You really can't go wrong with this very easy No Knead Hot Cross Buns recipe this Easter. . It's virtually foolproof with no kneading involved at all!
PREP TIME: 20minutes
COOK TIME: 20minutes
Hands off rising time of up to 8hours
TOTAL TIME: 45minutes
For the buns
50g / ⅓cupwhole hazelnuts (OPTIONAL), roughly chopped into large pieces, (optional but they add great texture and flavour)
500g / 4 cupsall purpose white flour or bread flour, in the UK use strong flour
2½teaspoonsinstant or quick yeast, sometimes labelled fast yeast
½teaspoonground cardamon (OPTIONAL but adds a nice flavour)
2teaspoonsfine sea salt
265g / 1½cupsmixed dried fruit, such as golden raisins, sultanas, cranberries, chopped dried apricot.
80mls / ⅓cupoil of choice, melted coconut oil or melted vegan butter are ok too but they MUST be at room temperature and not hot when added
240mls / 1cupunsweetened milk of choice
180mls / ¾cupwater
For the crosses
5tablespoonsall purpose white flour
enough water to make a thick pipe-able paste
For the glaze
IF USING HAZELNUTS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour the raw hazelnuts onto a baking tray and roast for about 10 mins. Shake the pan after 5 mins and keep an eye on them as they can burn fast. Remove them from the oven and let cool.
FOR THE HOT CROSS BUNS
In a large bowl, add the flour, yeast, spices, salt and sugar and mix together well. Then add the fruit, cooled nuts and zest.
Add the oil to the milk, stir, then pour into the bowl with the other ingredients. Then add the water and stir really well with a spoon until everything is combined and there is no dry flour visible. It will be a sticky lumpy looking mess. That's fine.
Cover with cling wrap, a plastic bag or a new/clean shower cap and leave on the kitchen counter for a minimum of 7 hours and a maximum of 9 hours. Do not refrigerate and do not leave anywhere really warm. Just normal room temperature is fine.If the temperature in your house is consistently above 22 ° C (71 °F) then just leave it for 5 hours.
After the time has elapsed the dough will be swollen and puffy. Dust a clean, dry, work surface with some flour and turn out the dough onto it making sure you scrape the bowl out well. Try not to tear the dough as it will damage the structure that has developed. It will be sticky but that is normal.
Dust the top of the dough with some flour and form it into a rough round then cut into 10 pieces.
Shape each piece into a smooth ball using floured hands. I do this by having the ball of dough on the surface in front of me and using my hands to pull down all around, squeezing it tight underneath. Place the buns gently on a lightly floured, or parchment lined baking sheet. Have them so they all gently touch each other.
Cover with the damp dish towel (run it under the tap then wring it out) and leave for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 °F (200°C)
After 30 minutes has passed, make the flour and water paste for the crosses. Just add enough water to the 5 tablespoons of flour to make a thick pipe-able paste. Remove the towel from the buns, fill a piping bag or piping syringe ( or a ziplock bag with a nip in one corner) with the paste and pipe a cross shape on each bun.
Place the buns in the preheated oven and bake for around 20 minutes. Once done they should be starting to turn golden and if you tap one on it's bottom it should sound hollow.
Remove from the oven and immediately mix up the glaze. 2 tablespoons of sugar with 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Stir until the sugar dissolves then brush the top of each bun generously.
Transfer to a cooling rack and be sure to eat one while it's hot!
As with all of my baking recipes where precision is key to excellent results, I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients, rather than using cup measurements. I love this one because it is very reasonably priced and it has a tare function which is really handy. It means you can place any bowl on the scale and reset to zero so it doesn’t include the weight in its calculation, plus you can reset to zero when adding multiple ingredients to the same bowl which saves on washing up!Oil-Free - It is possible to make these hot cross buns without the oil if you wish but bear in mind that the oil gives a softer, fluffier crumb. The oil acts a bit like a preservative too and if you omit it the hot cross buns will go stale much more quickly. If you know you will be eating them quickly then this won't be a problem. If you won't eat them so quickly and you omit the oil, I would advise freezing them and just removing from the freezer as you need them. If you do omit the oil, add an extra 60mls of water to replace some of the lost liquid.Storage - Leftover buns freeze well for up to 3 months.