HAPPY EASTER EVERYBODY.
It’s time to let the multi-coloured chicks out! They spend all year tucked in their little box in my baking drawer and they only get to come out once a year. It seems unfair to keep them there but their presence in any other photo would just confuse matters.
Let me tell you about this years Hot Cross Buns, well as you can see they aren’t really buns at all. Early on in March I decided I wanted to try to combine a Brioche Loaf with Hot Cross Bun flavour, when I mentioned it on twitter there was excitement and especially from Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes who pointed me in the direction of her Classic French challenge which this month happened to be all about Brioche.
So that was the idea but how was I going to tackle it. As usual Pinterest was my first stop (Seriously if you aren’t on Pinterest yet you really should consider taking a look) I couldn’t see anything on there that was exactly how I envisage, which is always good to see as it means hopefully my idea was original(ish).
I decided to turn to everyone’s favourite Silver Fox (Unless you prefer George Clooney, Philip Schofield or Roger Sterling) Paul Hollywood. He had the perfect Brioche recipe in his How to Bake book and my experience of his recipes to date were all very easy to follow and successful. All I needed to do was adapt it with spices and dried fruit.
I’m really proud of how these turned out, the only problem I encountered was my dough taking ages to rise as my flat was really cold. Thankfully I had recently read that you can use your oven on its lowest temperature – which worked a treat.
If we have any left (We won’t, it’s too delicious) this could be made in to a superb Bread & Butter Pudding. The Littlest Bakehouse has a great recipe for a Spiked Hot Cross Bread & Butter Pudding and while you are there take a glance at her excellent super graphic skills – Conversions & Guides
Hot Cross Brioche
adapted from Paul Hollywood – How to Bake
500g / 1.1lbs strong white bread flour (extra for dusting)
7g / 0.25 oz salt
50g / 1.7 oz caster sugar
10g / 0.35 oz yeast
140ml warm full fat milk
5 large eggs
250g / 8.8 oz unsalted butter, softened (extra for greasing)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ nutmeg – finely grated
140g / 5 oz mixed dried fruit
zest of 1 lemon & 1 small orange
flour & water for the crosses
I used a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for this recipe, PH says it’s required as the dough is very wet but I know of people who have successfully made Brioche without one.
- Put the flour in your bowl, then the salt and sugar to one side and the yeast on the opposite side.
- Add the milk and eggs and mix on a slow speed for about 2 minutes, increase to a medium speed and mix for 6-8 minutes – until the dough is soft, glossy and elastic.
- Add the butter (I softened it by putting it in my back pocket – this stage is optional) the spices, dried fruit & zest and continue mixing for a further 4-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and again – until all the butter & bits are fully incorporated.
- Tip the dough into a plastic bowl (I’m not sure why it has to be a plastic bowl – but I did as I was told & it worked) Cover with clingfilm & chill overnight or for at least 7 hours.
- Wake Up & grease a 25cm springform cake tin.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and tip out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knock the air out by folding it in on itself a few times and divide into 9 equal parts – roll into smooth balls. Place 8 balls round the outside of the tin and 1 in the middle.
- Cover and leave to rise for 2-3 hours or until the dough has risen above the tin. At 2 hours mine had only risen a tiny amount so I popped them in my oven on its lowest temperature for just under an hour. Check them by pressing lightly with your finger, the dough should spring back – if the indent stays they need to be proved for longer.
- Heat the oven to 190°c / 375°f / gas mark 5
- Mix together some flour and water, so you have a paste that just holds itself. Using a piping bag, pipe on crosses or stars or hearts or whatever you fancy really.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes. Because of the sugar and eggs the colour will change before it’s cooked – rotate it if one side is looking more toasty. The bread is cooked when a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove the Brioche from the tin and allow to cool for a little bit on a wire rack, before you rip it open and eat the whole lot.
So far I’ve not needed butter or jam or nutella or cream – it’s good just the way it is.
I have entered this recipe to two challenges –
Jen’s Classic French where the theme for March is Brioche