EASY VEGAN HOT CROSS BUNS

Easter is upon us and for many, it’s that time of the year where you get a well deserved break from work and just briefly, forget about the woes of lockdown and our old pal Covid. It’s also that time of the year where everyone gets a bit mad and eats inordinate amounts of unhealthy food. Hot Cross Buns are just a small slice of this hedonistic weekend.

Only thing is, usually when you stroll into your local, you won’t easily find vegan hot cross buns. Sometimes it’s a bit of a hunt just to get some. So why not make your own? It’s worth mentioning that even though these are silly easy to make, they need time as you will be proofing the dough several times. You can expect these to take 3 hours or so from start to finish. Either way, I got you fam, check out this dope recipe. You’re going to need:

  • 300 ml unsweetened almond milk (soya would work too if that’s all you’ve got)
  • 50g Dairy Free Spread
  • 500g Strong White Bread Flower
  • One sachet of fast action yeast
  • 70g sugar (I use coconut sugar but any type will do)
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Heaped Tsp Cinammon
  • 2 Heaped Tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1 Large Orange Zested
  • 70g Sultanas
  • 50g Mixed Peel (this is actually optional but necessary to really boost the flavour)
  • 70g Plain Flour For the Cross
  • 50g Apricot Jam For the Glaze

Right, your first step is to chuck the milk into a pot and bring to a slow simmer on the hob. Once it begins to simmer, add the butter and remove from the heat. Leave it to cool. It’s important not to let the milk burn during this stage so keep an eye on it. Once the butter has melted, stir it in.

Next, you’ll want to add the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices to a mixing bowl. Make a little well in the middle and add your milk & butter mixture and immediately stir it all together to form a sticky dough. Once it’s all mixed, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface.

This dough has the need for a knead so get to it. There’s no real technique to kneading so just fold it and stretch it, recombining it for 5-10 minutes until it’s springy, smooth and elastic. If it’s still sticky, dust the surface with more flour and keep kneading. Once done, throw the dough in a lightly oiled bowl , cover with a tea towel and leave it somewhere warm to proof. When you come back to it, the dough will have doubled so be sure to leave in a large enough bowl.

After an hour, put the dough back onto the surface and flatten into a round. Spread the orange zest, sultanas and mixed peel onto the dough and knead again until everything is well distributed. Form into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and leave to rise for another hour.

Line yourself a baking tray with parchment, teflon sheets, whatever you use to avoid the struggle of cleaning dirty baking trays. Get your dough and punch the air out of it (you don’t have to actually punch it but if you’re having a bad day, have at it; it’s almost therapeutic really).

Next you’ll want to divide this dough into 12 even pieces. You can weigh these if you want but if you’re a maverick, you’ll just eyeball it. Personally I don’t know how anyone could be that care free but each to their own I guess. Make sure you leave at least 2-3cm between each bun as you’ll be leaving them to rise for another 45 minutes.

How I imagine people who don’t weigh ingredients spend their free time.

Pre-Heat your oven to 220C or 200 fan. For the the cross, in a small bowl, mix together the flour with 1 tbsp of water at a time to create a thick, pipeable paste. Spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle and pipe crosses on the buns (or any shape you want). If you don’t own a piping bag, just get a sandwich bag and cut a small hole in the corner. Pop in the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until deep golden brown.

While they’re cooking, heat your jam in a saucepan or even in the microwave and pass it through a sieve to remove the bits. Once your buns are done, glaze them with the jam. That’s it. Yes, there’s a lot of waiting time for this one but there’s not a lot that beats a fresh, warm hot cross bun smothered in melted butter. Let me know what you think plant based friends and until next time, keep it real!

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