Hot X: Algebra Exposed

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Hot X: Algebra Exposed

Hot X: Algebra Exposed

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It’s only a few weeks now until the Easter bank holiday weekend, so it seems a good time to be digging out the hot cross bun recipes. Everyone can add any toppings if they’d like them, such as butter or jam, then make sure the Hot Cross Buns have cooled down before you tuck in.

An adult should pour water over the smouldering wood and ashes to make sure they’re fully extinguished. For a variation on the theme with some ancient grains, try my white spelt hot cross buns with an Earl Grey glaze from “A Handful of Flour” (p. Drain the fruit and place it with the mixed peel, orange and lemon zest, and mix it all together before leaving it to infuse. Whilst traditionally eaten on Good Friday, I like to eat these throughout the run up to Easter weekend, toasted and slathered in butter for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. Tastes and looks just like the classic version (see above), except they rise marginally less (you can only tell if you have both side by side), and the dough takes longer to rise.Add the butter to a separate pan and place over a low heat for a few minutes, or until melted, then set aside. In the palm of your hand, firmly round the pieces so they stand pert on your baking tray, a fingers width between them. Sweet and sticky dough buns, risen with yeast, speckled with dried fruit and mixed peel, and heady with spices. As the hot cross buns are an annual event I like to have a play around with my recipe every year, making them vegan one year, playing with the flavours the next. After 1 minute, add extra flour if required, just enough so dough comes away from side of bowl when mixing and doesn't stick terribly to your fingers.

If you fancy trying out the theory of whether they will go mouldy or not if you bake your Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday, here’s easy to follow a recipe from Darina Allen at Ballymaloe Cookery School!The easiest method of all, this will make buns that are ever so slightly less fluffy and do not keep quite as well. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in 75g sultanas, 50g mixed peel, zest of 1 orange, 1 finely chopped apple, ground cinnamon and mixed spice. Put 500g strong bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 75g caster sugar and 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast into a bowl. The spices in hot cross buns are said to represent the spices that were used to embalm Christ after his death.

I didn’t have instant yeast so I dissolved my yeast in 1/2 c warm water and reduced the milk by 1/2 c. Use 2 cups instead of the sultanas (any more and you end up with quite a gooey melted chocolate centre! As this is an enriched dough, and is quite sticky and tricky to handle, I would suggest using a stand mixer to knead the dough.By effort, I don't mean you need to be hugely active or expert to make these; you just need the patience to sit around while they rise and the faith to believe they will. Pour over the warm milk and egg mix then start your machine going on its lowest setting and mix for 3-4 minutes or until the dough has started to come together but is scraggy – then add the soaked fruit. To shape the hot cross buns cover the pieces of dough with a kitchen towel to prevent them drying out.

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