Hey – how is your sourdough starter going? Have you been feeding it? It’s like having a really quiet pet in your house hey – you only need to feed it once a day and it doesn’t leave much mess for you to clean up.
By now you should have a bubbly starter going – if you haven’t fed it for a couple of days, tip half out and then add in enough flour and water (equal amounts of both) to double the starter’s size. This is key! When I first started with sourdough I wasn’t feeding the starter enough and was essentially suffocating it as it developed a liquid over the top. Always double the size of your starter when feeding – if it won’t fit in the jar tip some out to use in a recipe or just give it to your chooks – they really like it.
Onto our hot cross buns –
If you’ve missed parts one and two you can find them here:
Once you’re up to date and have your starter ready take your mixed dried fruit and soak in either warm water or 1/3 cup of brandy – put to one side.
Measure out your flour, sugar, butter, yogurt, starter, salt and spices and place them into a bowl. Mix these together to combine. Let this rest for at least 15 minutes. Time is essential for sourdough to work.
While you’re waiting for that to rest you can feed your starter again, remembering to double it, if you don’t want to use it straight away pop it into the fridge to retard the fermenting process. The day before you want to use it take it out and feed it to refresh the starter.
Once your mix has finished resting, knead it for 10 to 15 minutes with a stand mixer or you could do this by hand if you’re feeling strong. There’s a reason why there were no gyms before mixers were invented – we were too busy getting fit from everyday chores like the daily bread making.
You have two options here –
One :you can either pop this in the fridge overnight in a container with a lid to prevent drying which is what I usually do because I’m always so busy the bread mixing usually happens at the same time I cook dinner and I’m not staying up all night cooking bread (even though it sounds appealing having bread ready in the morning). What this does is slows the proofing right down without over proofing.
Two: You can leave the mix to prove in a warm spot for two hours.
If you went with option one the next day grab your mix out of the fridge and bring up to room temperature before mixing in the dried fruit. If you went with option two you can mix your fruit in once your two hours of proofing is finished.
Once your fruit is mixed in divide the dough into portions roughly 100g each. You’ll get about 24 out of this mix. Have you ever made buns before? Apparently there is a real art to it if you would like to watch a little video on how to do this I’ve found this one for you on you tube.
Place your nice neat round buns into a deep tray. I grease my tray with a little olive oil – enough to coat but not make the buns oily. You can use butter if you like but I think the oil goes with the spices and it won’t burn like butter.
Next we’re proofing again – 4 to 6 hours this time. Please please please don’t skimp on this step sourdough does take a long time to prove – which explains the unleavened bread at passover hey. Leave the rolls in a warm place for this step.
Once they’ve doubled in size you can add the crosses using a paste from flour and water and a piping bag. Pop them into a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for five minutes, then drop the temperature down to 180 degrees Celsius for 15 -20 minutes. To check if they’re ready turn them out and do a knock test. When they sound hollow they’re ready .
Phew – you made it to the end hopefully with some warm spice filled hot cross buns.You could hide them and eat them all yourself – but that is a whole lotta bun for one – these are best shared with neighbours and family with butter dripping down your arms!