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Author Topic: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version  (Read 2086 times)

Offline Paul

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Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« on: March 18, 2010, 10:07:33 PM »
This being the very first review post of the very first bread, I'll make sure to include a detailed review right here in the forum as well as link to the blog post.

I made certain yesterday that I had everything required to make this very first MellowBakers bread and, with candied lemon peel in hand, set everything up for the bake in the early afternoon. Checking the 'online' Hot Cross Bun recipe we're also pointing members to over on Susan's WildYeastBlog.com, I noted that the entire process would take roughly 4-4.5 hours, although not all of that is active since there are 2 hours of proofing included in there. But in essence, this is a short, one-day bread. A lot less time than some of the longer sourdoughs those who have dabbled in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge have gone through.

So I set up all my ingredients in the usual Mis en Place that I've done for nearly all my blog posts. Here's what we'll be using:



Making up the sponge was pretty straight forward but it's the first time I've ever run across a sponge dough this liquid. Still, it ended up creating a somewhat semi-solid sponge after 40 minutes, covered, in the oven with the light on.



Once this was ready, it was time for the main dough. I mixed the flour and butter in the KitchenAid mixer, then added the egg, Allspice, salt and sugar I'd previously measured and set aside. After a quick mix, I added the sponge and gave the dough a 3 minute mix. But it seemed like the dough went really soft. Quite pasty, in fact.



Still, I forged ahead, assuming Mr Hamelman knew his stuff better than I. So in went the cranberries (I had substituted for the recipe's currants) and the candied lemon. Still, the dough looked really soft with no body at all. I happen to taste it, expecting a lovely allspice flavour but all I could taste was... SALT! Then I noticed the little white ramekin that we keep salt in next to the stove was missing. Oh, fer Pete's sakes (or some expletive of the sort). I had dumped that in instead of the 1/4 cup of sugar I had placed... in a white ramekin. See it up there in the Mis en Place? Salt looks exactly the same. But sure tastes different!

There was no saving this. So into the recycle bin it all went and I started fresh. But I was nearly out of cranberries so out came the raisins instead and on we forged.

Catching up, the dough at the last stage was now much better, had good body and would be easy to manipulate. In went the raisins and lemon and out came the dough for a quick final knead, then into the oiled proofing tub.



30 minutes later, the dough is turned out and given a stretch and fold, then returned for another 30 minutes of bulk proofing, a total of one hour.

Once done, the dough is then divided in 12 (I calculated 72 grams per piece) and shaped into balls, to proof for another hour. Meawhile I mixed up the last of the three stages, the decorative paste and put it into a piping bag with a #12 round tip. The oven is turned on at this point to preheat to 440ºF.

Once the dough balls were proofed, I added the cross over each one.




Please note that we've found there are two different versions of this paste in different printings of the Hamelman book. See the thread here. The paste recipe also make a VAST amount of paste, so you may want to cut that back by a fair bit, to perhaps to 1/3 or 1/4.

Into the oven the dough went, baking for 14 - 16 minutes. While they were baking, I made the simple syrup which is, simply, water and sugar taken to a boil. I halved the given recipe as it seemed to be too much syrup for just 12 buns. As soon as the buns were done, they came out of the oven and given a brushing with the syrup.



And here's the final result:



Final Remarks:

These little dudes are relatively simple to make (barring dumb mistakes) and rather fancy lookin’, so they’ll have a good “wow” factor.

Taste wise, they are lightly savoury from the allspice, have little hits of zing from the dried fruit and only a little sweet so they aren’t what North Americans generally would call “desert” breads. I quite like these buns’ low sweetness level, much less “in your face” piles of sugar found in commercial Hot Cross Buns.

They don’t hold up well for a long time so it’s best to eat them fresh. But I don’t think this is going to be an issue.

All in all, an excellent little bread. And appropriate for any seasonal equinox event, the cross design is not specifically religious and can signify the beginning of any the four seasons. So make them year round festive treats.

Suggested changes in the recipe:

Cut back a lot on the paste – although the quantity may be so that the mixer has enough mass to mix. But seriously, the amounts given are way too much for a dozen buns.

Likewise the simple syrup: I made 1/4 cup and still had most of it left when finished. Although it does keep, if you would use it again soon. Reduce the quantities here too.

And don’t use salt instead of sugar. Really bad idea. And I've changed the white salt ramekin to a small glass bowl we only have one of.

If you would like to see the more detailed blog version of this, please visit here.

Comments and questions are welcome here or on the blog.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 09:38:38 PM by Paul »
Paul
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Offline ap269

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2010, 01:19:01 AM »
Wow, these look amazing!!! Thanks for the suggestion of cutting down on the glaze and the syrup. So, that wasn't very mellow, though, was it? ;-))))))  pompom
Andrea (ap269)

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Offline Paul

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2010, 07:14:42 AM »
Thanks Andrea!

For me, yes, this was mellow. The blog posts are less mellow. The whole salt thing... yeah, not so mellow.

And here's the badge from the blog post, swipe away.



http://mellowbakers.com/MBpics/MB-HCB-200.jpg

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<a href="http://MellowBakers.com" target="_blank">
<img src="http://mellowbakers.com/MBpics/MB-HCB-200.jpg" alt="MellowBakers.com"
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Paul
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Offline Natashya KitchenPuppies

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2010, 09:10:34 AM »
Great job on the buns! You know.. after the salt mishap..
I made mine yesterday and wish I had read your tips about doing a smaller batch of the cross dough and glaze. I hate throwing stuff out.
Otherwise they were fun to bake and quite delicious.
I'll post them on my site next week.

