Grand Central Bakery’s Hot Cross Buns

Grand Central Bakery’s Hot Cross Buns

Yield: 
18 - 3 ounce buns

These yeasted breakfast buns “crossed” with royal icing are traditionally served for Easter. I recommend mixing and forming the buns the evening before you plan to serve them. Hold the formed buns overnight in the refrigerator and they will be ready to bake in the morning.

Sponge

1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose or bread flour
1 cup (8 ounces) tepid milk
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast


Final Dough

Sponge (see above)
1 cup (8 ounces) tepid milk
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
1 egg yolk (reserve white for royal icing)
4 1/3 cups (1 pound 6 ounces) all-purpose or bread flour – plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces) soft butter
1/2 cup (3 ounces) currants
2 tablespoon orange zest
1 egg and a splash of water (for egg wash)


Royal icing

1 egg white
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar


Directions:

Mix the sponge
Measure flour, milk, sugar and yeast into a bowl with high sides and whisk or beat until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about an hour until the mixture begins to bubble and show sign of active fermentation.


Mix the final dough and let rise
Combine sponge, milk, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment or a bowl with high sides. When the yeast begins to dissolve add vanilla, egg, egg yolk, flour, salt and all the spices. Mix on slow speed for 3 to 4 minutes until the dough clings to the hook and is smooth.


Resume mixing on slow speed and add soft butter a teaspoon at a time. As soon as the butter is incorporated, increase mixing speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes or until all of the dough is on the hook and the sides of the bowl are clean. Combine currants and orange zest and toss with a small amount of flour. Pull dough off hook and add currant-orange mixture to dough slowly. Continue mixing until the fruit is evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Put the dough in a clean bowl generously coated with butter. Cover and leave in warm spot to rise until doubled in size (about an hour).

Dust work surface with flour and gently pull dough from bowl on to work service. Divide the dough into 18 equal pieces, approximately 3 ounces each. Round each piece and place 9 rolls equally spaced on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cover with plastic and let rise at room temp for one hour before refrigerating overnight. If you want to bake them immediately, allow the buns to rise another 30 minutes or until they have doubled in volume, then follow baking instructions.

Bake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove buns from refrigerator. Keep plastic covering the buns and put them in a warm spot to allow them to rise. Buns are ready for the oven when they are soft to the touch but bounce back when poked, are a bit tacky to the touch and have doubled in volume from original size. Whisk egg and splash of water together and brush each bun with egg wash. Bake 25 minutes rotating halfway though baking time.

Finishing the buns
Make the royal icing by whisking egg whites, lemon juice, and powdered sugar together. It should be stiff but still liquid enough to be squeezed out of a pastry bag. Adjust thickness with more powdered sugar or lemon juice as needed. Use a pastry bag fitted with a round tip to pipe crosses on top of the cool buns.

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