tangzhong hot cross buns

It wouldn't be Easter if I didn't make a batch of hot cross buns. Unfortunately Easter and Passover usually coincide, so this year I made my hot cross buns a little earlier than usual so I wouldn't miss out.

Do you Tangzhong, where you make a roux from a small amount of flour from the recipe mixed with water or milk which when cooled is added to the dough ingredientsThe Tangzhong method is supposed to make a fluffier longer lasting bun and who wouldn't want that. I used the hot cross bun recipe from the Flour and Stone cookbook as my base and I did all the maths for you and the adjusted recipe is below.
It does seem like a lot of steps to make these hot cross buns, but the soaking of the fruit and the glaze can be made some time ahead and the dough can prove overnight in the fridge. If you don't want to Tangzhong the recipe just add 25g of flour to the bun dough recipe and don't forget to increase the milk by about 120 mls. Activating the yeast is an additional step and one I only use when making a sweet dough as sugar can retard activation of the yeast. You can always leave out this step if you like but I think it results in a better rise.
Here's the recipe for you which makes 12 regular size buns. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns adapted from a Nadine Ingram recipe from The Flour and Stone Cookbook.
Fruit Mix
60g each sultanas, raisins and currants
200mls boiling water
1 Earl Grey tea bag
50g dried apricots, chopped
1 tsp finely grated orange rind

25g flour
125ml milk

Yeast Mixture
10 g dried yeast
1 tsp flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tbl water

Bun Dough
375g bread flour
¾ tsp fine salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp each ground nutmeg, ground allspice and ground cloves
60g softened unsalted butter
60g soft brown sugar
1 egg
60 mls milk 

Crossing Mixture
50g plain flour
50 mls water
1 tbs sunflower oil
¼ tsp ground nutmeg 

100g caster sugar
100mls water
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
50 mls orange juice

To serve - butter 

Fruit soak
Place the sultanas, raisins and currants, tea bag and 200mls boiling water in a bowl. Set aside for an hour or until fruit is plump. Remove the tea bag and drain fruit well, discarding the liquid. Pat the fruit dry with a paper towel. Add the dried apricots and 1 tsp orange zest and set aside until needed.

Whisk the flour and milk together in a small pan over medium heat. Cook, whisking at all times, until the mixture thickens. Once it has thickened, scrape the roux into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Allow the roux to cool to room temperature.

Yeast Mixture
While the roux is cooling, activate the yeast. In a small bowl, combine the yeast with 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp sugar and sufficient water to make a paste. Cover and set to one side for about 10 minutes until the mixture froths up, then continue on with the rest of the recipe.

Sift the flour, salt and spices into the bowl containing the tangzhong mixture. Add the yeast mixture, butter, sugar and egg then mix together on a low speed adding enough milk to form a sticky dough. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium and mix for 7 minutes. The dough will have pulled away from the side of the bowl forming a ball. Add the fruit mixture and continue to mix until incorporated. The dough will be quite sticky at this point. Place the dough into a large lightly greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Line a large tray with baking paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead until no longer sticky. Divide into 12 pieces. Use your hand to roll each piece on the work surface to form a round bun. Place buns close together, cover with a tea towel and allow to prove until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to one hour. While the buns are proving, make the crossing mixture.
Crossing mixture
Preheat the oven to 200°C, conventional.Place all the ingredients for the crossing mix in a bowl and whisk to form an elastic batter. If it’s too thick, add a little extra water. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain nozzle. Once the buns have risen, pipe a cross on the top of each bun. Place the tray in the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the buns have risen a little. Reduce the temperature to 190°C rotate the tray and bake for a further 10 - 15 minutes or until dark golden brown.

While the buns are in the oven, make the glaze. Combine the sugar, water, orange rind and the juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until syrupy. Remove the buns from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Brush hot cross buns with the glaze and cool a little, then slide the baking paper and buns onto a wire rack. Serve warm with butter.

I shared half the batch with my neighours, froze the rest but kept one aside to see if the Tangzhong technique would stop the bun going stale. I'm a bit sad to report the day old bun was still stale but nothing that couldn't be rectified by toasting the bun then slathering it with butter. 
Have a Happy Easter and I'll see you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
Bye for now,

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