Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Vegan Sourdough Hot Cross Buns with Marzipan

Growing up Catholic, I learnt that Good Friday was a day of sorrow and sacrifice.  We went to church, followed the Stations of the Cross, and kissed the feet of the large statue of Jesus on the cross.  The light of the world went out.  At home we ate fish not meat.  The one bright aspect of the day was warm sticky buttered Hot Cross Buns.  Much has changed since my childhood.  However I like to spend Good Friday at home baking Hot Cross Buns.

If you look at my archives, you will see that I have been posting about Hot Cross Buns every year (with the exception of the year my daughter was born) since I started this blog in 2007.  I have a yeast version that I love.  Yet now that I am making sourdough regularly, I wanted to experiment more with the Sourdough Hot Cross Bun recipe I followed last year.

On my first go at baking hot cross buns this year, I made it vegan and added some wholemeal flour.  Other than that I followed the recipe from last year.  However I found I had been quite flexible with the times when I wrote out the recipe.  It seemed reasonable to test this by using the minimum timing.  I was pleased, and a little relieved, that it worked.  One batch was not enough and I needed another go at piping crosses.  You can see that the above ones cover almost all of the buns.

When I started on the next batch, I had a block of marzipan in anticipation of baking Marzipan Easter egg cupcakes.  The idea of adding the marzipan to the dough appealed greatly.  After all this is a recipe with minimal kneading so I thought the chunks might remain in the final buns.

I reduced the dried fruit (from 275g) and the sugar (from 50g).  Unlike the first batch, I let this one sit for a couple of hours though the minimum was an hour.  I allowed myself to just forget the dough when I was busy.  (And I was baking soup. cupcakes and easter egg chicks during the day!)

It was quite a moist dough that needed a sprinkling of flour every time I kneaded it.  Now that I have been making Celia's overnight sourdough bread regularly and kneading it briefly in the bowl, I was lazy and kneaded the hot cross bun dough in the bowl rather than taking it out.

The second batch of hot cross buns were so much better than the first.  They were fluffy and soft and even seemed taller.  Disconcertingly the marzipan was not discernible in the buns.  There were no little nuggets of the stuff.  Nor was there that lovely intense almond aroma about them.  Yet I like to think that the marzipan is a lot of the reason they were so good.

And I also made an effort to pipe thinner crosses.  As I have noted before, I love a bit of thick chewy cross, so I never make them pencil-thin.  It gives me great satisfaction to pipe lovely white ribbons of water and flour over the uncooked buns.  I was a little disappointed at first that they were golden rather than white when they came out of the oven.  Then I was easy on them and began to love the golden crosses.

It just doesn't seem like Easter without Hot Cross Buns about.  While I am mighty fond of chocolate, I sometimes think I would prefer a good fresh bread if given the option.  At Easter, Hot Cross Buns easily trump Easter eggs with their cheap chocolate.  The main problem about the former is that I love them so much I have to try and exercise restraint for fear of looking just like a little round HCB (as we call them in my family).  My other problem was that it took all day to bake these sourdough buns.  If I had time to experiment more I would like to try a recipe where the dough sits overnight like my regular sourdough bread. 

My last problem with Hot Cross Buns is that it is hard to justify making too many of these sticky dense buns.  After two batches, with many in the freezer, I am hanging up my HCB apron for this year, despite wishing to experiment a little more.  My mum has made an impressive eight batches of HCBs this year.  I will need to wait for next year to experiment further.  I am looking forward to it.

I am sending these Hot Cross Buns to  Susan's YeastSpotting, a long running event, and to Jen and Michelle's Bready Steady Go a new yeasty event that has risen out of the retired Fresh From the Oven event.

Previous hot cross buns on Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Some interesting hot cross bun recipes from elsewhere online:

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns with Marzipan
Original recipe by Green Gourmet Giraffe (tweaked from here)
Makes 16 to 20 buns

Buns:
400g starter (100% hydration)
200g mixed fruit
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
30g brown sugar
250ml soy milk, room temperature
100g vegan margarine, room temperature
1 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp water
350g white bread flour
150g wholemeal flour
25g tapioca flour
25g cornflour (cornstarch)
160g marzipan 
2 tsp salt

Crosses:
1 cup  plain flour
3/4 cup water

Glaze:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup castor sugar
1 tsp mixed spice

Put all ingredients into bowl except salt
Rest covered for 30 minutes.
Stir in salt. 

Rest covered for 10 minutes (or up to 2 hours)
Knead 15 seconds.
Rest covered for 10 minutes
Knead 15 seconds.
Rest covered for 10 minutes
Knead 15 seconds.
Rest covered for 1 hour (or up to 4 hours)
Stretch and fold (or knead 15 minutes)
Cover and rest 1 hour (or up to 2 hours)

Divide and roll dough into 20 balls.  Place in baking tray.
Cover and rest 1 hour (up to 3 hours)
Preheat oven to 220 C half an hour before baking.
Mix flour and water for crosses to make a paste.
Spoon paste into ziplock bag and snip tiny piece of corner.
Pipe paste over buns to make crosses (I like thick).

Bake 20 to 35 minutes until golden brown and hollow when tapped.
Five minutes before buns cooked, simmer glaze without stirring for 5 minutes.
Place buns on a teatowel on a wire rack, crosses up.
Brush ALL glaze on hot buns.  It will take a lot of brushing.
Cool at least 1 hour before eating.
Can reheat at 180 C for 10 to 15 minutes.

