Hot cross bun loaf
- March 2016
- Serves 10-12
- Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 40 min, plus rising and proving
Debbie Major’s hot cross bun loaf is flavoured with aromatic saffron. It’s best served with generous amounts of clotted cream.
- 7.9g (4.2g saturated)
- 56.4g (21.5g sugars)
For 12 servings
- 1 tsp saffron strands (about 4g)
- 3 tbsp warm water, plus 1 tbsp (optional)
- 500g strong plain flour, plus extra to dust
- Generous ½ tsp salt
- 75g caster sugar
- 10g easy-blend yeast
- 175ml whole milk, warmed
- 2 medium free-range eggs, beaten
- 75g salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- Sunflower oil for greasing
- 75g each currants, raisins and chopped candied peel, mixed
- Clotted cream to serve
For the decoration
- 25g plain flour
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
For the glaze
- 75ml fresh orange juice
- 2 tbsp caster sugar or clear honey
You’ll also need
- 26cm x 12.5cm x 6cm deep (or similar) 900g loaf tin – it should hold 2 litres water
- Heat a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the saffron and shake it around for a few seconds until it darkens very slightly. Tip into a mortar to cool, then grind into a fine powder with a pestle. Add the 3 tbsp warm water; leave to cool.
- Sift the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the saffron water, warm milk, eggs and 75g softened butter, then mix lightly with your fingers until everything comes together into a slightly sticky (but not wet) dough. Add the optional tablespoon of water if the mixture seems a bit dry.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until silky smooth. Drop into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise for 1½-2 hours until doubled in size. A rich dough such as this takes a while to rise.
- Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knock out the excess air. Sprinkle over some of the mixed dried fruit, knead it in, then repeat until all the fruit has been incorporated. Return the dough to the oiled bowl, re-cover and leave to rise for 1 hour more or until doubled in size.
- Butter the loaf tin. Divide the dough into 10 even pieces and knead them into quite tall rounds. Arrange side-by-side in the tin. Slide the tin into a large plastic bag and seal, then leave somewhere warm to prove for 1 hour or until the dough has risen to the top of the tin. When it looks ready, heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
- For the decoration, mix the flour, oil and enough of the water to make a smooth paste. Put the mix into a plastic piping bag or small plastic bag, then snip 4-5mm off the corner. Take the loaf tin out of its bag, then pipe a cross on top of each dough ball. Put the loaf into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.
- When the loaf is nearly ready, simmer the orange juice and sugar/ honey in a small pan for a few minutes until it has turned sticky.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and turn it out onto a cooling rack. Turn it the right-side up and brush with the sticky glaze. Leave to cool before serving, cut into slices and spread with clotted cream
Make the dough the day before and let it prove slowly in the fridge. Or freeze the baked but unglazed loaf up to one month in advance, wrapped generously in cling film. Warm through in a hot oven for 10 minutes before glazing and serving as in the recipe.
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