This is the first in what I had better call a series - Procrastibaking. This is, for many thesis students, a fundamental part of getting through.
At first I wondered if I had better not tell you what happened to me yesterday (Good Friday). It's a little bit embarrassing. However, I realised, if it helps anyone else to avoid making the same mistakes, it's worth it!
Yesterday, I decided to make hot cross buns. Suddenly being in not too good a place financially (yet another element of surviving being a student), this seemed like a really good idea. Also, there was a lot of sitting around waiting for dough to rise, etc etc, so it was a great way to go and study for a little while, and then as soon as I got sick of it, return to baking!
However, I managed to:
(a) on the first attempt, forget to knead the dough.
(b) on the second attempt, left the buns in the oven for about twenty/thirty minutes longer than they should have been.
Funnily enough, the buns (especially the first batch) actually taste quite nice. It would be pretty hard not to taste nice, I suppose, if you contain brown sugar, mixed spices, cinnamon, and dates. They're a little like hard scones. And they look quite pretty, and to say the LEAST, the crosses actually worked very well indeed. And so here is the recipe:
Hot cross buns
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp yeast
1 cup milk, warmed
100g butter, softened
1 cup mixed dried fruit (I used chopped dates)
For the crosses:
½ cup flour
1 Tbsp butter
¼ tsp baking powder
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Leave for one hour in a warm place; the dough should double in size.
Turn onto a floured board and divide into 16 portions, rolling into balls and placing on a greased oven tray, about 1cm apart. Cover, and leave in a warm place to rise, for 30 minutes.
Brush each bun with milk and add crosses to each bun. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 C / 375 F, for 20 to 25 minutes.
The final product. NB: Due to my lack of skill, this is not what they are supposed to look like! The darker ones are the overcooked ones.