On the Stereo:
Countdown 40th Anniversary: Various Artists

24 comments:

  1. I've never in my life made Hot Cross Buns, should give it a go one year. Like you I'd rather prefer bread than chocolate any day. And you give me a nudge and remind me of Celia's dough starter, I haven't even looked at it since its arrival and feel guilty.

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    1. Thanks shaheen - I love chocolate but there is something so amazing about fresh bread. Hope you find some time to get onto the starter - the overnight sourdough recipe is great - two friends who hadn't baked sourdough have started using it and love it. But it takes a bit of headspace to start sourdough - took me years to get to it.

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  2. Hi Johanna:)
    I hope you and your family enjoyed a Joyous Easter. It sounds like we pretty much celebrated the Easter season the same as children. Good Friday was always a solemn day at our house too. But, we always had Hot Cross Buns:) I love the notion of make them vegan and using sourdough starter. How interesting...I'm glad to hear you are enjoying going the sourdough route. I never knew how versatile it was.

    Of course both your batches of Hot Cross Buns look lovely. However, I am more than intrigued by the thought of adding marzipan:)

    Thanks for sharing, Johanna...

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    1. Thanks Louise - the solemnity of Good Friday and the joy of hot cross buns are an odd combination but totally together in my memory. Sourdough seems to be able to do anything - love the stuff. And I love marzipan though it would be healthier to make my own which I have done with rice syrup as the bought stuff is quite sweet

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  3. hope you and yours had a blessed Easter! These look just delightful!

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  4. Those look truly amazing - I really cannot eat enough marzipan at any time of the year, and hot cross buns are always a joy. Sadly there are few ready made vegan ones around, so this is a gentle prod to make my own!

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    1. Thanks Joey - marzipan was a christmas thing for us but as I don't make that sort of christmas cake it just comes into my house too rarely and when it does I wonder why not eat it more! I have been pretty happy with my experience of veganising hot cross buns - after all most bread is vegan with eggs really just there for a little added richness.

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  5. These look incredible! Love the marzipan!! I didn't get around to making any this year, but you've done a great job :)

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  6. The second batch look good Johanna! And apparently marzipan is one of the secret ingredients to really delicious baked goods!

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - well there is another reason to use more marzipan in baking!

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  7. Hot cross buns with marzipan! So great. I also remember good friday and ash wednesday. All these things seem so distant now as I don't consider myself a catholic anymore (well I guess once catholic always catholic is true here and it still seems weird to say that I am not). But I still wouln't say no to a fresh batch of hot cross buns, especially since they are not a thing here and I really want to try them.

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    1. Thanks Mihl - I know what you mean - catholicism gets under your skin which I think is why we have the term "lapsed catholics". Hope you make the hot cross buns one of these days - but I think it is easier when it is a tradition you are used to - my mum used to make them and I would help her so it is just part of what I am used to

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  8. I attempted kneading marzipan into my dough this year as well and was disappointed that it disappeared too. I don't really have any experience of sourdough baking though it looks like it makes good buns. Thanks for joining in with Bready Steady Go :)

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    1. Thanks Jen - I hope the marzipan made your dough as good as mine - though I worried you couldn't detect it because there are so many nut allergies about. Highly recommend you try some sourdough baking at some stage - it is great

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  9. I'm with you on chocolate v bread. I love good bread. I did mean to make some hot cross buns this year, but didn't get round to it. I may just do it late anyway. :)

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    1. Thanks Quinces and Kale - we are still eating our hot cross buns from the freezer - It think it is better to be late than early with making them :-)

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  10. this was the year I was supposed to DEFINITELY make HCB (ha, we call them hot cross bums in my family!) and of course I didn't. But Orthodox Easter is this Sunday so technically I still have time :P Your marzipan HCBs look amazing! I don't like marzipan straight up but mixed with other stuff is fine!

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    1. Thanks Faye - ha ha - hot cross bums! You definitely have a good reason to make HCBs for this weekend - and you could make these hot cross buns with or without the marzipan - I tried it both ways but without them I would add more dried fruit. Or for that matter you could add marzipan to yeast hot cross buns

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  11. I would like to start the day with these and then progress to the cupcakes of your last post :D Like Veganopoulos, I don't love marzipan plain but have acquired a real taste for it mixed with other things.

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    1. Thanks Kari - marzipan is incredible sweet plain - well this one was (the one I made years ago with rice syrup was more bearable) so I think it is best added to baking. I like you idea of a day of munching on marzipan bakes!

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  12. These sound delicious! I haven't tried baking with sourdough yet but it is on my list of things to try. I just made rolls full of marzipan too, one of my favourite flavours.

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    1. Thanks Lucy - rolls full of marzipan sound great - are they scrolls - that would be good

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  13. I LOVE the addition of marzipan in the buns. I will definitely be trying that.... They sound as though they were ultimately successful and quite delicious! Well done... And thank you for the link..... I really appreciate it.
    I too have tons of (experimental) buns in the freezer.... I am now trying to think of creative ways to use them up!

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  14. I never grew up with these... to be honest, I don't think I've ever had a hot cross bun. Yours look so good I could just eat them right off of my computer screen ;p

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