Monday, April 25, 2011

Hamelman's Hot Cross Buns

It was about a month and a half ago when I saw some Hot Cross Buns w/ Dried Strawberry and Candied Orange for sale at Panera Bread and I was intrigued.  I had never heard of hot cross buns before.  I began looking up recipes online and then discovered via The Fresh Loaf that Hamelman had a recipe for these in his book Bread.  Well, that settled it for me, I was going to try Hamelman's version of these.  I saw just this morning that the Mellow Bakers group baked these together back in March 2010, as their very first assignment together, so I'm just a tad late, but I'm glad I made these so that now I know what hot cross buns taste like!  Here are my hot cross buns I made yesterday:
Unfortunately, I hadn't read any of the Mellow Bakers' posts on these buns before I began my project, so I experienced most of the same problems.  The recipe for the paste in the book makes way to much for piping crosses on 12 buns.  My crosses were probably a little thinner in diameter than Hamelman intended, but still I had more than half of the paste left over.  I too, had trouble piping these crosses.  The paste was thick and my poor hands were shot after piping all 12 crosses.  The paste also would not come off the pastry tip at the end of each cross strip I piped; it clung to the tip and I had to take my finger and pull it off the tip.  Also, the recipe for the simple syrup makes way to much syrup for 12 buns.  I did decide to cut the recipe back on this, and made only a quarter of the syrup recipe.

The other fun part of this project came from the experience of making my very own candied orange peel.  I followed this recipe for the candied orange peel.  I had never tasted candied orange peel before and thought it was quite good when I tasted it.  My husband said it tasted like the candy orange slices you can buy.  I have some slices left over, so their going to be dipped in dark chocolate this week for a little treat!
Here are my orange slices drying after their long simmer.

I'm so glad I tried these buns as they were quite fun to make despite the little difficulties and they tasted way better than plain old dinner rolls.  They were very fruity, incredibly moist and just a little spicy from all the fresh ground allspice that went into the dough. 

The only change I would make is that next time I will pipe on my crosses after the buns bake and just use powdered sugar, milk, a tad of vanilla and a drop or two of Fiori Di Sicilia.  I think the buns have much better visual appeal with a white cross on top. 


  1. Those look wonderfully perky! Coming from the homeland of hot cross buns, I would say your crosses are the perfect width. B, who used to help out in the supermarket bakery, taught me to put the buns closer together so they join up when they are baked. Then you can run the piping straight across all the buns in lines and it's a bit quicker. Kudos to you on making your own peel! I love homemade candied peel, if you ever get pink grapefruit, they work wonderfully well, the white part of the pith goes quite pink too! You are a seriously mellow baker Melanie!

  2. These look wonderful, Melanie. I really enjoyed them, too. And I'm so glad to read Joanna's note about piping onto all of them at fun!

  3. Yes, thank you for the tip on piping when they're closer together. After reading Celia's blog today I figured I probably should have put the buns closer together on the sheet pan. Thank you for such nice comments!!
    I sure wish I could find pink grapefruit. Years ago I used to eat them all the time, but now all I can find are white and red grapefruit. I don't know if those make good candied peel or not.

  4. I'm sure they would, particularly the red one. Give it a go... I kept mine in the fridge from Christmas till now and put them in my Easter buns. I used a tea cake recipe by Dan Lepard that I am very fond of, makes a bun that is a bit lighter in texture than the trad hot cross. Recipe here if you want to compare to this one :