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Hot Cross Buns

(recipe, Carrie Floyd)


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Ingredients

    Dough
    1. 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
    2. ¼ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
    3. ¾ cup milk
    4. ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    5. ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
    6. 2 large eggs, beaten
    7. 1 tsp. salt
    8. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    9. ¾ tsp. ground cloves
    10. ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
    11. 4½ to 5½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    12. 1 cup currants
    13. 1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
    Topping
    1. 2 Tbsp. milk
    2. 2 Tbsp. sugar
    Icing
    1. 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    2. 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
    3. 2 to 3 Tbsp. heavy cream

    Steps

    1. In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast in the water. Heat the milk to 110 degrees and add it to the yeast along with the butter, brown sugar, and eggs.
    2. Whisk together the salt, ground spices, and 2 cups of flour, and add it to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.
    3. Add the currants and orange zest, and stir to combine. Gradually add the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
    4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
    5. First rise: Put the dough in an oiled ceramic bowl and turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
    6. Shape: Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 24 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and arrange on two well-greased 9-inch-by-12-inch baking pans. (This makes for buns that meld together into little squares; if you prefer separate, dome-shaped buns, spread the dough out on large baking sheets.)
    7. Second rise: Cover the baking pans with towels and let rise for 45 minutes.
    8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees if your pans are glass) about 10 minutes before baking.
    9. Just before baking, cut a cross about ¼-inch deep in the top of each bun with a sharp or serrated knife. For the topping, combine the milk and sugar and brush the top of each bun.
    10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the buns reaches 190 degrees (use an instant-read thermometer). Remove the buns from the oven and let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes.
    11. In a measuring cup with a pouring lip, mix the confectioners’ sugar with the lemon juice and enough heavy cream to reach the consistency of honey. Drizzle the icing into the slits to form a cross on top of each bun.

    Note

    *Read Carrie Floyd's review of Celebration Breads.