NO KNEAD Hot Cross Buns
This no-knead version of Hot Cross Buns come out just like the classic version (see above), except the buns rise a little bit less, and the dough takes longer to rise. The dough has more ingredients (to make the end result as similar as possible) and the buns don't keep quite as well (Note 6). Watch the Kneaded Hot Cross Buns video above to see how to roll the dough into balls and pipe on the crosses. Watch the video in the Soft No Knead Dinner Rolls for the dough (uses the same base dough recipe!) 2.5 hours inactive time.
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast - any type (active dry, rapid rise, instant) (Note 1)
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar (superfine sugar), or sub with normal white sugar
- 1/2cup (125 ml) warm water (Note 2)
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk, lukewarm, whole or low fat, (Note 2)
- 4 cups (600g) bread flour + extra for dusting (Note 3)
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 tsp All Spice OR Mixed Spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 - 2 oranges , zest only (Note 4)
- 1 1/2 cups (210g) sultanas (Note 4)
- 50g/ 3.5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten with fork
- 1/2 cup flour, any white flour
- 5 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp apricot jam
- 2 tsp water
Place the yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar in a medium bowl, then pour in water. Leave for 5 minutes until it froths.
Place flour, remaining sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
Make a well in the centre. Add remaining Buns ingredients and pour in the yeast liquid, including all froth.
Mix until combined with wooden spoon - it will be like a thick muffin batter. Not pourable, but thick and sticky.
Forming Balls (watch video, it's helpful):
Line a 31.5 x 23.5 cm / 9 x 13" tray with baking paper with overhang.
Remove tea towel and punch dough to deflate.
Dust work surface with flour, place dough on work surface. Dust top of dough then knead lightly (to deflating air) and shape into a log. Cut into 12 equal pieces.
Take one piece and press down with palm, then use your fingers to gather into a ball, then roll the dough briefly to form a ball. This stretches the dough on one side and that's how I get a nice smooth surface.
Place the ball with the smooth side up on the tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Line them up 3 x 4.
Rise # 2:
Spray a piece of cling wrap lightly with oil (any), then place over the tray.
Return tray to warm place and leave for 45 min - 1 hour, until the dough has risen by about 75% (less than double in size).
Partway through Rise #2, preheat oven to 180C/350F (all oven types).
Mix flour and water until a runny paste forms - see video for thickness required.
Spoon into a round 3 mm piping bag or small ziplock bag then snip corner.
Remove the cling wrap and pipe crosses onto the buns. Go slow so it hugs the curves.
Bake for 22 minutes, or until the surface is a deep golden brown. The surface colour is the best test for this recipe.
Meanwhile, place jam and water in a bowl, microwave for 30 seconds. Mix to combine.
Remove buns from oven. Brush with jam mixture while warm.
Use overhang to lift buns onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool to warm before serving.
1. Yeast - 1 tbsp dry yeast = 9 grams
I use Lowan Dried Instant Yeast (red tube, sold at Woolies/Coles baking aisle) which technically doesn't need to be frothed before using but there's no harm in doing it, and I do it out of habit + also because then the same steps apply to any dried yeast. If you are using the packets, you can just use 2 x 7 g sachets, that is 4 1/2 tsp which is slightly more than 1 tablespoon but it works just fine. Doesn't taste yeasty and makes it rise a touch more. Otherwise, measure out 1 tablespoon.
If your yeast doesn't go frothy, sorry to say it's not active so your buns won't rise. :(
To use fresh yeast (comes in a block that crumbles, not powder like dry yeast), use 27g/ 0.9 oz. You don't actually need to dissolve it in liquid like I do with the dry, but there's no harm in doing it and so for the sake of consistency, crumble it in and let stand until it foams up, same as using dry yeast.
2. Milk - Scalding hot milk and hot water kills the yeast. I heat milk for 45 seconds on high in the microwave, and use warm tap water. The test is this: stick your finger in. If it was a bath, would it be pleasant? Good. It's not too hot or too cold!
3. Flour - Breads are also fluffier and more tender if made with bread flour rather than normal flour. However, this recipe works great with normal white flour too.
5. WARM PLACE for dough: This is what I do all year round - use my dryer. Laugh - but try it! Run the (empty) dryer for 1 - 2 minutes, then place the bowl inside. If you do that, the dough will rise in 1.5 hours. Even if it's snowing outside!
6. STORING / MAKE AHEAD: As with all homemade bread, it is best served on the day it's made. The No-Knead version doesn't keep quite as well as the kneaded version - dries out more. For the day after, reheating makes all the difference to make them soft and moist again - 15 sec in the microwave! These freeze great, then just defrost. To reheat batches, I pop them on a tray and cover with foil (to avoid the surface getting too crisp), then reheat at 160C/320F for 8 minutes or so. Or cut in half and toast.
- Spices - All Spice is my default, but I also use Mixed Spice too and no one would ever know the difference. Sub with: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp each cloves and nutmeg
- Sultanas: Some recipes say to add sultanas after the dough has been kneaded or risen. If you do this, you'll find it very hard to disperse them evenly throughout the dough. By adding them before kneading, some do get squished. But it's not noticeable in the end result.
- Orange - use 2 oranges if you want a more prominent orange flavour, or switch for 1/2 cup candied citrus peel.
Serving: 83g | Calories: 222kcal