Hello, hello, hello! And a happy first day of the Easter long weekend to all! Personally, I have been looking forward to this four day break for a very, very long time, in order to try out a whole plethora of new recipes for my blog, as well as to catch up on some much needed sleep! But of course the first recipe I would have to try would be hot cross buns, made for scratch, and made to be allergy friendly. In previous years I haven’t really had the confidence to try these, as it meant tangling with the yeast beast, and I wasn’t at that stage as experienced with gluten free baking as I am now. But because it’s the long weekend, and the first recipe I picked only made six buns, I decided to up the ante and try two hot cross bun recipes and see how each went.
Recently, I’ve had a lot more of a chance to experience using yeast. I’ve learned that there are several kinds of it, and most of them aren’t gluten free. I have since discovered the brand of dry yeast I have the most access to, Tandaco, is gluten free and not all that expensive either! So that’s been excellent. I’ve also been trying out different methods of creating warm places for dough to rise, as it’s been quite a bit chillier here lately. My preference is to heat up a cup of water in the microwave, and then to pop the bowl of dough in there with the cup. It creates a nice warm environment, and it doesn’t seem to dry the dough out either. But I’m interested to hear what other people do!
I have also recently come to appreciate xanthum gum. Previously recipes using it had such an unpleasant texture that it put me off, and too much of it upsets my dad’s stomach. But having used it in the cream puffs, I’ve realised it’s just an ingredient I need to be able to balance to prevent it giving things a glue-like texture, and in moderation it’s something we can all eat in my house.
Free-From Heaven Magazine’s 2016 Edition
Hot Cross Buns
Makes: 6, Prep: 25 mins + proving time, Cook: 10-15 mins
- 150g non-wheaten cornflour
- 100g brown rice flour
- 11⁄2 tsp dried yeast (I used Tandaco)
- 1⁄2 tsp xantham gum
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 1⁄2 tbsp sugar
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 180ml tepid water
- 50g soft vegan margarine (I used Nuttelex)
- 100g raisins
- 1⁄2 tbsp chopped candied peel (Optional)
- 4 tbsp rice flour
- 11⁄2 tsp cornflour
- a pinch of xanthan gum
- 11⁄2 tbsp sugar
- Up to 3 1⁄2 tbsp water
- 3-4 tbsp golden syrup, warmed
- For the buns, preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- Place the flours, yeast, xantham gum, spices, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- Add the 180ml water and the margarine and mix until the consistency of a thick, somewhat dry cake mixture.
- Stir in the raisins and peel, if using.
- Cover the bowl with cling wrap and put it in a warm place and leave for 10 minutes until the mixture is slightly swollen. (I popped mine in front of the oven, which was nice and warm, but other people recommend putting it on top of the fridge, etc.)
- For the crosses, put the rice flour, cornflour, sugar and xantham gum into a bowl and whisk in enough water to make a paste. (I used 3 1⁄2 tbsp.) Then pop the mixture into a ziplock bag and snip a very small part of the corner off. This is your piping bag.
- Now the original recipe recommends placing spoonfuls of the dough mixture onto the baking tray, but I found this made their shapes too uneven. So I recommend using some sort of large scoop, or even very, very lightly flouring or greasing your hands and shaping them into something rounder and smoother.
- Pipe the cross paste on top of each bun.
- Leave to prove for another 5 minutes.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until the tops are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base.
- Brush the warm syrup over the tops of the buns.