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Saturday, April 3, 2010

an introduction to procrastibaking

Happy Easter, everyone!

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

For 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
2 eggs
1 cup mixed dried fruit (I used chopped dates)

For the crosses:
½ cup flour
1 Tbsp butter
¼ tsp baking powder

Mix the flour, salt, brown sugar and spices. Stir yeast and milk together, and leave to stand for 15 minutes in a warm place - it should be frothy. Beat eggs and softened butter into the yeast mix, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix until you get a doughy consistency. Knead for at least ten minutes on a floured board.

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.


Jennie said...

Loving the new blog! Even if they got a little overcooked, they still look really yummy!

Sarakastic said...

I've only read about these in books, I've never even seen them before now.