Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

This month the group Sourdough Surprises challenged everyone to bake Hot Cross Buns using their leaven. Last month was my first month with the group and we baked Sourdough Soda Bread. After the soda bread I tried baguettes with my sourdough starter. Unfortunately, I had to discard the leaven the day after baking the baguettes. It started smelling like nail polish remover.

I started a second leaven using instructions from Ken Forkish's book Flour Water Salt Yeast. I was able to bake a hybrid bread from his book and for a first attempt baked on a baking sheet it turned out great .

Now that I had an active levain I started looking for a sweet bun sourdough recipe. During my search I learnt a lot about hot cross buns. I came to realize that baking hot cross buns to celebrate spring is a really old tradition. I had heard of the poem 'one a penny...' as a child but had never seen or eaten a hot cross bun before. If it were not for this challenge I would have never baked one either.

I ran into this recipe that I liked. I adapted it with changes from a few more recipes to come up with one that worked for me. The dough was not as firm as I would have liked it to be so it was hard shaping the buns. I should have added more flour or less liquid. I think my starter had more hydration than this recipe called for.

You will need
For the Sponge
3/4 cup starter that has been fed the previous day
1 cup whole white wheat
1 cup milk

For the dough
2 oz. butter
5 tbsp sugar
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
1 tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. flower anise powder
1/2 cup raisins

For the pattern on the bun
1/4 cup white flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp melted butter

Combine all the ingredients for the the sponge at night. Keep aside for 12 hours.

The next day soak the raisins in warm water and keep aside. Melt the butter and beat it with the sugar and egg. Combine the butter mixture with the sponge and mix well.

Sift the flour and spices into the bowl and form a dough. Knead well for 10 minutes. Keep aside for 15 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a floured working surface. Fold in the raisins into the flour.

Transfer back to a clean bowl and keep aside for an hour or until the dough nearly doubles in volume.

Using a pastry blender cut the dough into 75gm portions. Shape each portion into a tight ball and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Keep aside to proof for another hour.

Towards the end of the proofing process preheat the oven to 400 F.  Create a paste using the ingredients for the pattern on the bun. Use only as much water as is needed. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe the pattern on the buns.

Bake for 25 minutes or until done. The buns should sound hollow when tapped.

Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before storing.

Check out the other hot cross buns made this month with sourdough


  1. Hot cross buns looks fabulous and damn cute.

  2. I love the distinctive pattern!

  3. Oooh I like the anise flavour in these. Glad you got your starter working for you!

  4. I'll bet Twitter would love your Hot Hashtagged Buns

  5. Very nice pattern and glad your starter is all happy now. Excellent post

  6. Love the spices you used on these ones! Also the unique pattern, they look a bit like hashtags hehe.

  7. Great job on your hot cross buns! Glad you got your starter working for you.

  8. Great job on getting a good, healthy starter going, and then on making these delicious looking hot cross buns. The dough may have been hard to shape, but I bet the crumb on these was divine! Great work.

  9. I love the combination of spices you used. I bet they were delicious! So glad you got your starter going.

  10. I love the different pattern on the top!


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