We’ve probably all sang that little ditty at some time in our lives. I know we did when we were kids growing up in Australia. Bread often plays a major role in holiday and religious observances. The hot cross bun is traditional Lenton bread, its exact origins unknown. Some say that it has pagan origins, the cross representing the moon and its four quarters. Anglo-Saxons ate the sacramental buns in honor of their goddess Eastore. When the Romans arrived in Britain, the clergy tried to stop the use of the sacramental buns, but could not. So they blessed them and gave the cross on the buns a Christian meaning. Traditionally these buns are decorated with dough piped across the top before baking, not a sweet icing as is commonly seen. A thin glaze brushed over the buns provides the added sweetness.
Yield: 30 Rolls
10 ounces Golden raisins
10 ounces Dark raisins
3 ounces Candied orange peel
2 lb. 4 oz. Bread flour
4 ounces Shortening
3 1/2 ounces Granulated sugar
10 grams Dough conditioner, optional
2 ounces Dry milk powder
2 3/4 ounces Compressed yeast
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Cardamom, ground
1 teaspoon Allspice, ground
2 teaspoons Ginger, ground
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon, ground
19 fluid ounces Water
4 ounces Pastry flour
3/4 ounce Shortening
3 1/2 fluid ounces Milk
6 fluid ounces Bun Glaze
1. Place the raisins and candied orange peel in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let soften in the water for 5 minutes. Drain the water and let the fruit condition for 2 to 4 hours before using. Set aside.
2. Place the flour, shortening, sugar, dough conditioner, if using, dry milk powder, yeast, salt, eggs, vanilla extract and spices in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the water and mix the dough on low speed for 3 minutes until moistened. Stop the machine and scrape the bowl. Add additional flour if necessary to create a soft dough. Mix the dough on medium speed for 6 to 7 minutes until it is soft and pliable.
3. Add the conditioned fruit and mix the dough on low speed until the fruit is well distributed in the dough. If necessary, dust the dough lightly with more flour to help the fruit incorporate.
4. Scrape the dough onto a flour-dusted workbench. Cover and ferment for 30 minutes. Deflate the dough and fold it into thirds then let it rest for another 15 minutes.
5. Divide the dough into 3-1/2-ounce (100-gram) pieces. Round the dough into tight rolls with a smooth top surface. Place the formed rolls, seam side down on a paper-lined half sheet pan. Position them in rows on the tray, 5 rolls by 6 rolls so that the rolls touch when fully proofed.
6. Proof the rolls with low humidity until doubled in size, approximately 50 minutes.
7. While the rolls proof, prepare the cross dough. Combine the pastry flour, shortening and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the shortening is well blended and the dough is lump free.
8. When the rolls have proofed, scoop the cross mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. Quickly pipe a cross over the surface of each roll.
9. Bake at 375°F (190°C) until the rolls are a rich brown color, approximately 15 minutes.
10. Brush the hot rolls generously with the chilled Bun Glaze, making certain they are well coated so that no dry spots appear when the glaze dries.
There is nothing quite like the smell of bread baking. Unless of course it’s cake or cookies baking. But bread fills the house with that moreish, yeasty fragrance you just can’t get enough of. Recently I purchased a fabulous book titled “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” You start with a basic dough from the master recipe that can be kept in the fridge until you want to bake something. At which point you take some of the dough and add your flavours, shape, bake and eat! This week I have really been hungry for Tandoori Chicken so decided to make that and what better to accompany this meal than some tasty garlic naan bread.
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose white flour, measured with the scook and sweep method.
Mixing and Storing Dough
1. Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100 degrees F. Warm water will rise the dough to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. You can use cold tap water and get an identical final result; then the first rising will take 3 or even 4 hours. That won’t be too great a difference, as you will only be doing this once per stored batch.
2. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5 quart bowl or preferable, in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food grade bucket. Don’t worry about getting it all to dissolve.
3. Mix in the flour – kneading is unnecessary. Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up the flour and leveling it off with a knife. Mix this in with a wooden spoon, or high capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) or mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. If it get’s too dry you can reach into the dough with very wet hands and press the mix together but don’t knead. You are finished when everything is uniformly moist. This will yeild a dough that is wet and loose which will probably conform to the shape of the container.
4. Allow to rise. cover with a lid but not airtight. Do not use screw top jars as the gasses will not be able to escape and the jars could explode. Allow the mix to rise at room temperature for approximately 2 hours. The top may begin to collapse in on itself, this is ok. Longer rising times up to 5 hours will not harm the result. You can begin using any portion of the dough after this time to make your breads.
When you wish to bake some bread, DO NOT KNEAD. Just shape your loaf in 30 to 60 seconds and you are ready to bake. It is best baked on a pizza stone with some cornmeal sprinkled on it to prevent your loaf from sticking.
|For my naan bread I just took a peach sized portion and rolled it flat with my rolling pin, shaped it into 8 inch ovals and fried it in a cast iron skillet that had some ghee (clarified fat) in the bottom of it. I covered the skillet and rotated the bread after about two minutes. Watch for burning and adjust your temperature accordingly. I cooked it for another 3 to four minutes on the second side and then buttered it with some roasted garlic butter we had made.
You can use this master recipe to make all manner of breads and I will be trying different types here again in the future. If you enjoy homemade bread this is a must have book for your collection. Bread making at home has never been this easy!
Why is it that when you take your eyes off the fruit bowl for one day the bananas end up black and overripe? I hate to see fruit go bad and luckily when it’s bananas you can still use them for yummy banana bread or in this case banana cupcakes!
Be sure to visit Kitchen Rap & Gourmet Girl’s 2009 Summer Cupcake Crawl to vote on the luscious cupcake entries.. of course a vote for me would be great too!
4oz (125g) butter
Spoon into cupcake papers and bake at 350 deg F for around 20 mins. They should begin to get golden on top but don’t over bake.