quite touching. Leave at room temperature until doubled, about 2-4 hours.
  6. Mix the flour, water, and olive oil together to form a fairly stiff paste. Use a piping bag to pipe crossed across the top of each bun. Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20-30 minutes until the rolls are golden and at least 190 degrees inside.
  7. To glaze, heat the honey and the orange juice over medium heat until it begins to simmer rapidly. Remove from the heat and brush over the rolls as soon as they are removed from the oven.

Notes

Using the weight measures listed provides the most consistent results, but if you don’t have a scale available, I’ve provided volume estimates as well.