sourdough discard not hot cross buns

I just love hot cross buns so each year I make a batch. Coming from a family that doesn't celebrate Easter I usually make not hot cross buns. I'm also not very good at piping so when I do try and pipe crosses, I often end up making a big mess.

As you know I've been on a bit of a sourdough adventure of late. I don't normally have much discard, and if I do I usually add it to my pizza dough. Recently I had to perk up my starter which left me with about 200g of sourdough discard in the fridge. Rather than waste it, I decided to add it to the hot cross bun dough. I also added a few additional stretch and folds to the dough a la Sarah Keiffer, otherwise it's my standard hot cross bun recipe which was adapted from a Flour and Stone recipe.
If you don't have any discard, just add an extra 60g flour and an additional 60mls/g of milk or water to the dough recipe. Here's the recipe for you which makes 12 buns.
For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C. 

Sourdough Discard Not Hot Cross Buns – makes 12 regular size buns.
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

Bun Dough
140g milk
10g dried yeast
1 egg
60g soft brown sugar
340g bread flour
120g sourdough discard
1 tsp fine salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp each ground nutmeg, ground allspice and cloves
60g softened unsalted butter

Crossing Mixture (optional)
100g plain flour
100 mls water
2 tbs sunflower oil
½ tsp ground nutmeg

100g caster sugar
2 tbs water
2 tsps finely grated orange rind
125mls strained orange juice

To serve
Butter and jam

Fruit soak
Place the sultanas, raisins and currants, tea bag and 200mls boiling water in a bowl. Set aside for an hour or until the 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 just before incorporating into the dough.

Gently warm the milk then add the dried yeast and stir to combine. Cover and leave for 10 minutes until bubbles appear in the mixture. Mix in the egg and brown sugar and stir to dissolve.

Place the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sourdough discard, salt, spices and the egg mixture to the bowl, then using the dough hook, mix for about 5-6 minutes until the dough starts to come together and all clumps have disappeared. The dough should start to pull from the sides of the bowl but it will not completely remove from the bottom. With the mixer on low, add the butter one piece at a time, waiting to add each until the previous is absorbed. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough until all the little butter pieces are incorporated and the dough is very smooth and elastic - this could take around 8-10 minutes. The dough should feel tacky.

Scrape the dough into a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Add the fruit mixture with the first fold. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the bowl and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the bowl with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. At this stage I cover the dough and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and knead for 1 minute, then divide into 12 equal pieces. Use your hand to roll each piece on the work surface to form a round bun. Place buns close together on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and set aside for 1-2 hours or until risen and soft to the touch. While the buns are proving, make the crossing mixture (if using) and preheat the oven to 190°C, conventional.

Crossing mixture
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 buns on the centre rack and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the tin and bake for a further 7-10 minutes until dark golden. While the buns are in the oven, make the glaze.


Combine the sugar, water, the orange rind and the juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until syrupy. Remove from the oven. 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. These buns are best served on the day they're made or toasted the following day.

I shared the buns with my neighbours and froze the rest. These were easily the best hot cross buns I've ever made. They tasted great and the buns were so soft and fluffy. I don't know if it was the sourdough discard or the extra stretch and folds I added but for the future I'll be doing both.
I hope you enjoyed the Easter break with your families. See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
Bye for now,


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