Hot cross bun loaf
Serves 10 | prep 30 mins | total time
- 250g plain flour
- 250g strong white bread flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- zest of 1 large orange
- 75g room temperature unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1 large egg
- 300ml milk
- 300g mixed dried fruit
- 2 tbsp clear apricot jam
For the cross
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2-3 tbsp milk
This is best eaten freshly made, but will keep for up to 2 days. It can also be frozen, unglazed.
- Butter a 900g loaf tin that measures 20cm x 9cm x 8cm deep. Line it with baking paper so the excess hangs over the sides of pan (to make removing the loaf easier).
- Put the flours, sugar, spices, orange zest and 1 teaspoon salt into a large bowl; mix. Add the butter, in pieces, and rub in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the dried yeast and mix; make a well in the middle of dry ingredients.
- Mix together the egg and milk; pour into the dry ingredients. Mix until it comes together. Tip out onto the work surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until it's smooth and elastic (step 1), or for about 10 minutes in a stand mixer. This is a sticky dough but don't be tempted to add more flour – it will eventually come together. Tip the dough into a lightly greased bowl; cover with clingfilm. Set aside for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
- Tip the dough out on the work surface; press flat. Add the dried fruit and knead into the dough until evenly distributed. Weigh the dough out into 6 equal pieces and form into balls. Place the balls of dough into the prepared tin (step 2); cover with a piece of lightly greased clingfilm. Set aside for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. To make the cross, mix together the flour and enough milk to make a thick, just pourable paste. Place into a piping bag and snip off the end. Once the dough has risen, pipe a cross onto each round of dough (step 3). Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until deep golden. Immediately turn it out; cool on a wire rack. While the loaf is still warm, heat the apricot jam until runny and brush it over the top.
The hot cross bun is probably the most popular Easter recipe and this loaf sticks to the tried-and- tested flavours. My favourite way to eat it is for breakfast, toasted and spread with salted butter.