Hot Cross Bun Loaf
All the taste of the classic hot cross bun, in easy to slice – and easy to toast! - format. I used the dried fruit I already had in the cupboard: currants, sultanas and raisins. You can really use any combination of dried fruit that you like, including chopped mixed peel or maybe even chocolate chips! It is also very good toasted and spread with chocolate and hazelnut spread. Well… it is Easter!
For the loaf:
450g strong bread flour
1.5 tsp salt
7g sachet instant yeast
300ml semi-skimmed milk
3 tbs caster sugar
150g dried mixed fruit
2 tsp cinnamon
For the criss-cross topping:
2 tbs flour
2 tbs water
For the glaze:
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp water
Baking parchment (cut to line the tin) or 2lb loaf tin liner
- Put the milk into the small saucepan.
- Roughly chop the butter and place in the milk.
- Heat gently just until the butter is half melted. Then turn off the heat and allow to cool for five minutes, swirling now and then until the butter is completely melted.
- Measure the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, spice and dried fruit into the large mixing bowl and whisk briefly.
- Tip the cooled butter and milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to a shaggy dough with the wooden spoon.
- Roll up your sleeves! Then turn the mixture out onto the work top and knead for about 5 minutes – the dough might seem uncomfortably sticky at first, but should come together, becoming smooth and springy quite quickly.
- Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover loosely with cling film.
- Leave the bowl in the warmest room in the house and allow to rise for about an hour.
- Line the tin with baking parchment (or use a loaf tin liner instead).
- Turn out the dough and knead a couple of times. Then cut into about ten pieces and shape each piece into a ball.
- Position the balls in the tin, with two on the top. Cover loosely with cling film (the same piece of cling film is fine) and return to the warmest room to rise for 30-40 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, make the criss-cross topping by mixing flour and water in the small mixing bowl and transferring the mixture to a disposable piping bag.
- When the dough has finished its rising time, set the oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan (356 degrees Fahrenheit fan).
- Snip the end of the piping bag and pipe rough lines over the dough one way then then the other to make a criss-cross effect – this in NO way has to be perfect! So don’t worry about how it looks.
- Bake for 30 minutes until risen and golden. Remove from the oven.
- Prepare the sticky glaze by mixing the sugar and water in the (cleaned) small glass bowl. Microwave in short bursts of 5 seconds and stir until you have a nice clear syrup. (You could do this in a very small saucepan if you prefer.)
- Remove the loaf from the tin and use the pastry brush to paint the surface of the loaf with the syrup until glossy.
- Cut into slices, toast (if you wish), spread with butter and serve!