This year Ostara and Easter are about as far apart as possible so there are still several weeks to enjoy the flavours of the season.
Hot Cross buns are one of those flavours. This no knead, overnight bread is a simple way to create a tasty addition to a lunchbox, weekend brunch or afternoon tea.
Having just finished making a batch of Greek yoghurt, I wanted to use the whey for extra nutrition. Water will do just fine as a substitute.
Start the evening before, let sit overnight and bake the following morning. Enjoy!
You will need:
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups water or whey
2 tsp. yeast
1 – 1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup orange peel
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
” In my kitchen filled with care, I welcome, Earth, Fire, Water, Air ” is an appropriate invitation to bread making as all of these elements are needed to be successful.
Add the whey/water to the dry ingredients and stir.
It will start out dry and moisten as the whey incorporates into the flour.
Do not overwork the dough.
No kneading required as the work of creating gluten is done in the time the dough sits.
For that reason the dough will not feel the same as when bread dough has been worked, either by hand or with a dough hook.
Wipe down the sides of the bowl to ensure the bowl is as clean as possible, cover and place in a warm location for approximately 12 hours. I have used both a plate and Resinite over time and both work equally well.
My grandfather had a cardboard box he built over his gas stove and the warmth of the pilot flame was enough to keep his dough in heaven.
Truly anything from 10 – 18 hours will be fine for the yeast to work, so there is no need to stress about the timing. This batch sat for 12 hours.
Do what you need to do to keep just enough heat that the dough is cozy and not chilled during cooler winter months.
It is going to happily bubble away all night. In the morning the dough will be loose and tend to plop rather than sit. It will be more like patting than forming the dough. Some of the moisture will also have been absorbed into the raisins.
Cover a counter/workspace with a bit of extra flour and let the dough gently fall on top. You might need to turn it a couple of time to get flour all the way around so flouring or oiling your hands can be helpful.
Divide in half.
If you have never made this style of bread before, do not panic. It will be alright in the end.
Let the dough rest for a hour on the counter, away from drafts.
Line an oven proof baking container with parchment paper. I simply wash and dry the bowl the dough was made as it is oven proof. The paper will create a barrier between the hot bowl and the bread dough giving a thinner crust after baking.
Preform the parchment paper before putting the bowls into the oven. I say bowl as I have a pyrex one that is just the right size and height that I like to use with a plate on top to act as the lid. A casserole with matching top will work as well. Push and crease and tweak so that the papers will sit nicely and then put the parchment paper aside.
At 30 minutes into the dough sitting time, turn the oven on to 450 degrees F. Place the baking container and its lid into the oven to heat until the hour is up.
Gather up one half of the dough, form it into a loose shaped ball or loaf by folding the edges under to give a smooth top. Gently drop the loaf into the center of the parchment paper. Dust with a extra little flour if you would like. Snipping the top will help to give you that cracked artisan look.
Place the lid on top of the bowl and return to the oven for 25 minutes.
When taking the bowl out of the oven and taking the lid off, be careful to open away from you. The air within the casserole/bowl will be very hot. Remove the loaf and return the paper to the bowl, taking care not to touch anything hot. Repeat with the second loaf that has continued sitting on the counter.
It is also possible to use two containers and bake at the same time.
The loaves are moist with a slight sourdough taste. Easily cut and served plain with butter. The raisins sweeten the entire loaf but it is possible to add a few tablespoons of sugar if you would prefer. It will remain soft for several days and will then be lovely in French toast or freshly popped from the toaster. All the flavours of Hot Cross buns with a twist in presentation.
Hot Cross Demi Loaves from My Kitchen Wand