Wednesday, October 24, 2012

One Sunday...

I felt like baking bread.  And not my usual lazy way of throwing a pre-mix and water into my bread machine, this time my little piggy mitts wanted to get down and dirty.  

Not Quite Nigella has a really great hot cross bun recipe using white chocolate cinnamon chips.  I can't easily get them here, but I've made the recipe using dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, a mixture of both, and even exchanged the 1 tsp of cinnamon for mixed spice and made it with raisins soaked in rum (yum!).   This time I was short on dark choc chips but rummaged around my pantry and found a cup of peanut butter chips - even better!!! 

You start by proving your yeast.  In about 15 mins, the mixture of lukewarm milk and sugar awakens the little dried up organisms that give bread its rise.  I've done this many, many times but have never seen it rise like this!! 

It was bubbling and starting to overrun the cup even as I hurriedly measured out the flour!

After about 5 minutes of kneading most of the ingredients together, you sit it in a greased, covered bowl in a warm place to rise (the oven with or without the light turned on or the microwave with the door shut have always worked well for me).  I haven't baked these since Easter, so I couldn't remember if the dough was meant to be smooth or not but I didn't want to overknead it so I crossed my sticky fingers and  left it to rise for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

The ugly duckling
 Much to my relief, it again rose to high heaven (gotta love that yeast!)

Talk about doubled in size!
I gently pressed it down, added the remaining chips and then kneaded it gently to form a large ball, which I then divided into 16 pieces.

I'm lazy with forming them into balls - a bun by any other shape tastes just as sweet, no?

Leave it to rise for another 20 mins, in my case I leave them to rise in the grill while the oven is pre-heating.  It gets nice and warm in there and I don't have to worry about drafts!

If you think the rising is over, think again!
5 minutes in the oven and the yeast still hadn't run out of steam!

These buns smell absolutely amazing fresh out of the oven.

A few minutes before they were done (they take about 20-30 minutes) I prepared the glaze which is basically a mixture of water, gelatin and sugar.  NQN's recipe makes a generous amount of  glaze, so halving it provides just enough to coat the buns without having pools of sticky sugar syrup.

When I've baked these for Easter I've piped chocolate crosses on them but not today!  Today it's going straight into my gob - fluffy, sweet, chocolate peanut butter deliciousness - YAAARM!!

I want to make more
They're best eaten the same day they're baked, but I toasted one under the grill every morning for breakfast for about 5 days and they were still divine - mmmm fluffy bread and gooey melted chocolate and peanut butter chips. *drool* 

All I can say is a MASSIVE thank you to Lorraine Elliott (I love her blog - for sharing this easy, never-fail recipe for home-made sweet buns.  For anyone who's been too scared to bake bread or work with yeast, this is an easy and delicious way to get started with facing that fear!

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