Offline Paul

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2010, 09:34:29 AM »
Woah, beautiful!

Yeah, the "excess" amounts in recipe books kinda bugs me. It popped up a couple of times in BBA too.

Cutting the Paste amounts in half would still be lots and give you enough to give 'heft' to your piping bag. Maybe even cutting to 1/3.

Can't wait to see your post!

Paul
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Offline Lien

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2010, 08:26:42 AM »
I baked mine three days ago. They were delicious, not difficult, though piping that paste was a bit tricky (btw I needed all the water for that and a little more), but it worked out fine.
I'll post in a few days, cause I have to make the Bread Baking Babes-posting first.
I think it was a good idea to start with an easy one  :D

Offline Lien

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2010, 08:28:36 AM »
O yes the excess... that bothered me too. the paste and sugar syrup. I had a cake that I almost drowned in the sugar syrup and still had lots and lots. And an awfully sticky counter  lol........

Offline gaaarp

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2010, 06:43:13 PM »
Nice job, Paul! I made these today. I didn't make the syrup, as I had just made simple vanilla syrup a few days ago and used that instead.

I had a heck of a time with the paste. It was so thick that it was almost impossible to pipe. I thinned it out a bit before putting it into the bag, but like you, I trusted Hamelman on proportions. I probably should have used a slightly larger tip for piping.

All in all, they were pretty good. I could see making them for breakfast or brunch when I have company.

Offline Paul

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2010, 10:23:30 PM »
Hey, thanks Phyl!

I hope we'll see you adding a pic of your Hot Cross Buns on here soon!

And Happy Solstice to everyone - whether Spring or Fall, depending on where you are - and may you raise a Solstice Bun of your own to honour the event.

Cheers all!
Paul
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Oggi

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2010, 04:17:21 PM »
I baked them today. They are yummy, I already ate 2.
I also had a little difficulty in piping the flour paste. I was wondering if the oil really is necessary. I thing flour and water would make a better piping paste.



Paul, I will finish writing the blog post tonight; are we allowed to include the recipe?

Offline Paul

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2010, 09:17:20 PM »
Hi Oggi,

You can use - or just link - the online nearly-the-same recipe at WildYeastBlog.com but I don't think it's the best thing to reproduce the recipe out of the book since we'll be doing a fair number of them. Don't want to publish all his recipes on here, makes people buying his book (and getting all the OTHER amazing info it has) less likely.

Pretty much the same idea as with the BBA Challenge.

Now if you've made it quite differently, that's a whole other ball of wax, then go right ahead.

And I'm very much looking forward to your write-up!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 03:04:32 PM by Paul »
Paul
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Offline ap269

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2010, 04:49:00 AM »
Oggi, the piping problems you were writing about made me decide not to use oil for the paste. I'll report how it works.
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Offline chefityourself

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2010, 06:36:33 AM »
Hi Oggi,

You can use - or just link - the online nearly-the-same recipe at WildCakes but I don't think it's the best thing to reproduce the recipe out of the book since we'll be doing a fair number of them. Don't want to publish all his recipes on here, makes people buying his book (and getting all the OTHER amazing info it has) less likely.

Pretty much the same idea as with the BBA Challenge.

Now if you've made it quite differently, that's a whole other ball of wax, then go right ahead.

And I'm very much looking forward to your write-up!


I was wondering about that too, posting the recipe. Since I didn't participate in BBA's, I didn't know for sure what the proper procedure was. I will keep that in mind for the next bake.

As for the paste, I read the comment before I started baking, so I halved the amounts. The syrup..., I had some left, but maybe just a couple of tablespoons. I should mention that I cooked my syrup for a while because I wanted to make sure the ginger was soft.
Cookingly yours, Anamaris
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Offline Gene

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2010, 11:03:22 PM »
Hi! I'm a bit late replying to this post. Just found out about this forum from Votre Pain.

I did bake those buns over Easter using Hamelman's recipe ... with a few twists. No changes in the ingredients (except for the cross & syrup) but a few in the method since I was doing everything by hand. I prepared the yeast mixture according to the recipe. From then on, I had to improvise owing to the hand mixing. So here's how I proceeded. I whisked together the sugar, butter & egg. Having put aside about one-third of the flour, I then proceeded to mix the remaining flour with the sugar/butter/egg mixture and the yeast mixture, using a wooden spoon. This was easy to do since the hydration of the dough at that point was still high.

Part of the flour that was laid aside was rubbed with the fruits & peels to separate them & make for easier mixing. I then added the fruits & peels to the dough, still using the wooden spoon. Finally, I added the remaining flour a bit at a time, this time using my hands. The dough was sticky at first but it finally became more manageable and a pleasure to work with.

Offline choc-a-holic

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Re: Paul's "Hot Cross Buns", Hamelman version
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2010, 11:33:14 AM »
Hi Oggi,

You can use - or just link - the online nearly-the-same recipe at WildCakes but I don't think it's the best thing to reproduce the recipe out of the book since we'll be doing a fair number of them. Don't want to publish all his recipes on here, makes people buying his book (and getting all the OTHER amazing info it has) less likely.


 nu-uh You've been talking to me too much!!  The recipe is at wild YEAST ! :laugh: