Light, fruity and spicy, these tangzhong hot cross buns are a pleasure to eat. Split them, toast them and butter them and enjoy them for breakfast, elevenses or an Easter tea.
I’m obliged to my friend and baking guru Steph Clubb for the tangzhong source recipe which I’ve adapted here. If you haven’t come across it before, tangzhong is a Japanese bread making technique which employs a type of roux to give a soft, fluffy bread. It’s a keeper in every sense.
I have to admit I’ve never put its keeping qualities to the test as it doesn’t last long in our house. I’ve combined the method here with my traditional hot cross bun recipe, to good effect, I think.
The tangzhong hot cross bun recipe is one I’ll be making with students at my World Breads class this Easter. I don’t usually share the cookery school recipes on the blog, as I think it’s a bit unfair to paying guests, but this one’s too good to keep in-house. I’ve left them untoasted in the photo so you can see the texture clearly.
Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns
Ingredients for the tangzhong:
25g strong white bread flour
For the dough:
350g strong white bread flour
7g fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
40g soft light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
125g full fat milk, scalded and cooled
50g softened butter
130g currants, soaked first in hot water and well drained
50g mixed peel
1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk, for 1st glaze
3 tbsp plain flour mixed to a thick paste with water, for the crosses
2 tbsp milk + 2 tbsp caster sugar, for 2nd glaze
Make the tangzhong: place the flour in a small saucepan and gradually mix in the milk. Over a medium heat, cook the paste, whisking constantly until it has thickened.
Remove from the heat, scrape the paste into a bowl, cover it loosely with clingfilm and set aside to cool.
Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir, then add the salt, sugar and spice. Pour the milk into the flour along with the egg, butter and tangzhong and mix on a low speed until it comes together into a dough. Increase to a medium speed for 8-10 minutes.
Add the dried fruit and peel and fold through until evenly incorporated. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size. This could take +/- 2 hours, depending on the heat of your kitchen.
Divide the risen dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Spread the balls out, spaced 2-3 cm apart (they’ll grow into each other as they re-prove and bake), on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover loosely with oiled cling film. Leave to rise for a further 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/180 fan/400F/Gas Mark 6. Brush the risen buns with the beaten egg. Mix the plain flour with enough water to make a thick paste and using a piping bag paint a cross on top of each one. Bake for about +\- 15 minutes.
Bring the milk for the second glaze to a boil and dissolve the sugar in it. Give the buns two successive coatings while they’re still hot. Cool on a rack.