(Hot Cross) Buns of steel

A am theyuppiebaker, and I’m going to go against the historic stereotype of the ambitious feminist female young professional by admitting that I love baking. I find it quite therapeutic, and a way to be creative without having to invest too much time or energy unless I want to do something particularly special. I love food, I love being creative with food, but ultimately it’s for eating. How aesthetic I want it to be will depend who I’m cooking for.

To be frank, I’m not sure that historic stereotype is relevant any more. In our post-Nigella world, where women have been given ‘permission’ to re-approach cooking/baking without it being assumed that they aspire only to 1950’s house-wifery, it might even be expected that the young professional female should also be a master baker. We should be able to bake beautiful and delicate creations, have a high powered job, as well as remain slim, young, run kilomarathons, have unassilable taste in dress and interior decoration, have a PhD, hand write witty individual letters to all our friends and family, read only the most worthy literature and watch only independent cinema, and have plenty of time left over the maintain a spotless home, and do plenty of fund raising for charity. Right. No pressure then.

I’m not a complete slouch on all of these fronts, but I am not going to run myself ragged to meet standards which may well only exist in my head. If I can do some of the above, and make food that tastes pretty good, then it’s all good.

So my first post is today’s efforts: Hot Cross Buns (ironic for an Atheist, no?)

I used Delia’s recipe from the Complete Cooking Course (also at: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/sweet/hot-cross-buns.html)

I did two batches, although I hadn’t actually intended to!

Batch #1: Oops! Dried yeast didn’t work terribly well! But in spite of this they taste ok, if a bit denser than ideal. I also forgot to add the cross, so I’ve decided that these are Spring Holiday Rock Cakes and not just failed Hot Cross Buns!

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Batch #2: Better! I used fresh yeast, but still not quite how I would like – however, at least I remembered the decorative bit. They’re quite pale in spite of being completely cooked, so that’s something I need to work on.

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Conclusions: I’ve never worked well with yeast, and although the second batch showed improvement I can conclude that I have a very long way to go. Ideally I’d like to be able to make brioche, so will aim to work up to this. But in the mean time, what I might do in the future to solve the issue of paleness is glaze the bun with egg (perhaps with some treacle in it) then add the cross on top.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Well done, looking good!

    Tom Kitchin’s hot cross bun recipe in today’s Scotland on Sunday. Looking forward to seeing photos of all the lovely things you make – keep blogging!

    Reply

  2. As a budding feminist myself, I believe that any interest in homemaking (including cleaning, baking, cooking, or sewing) is perfectly acceptable in the world of modern feminism if you choose to be interested in it on your own accord as opposed to being forced to excel in it by social norms or gender roles.

    =P

    The buns look delicious!

    Reply

  3. It’s hard to beat a homemade hot cross bun, and even if they came out a little heavier than you’d hoped these look wonderful for a first attempt! Had completely forgotten about rock cakes until you mentioned them too – think I may need to make some soon 🙂

    Reply

    • Well, I brought a tin of them into work for my colleagues and there have been noises of approval coming from the kitchen over the course of the morning, so I’m guessing the density isn’t too much of an issue! 🙂

      Re rock cakes; I was thinking about them recently and just haven’t got around to them yet. Maybe we can compare notes once we’ve both had an chance to make a batch or two 🙂

      Reply

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