When people say Easter, there are a number of foods that come to mind. For many, it's the dinner or lunch that you'll enjoy with your family. For others, it's chocolate Easter eggs. But for most, hot cross buns are front of mind. You know why? Because a lot of the time, stores and bakeries start selling these straight after Christmas.
The wondrous history of hot cross buns
Thought hot cross buns were just some bread (delicious bread) that are sold to coincide with Easter? Think again. There's actually a whole lot of history behind this bountiful bun.
Banned bites of heaven
Traditionally eaten in the lead-up to Easter during Lent, hot cross buns were once banned by Queen Elizabeth I. Yep, that's right, banned except on Good Friday and Christmas. Imagine that! No one was allowed to sell or bake hot cross buns for 363 days of the year. And if caught, the buns were confiscated and given straight to the poor.
First ever bun
That's not enough history for you? The first ever hot cross bun was baked on Good Friday by a 12th century monk, soon gaining popularity around England as a symbol of the Easter holiday. However, if you want official records, it was a 16th century text that said: "Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs, with one or two a penny hot cross buns".
Expel spirits and cements friendships
Legend has it also that hot cross buns protect from evil spirits if hung in the kitchen. This is because of the cross that is supposedly blessed on top. Because they're in the kitchen, it's also thought that bread baked throughout the year will turn out delicious and the bun will protect against kitchen fires.
In terms of friendships, if you share a hot cross bun with someone, you'll enjoy a strong friendship and bond for the coming year.
Yes, we know you can grab them from most bakeries and supermarkets, but there's something extra satisfying about knowing you baked those delectable hot cross buns from scratch. Plus, making them means you can pick the ingredients. Nutella hot cross bun anyone? Here's how to make them right from the mixing bowl.
Need the ingredients? Head to Coles at Pialba Place to grab everything you need. Failing your baking ability, you can also grab ready-made hot cross buns from Coles or head to Cake Bake Brew for some tasty treats and a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
For the buns
- 2 x 8g sachets dried yeast
- 310ml milk (warmed)
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 4 cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 60g butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sultanas
- 1 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
- 2 eggs
For the cross
- 1/3 cup self-raising flour
- 60ml of water
- Apricot jam warmed and sieved (you'll use this for brushing)
- Whisk the yeast, milk and caster sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Set this aside for 10 minutes.
- Sift the plain flour with the cinnamon, mixed spice and salt. Rub in the butter (using your fingers).
- Stir the sultanas, craisins, eggs and yeast mixture into the dry ingredients. This will form a dough.
- Flour a clean surface of your benchtop and turn the dough out. Knead for five minutes.
- Grease a large bowl and place dough inside. Cover and leave it in a warm spot for 45 minutes. Then knead until smooth.
- At this stage, you should probably pop your oven on to preheat. Set it at 200 degrees.
- Shape the dough into 12 balls and place on a greased baking tray. Leave aside for 15 more minutes.
- While the rolls are resting, combine self-raising flour and 60ml of water. Pipe a cross onto each bun. Bake these for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees and bake for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- While warm, brush the buns with the jam.
How do you enjoy your buns?
Of course, this is just one version of hot cross buns. Nowadays there are fruit buns, choc-chip buns, plain buns whatever buns that take your fancy.
You can also eat your hot cross buns in a certain way. Many purists will say the only way to eat your bun is topped with melted butter. But some have been known to spread some Nutella on top or enjoy them with strawberry jam. But, no matter your preference, you'll definitely enjoy the ones you made yourself above all else!