Not Cross Buns

As Easter is one of those times of year when it is OK to bake bread filled with butter, sugar, fruit, and more butter, I decided to have a go at some hot cross buns. I’ve made them before, with varying degrees of success, so this time I decided to change up the recipe and use spelt flour. This in no way compensates for the amount of butter, so I won’t pretend that they are a ‘healthy’ option, but spelt does have a different flavour to regular wheat.

Unfortunately, a number of things went wrong. The buns did not rise as much as I would have hoped, resulting in fairly dense buns. I have had this problem in the past and can think of a few reasons why it might happen. For example, some of the additions to the dough, such as sugar and fat, can actually inhibit the yeast. Add to that the fact that spelt naturally tends to result in a denser loaf, and I should have probably have factored the dense-issue in before hand.

The second problem is more aesthetic. I used white spelt for the crosses and wholemeal for the buns, which looked fine until it went into the oven. The white spelt coloured almost as much as the brown, and the crosses disappeared. These not cross buns tasted fine – the butter, fruit, and sugar made sure of that – but I’ll have another crack before posting a recipe.

The crosses disappeared into the dough, making them slightly less Eastery than I would have liked
The crosses disappeared into the dough, making them slightly less Eastery than I would have liked

6 thoughts on “Not Cross Buns

  1. You prompted me to have a go! I went for the full on Not Cross though and omitted it altogether. Lazy I know. Soaked the fruit in some cold Earl Grey tea overnight. Plumped the sultanas up a treat and an added bonus that it didn’t burn if exposed in the dough. I let the dough prove on its own, only adding the fruit and chopped peel in the final knead before the second prove. They turned out really well. Too good actually as I had to give some to the in-laws just to offset my calorie intake!

    I’m just baking a rye and white mix sour. I thought of your advice with the starter when I made the sponge. I chose to use 100% rye for that task and found the mix was almost clay like compared to usual experience with the same ratio of White or wholemeal. I added more water and this morning found a very active sponge. As you’d expect, the dough was wetter as a consequence. I gradually added more wholemeal until I got it about right. In the oven now it looks good and smells great. Baked without the banneton which the shop have agreed to exchange as I’m still getting an unwanted taint to the bread baked in it.

    1. Hope that it tastes as good as it looks, and good work with the “non denominational Easter celebration bread” too! Hope your next banneton is taint free though

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