Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Sweet Breakfast Buns

Really, these are hot cross buns, without the cross. Good-tempered buns, maybe. I was inspired by recipes found here, although you will note that I was considerably more restrained on the subject of butter, eggs and cream. Or perhaps not really, since I didn't use a pound of flour either, I don't think.

I found I had to add quite a lot of flour as I kneaded this, as it was unbelievably sticky. Mind you, I started out with 4 cups. I have just called for 5 cups to start with in the recipe; hopefully that is a lot closer to what you will actually use.

The cardamom should be 16 to 18 pods. Bruise them thoroughly, then pick out the green papery hulls and discard them, and grind the remaining seeds as fine as you can.

I was really happy with how these turned out. They were delicious fresh out of the oven, and now that a couple of days have passed since I made them I am enjoying them toasted, with butter. Jam seems like gilding the lily, even though there are pots and pots down in the basement that we have just not been eating our way through this winter, although I suspect at least one bun will get some marmalade applied to it before it is dispatched.

If you want hot cross buns, the traditional way of marking them is to mix up a little white flour and water, and pipe it onto the buns after the glaze has been put on them. Modern cooks often use a white icing to apply the cross. Seems excessively sticky to me, but undoubtedly much easier.

24 buns
30 minutes work time - up to 6 hours rising time - 15 minutes to bake

Sweet Breakfast Buns
Start the Yeast Working:
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast

Put the milk and teaspoon of sugar in a small pot and heat it until it starts to steam. Test it with your finger; it should feel warm but not hot to the touch. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and leave it to foam for 5 to 10 minutes.

Make the Dough:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 extra-large eggs

5 cups white spelt flour
1 teaspoon cardamom pods, ground and sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar or Sucanat (I used half and half)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup candied peel
2 tablespoon minced preserved ginger
the grated zest of 1 orange OR 1 lemon
more flour to knead

While the yeast gets started, beat the eggs into the softened butter in a small bowl. Measure the flour into a larger mixing bowl, and stir in all the remaining ingredients. Wash your hands well in preparation for kneading the dough.

Once the yeast mixture is high and foamy, mix it, with the egg and butter blend, into the flour. Once it becomes hard to stir with a spoon, turn it out onto a lightly floured board or counter. Begin kneading the bread, sprinkling it with more flour if it sticks to your hands or the board. Once the dough is slightly sticky - that is, it pulls away from your hands or the board a little reluctantly, but cleanly - stop working in any more flour, and knead the bread for a further 5 minutes or so. Total kneading time should be about 10 minutes.

Put the dough into a clean bowl into which a dab of oil has been poured, and turn it so it is lightly coated all over in the oil. Cover it with a clean cloth and put it in a warm spot to rest until the dough is doubled in size.

Line a large cookie sheet or other baking pan with parchment paper, and turn the dough out onto the paper. Cut it into 24 equal pieces. (I cut it into eighths, then cut each eighth into thirds.) Roll the pieces into round balls, and space them on the tray. Cover the tray with the cloth and let them rest in a warm place until doubled in size again.

Glaze and Bake the Buns:
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Heat the milk and sugar just enough for the sugar to dissolve. Brush this glaze over the top of the buns, discarding any excess.

Bake the buns for about 15 minutes, until nicely browned. Let cool 10 minutes, then remove from the tray to finish cooling.

Last year at this time I made Shepherd's Pie.


Joanne said...

I think cardamom flavored doughs are the best. I made a Swedish tea ring with this kind of dough and fell in love. These buns look fantastic.

Ferdzy said...

Cardamom is definitely underrated, I agree.

Anonymous said...

I made these tasty beauties & loved every biteful! So delicious!