Yeast is not. my. thing. I know that there is a skill, a knowledge bestowed upon those who work with yeast that comes from practice, finely honed skills, a sense for when it’s perfect, and the eye of newt or some such other witchcraft because yeast is like heck no all up in my kitchen. First, it doesn’t froth, it never froths. Second, it doesn’t rise. Nope. Even if I use the no frothing required yeast, it takes double the time to even make the dough burp from a wee bit of gas. Yeah, yeast and I need to have a heart to heart. And only for bread baking. Going to be very specific here. Because otherwise, it’s kind of an awkward post to put on the interwebs.
That being said, since I founded the Pass the Cook Book Club to challenge myself to trying out new recipes from those wonderful mountains of cookbooks collecting dust in my ever expanding collection – I picked 3 very inspiring recipes for the month of March. Fresh pasta, Scotch Eggs, and these Hot Cross Buns. I am going back for the other two, promise.
My buns were far from perfect. This was actually like the 4th or 5th attempt. (So yeah, there’s a lot of misfires in the PtS kitchen). There was one morning where Bill Nye stopped by and schooled me on keeping a control as I tested different types of yeast at different temps in my kitchen. All of which sat there and laughed at me. Purchased fresh yeast, just in case the yeast I had was bad, still nothing. Threw TONs of ingredients in the waste can. Mostly yeast. There was even a day when it smelled like yeast… gross. But, I tried. And was inspired to try some more. Ruling out everything, I think my kitchen was just too darned cold (even with the oven on!) to make a happy environment for the little yeastlings. But, oh well. Roll with the punches…
Interested in joining? Click to read more about the Pass the Cook Book Club. To join the club, click for our facebook group here. (Please message me to let me know you are a real human, as we have been getting some spam lately ><) Remember, you don’t need a blog – you just need to want to cook!
Hot Cross Buns for Pass the Cook Book Club
- oil for greasing
- 1 cup milk divided
- 1 pack .25oz active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups bread flour
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 2 tbs candied lemon peel cut into 2” pieces ½ teas cinnamon
- 1/4 teas ground nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 4 tbs butter melted
- 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teas vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Coat a large bowl with oil; Set aside. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for when you are ready to make the buns.
Whisk 1/2 cup milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and allow to stand until frothy.
Meanwhile, combine the flours, remaining sugar, raisins, candied peels, spices, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Give a quick mix on low speed until combined.
Add the butter, 2 eggs, and the yeast mixture to the flour. Mix for about 3 minutes or until a sticky dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a clean lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth, about 5 minutes. Roll into a ball and place in prepared bowl, flipping to coat evenly with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm space until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface again. Knead for 3 minutes before dividing into 12 equal portions. Form into buns and place about 1" apart from one another on prepared baking sheet. Cover again and allow to rise another hour - to hour and half, or until doubled in size.
Combine the remaining egg yolk with 1 tbs of water and brush gently over each bun. Place buns in oven and reduce heat to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
When cool, whisk the remaining milk with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Place in a ziploc bag, snip off the edge and ice with a horizontal line across each bun followed by a vertical line. Allow to set and serve.