I admit that I’m a hot cross bun making novice. It never really occurred to me before now to make them myself (too much faff), but I have always eaten them. My Mum always used to buy the mini ones as soon as they appeared in the shops in January and would later stash them away in bulk in the freezer for when Easter was a distant memory. They were the perfect after school treat, or even an after dinner treat best enjoyed toasted and spread with a touch of good quality butter.
So here we are in 2016 making buns from scratch, but not just any old buns (this is Natural Kitchen Adventures after all), these are spelt chestnut hot cross buns! I’ve not used spelt on the blog before as it is not gluten free. Spelt is an ancient form of wheat, and the saying goes that some individuals who have a hard time with wheat, may be OK with spelt (for me personally I’m still not sure I know whether my body likes it or not but have found like any carbohydrate treat it is best for my digestion if they aren’t inhaled in gargantuan dosages). I can’t even describe how many times I see recipes that include spelt are labelled gluten or wheat free, it is simply not true.
Recently I have been making a lot of wholemeal spelt bread for guests at my yoga retreats with great success and this has gotten me used to working with spelt a lot. Spelt comes in white and wholemeal – I’d always choose the wholemeal wholegrain version for more nutrition. It produces a hearty nutty loaf with a great crust that is perfect for dipping in stew. Anyway, since spelt is wheat and therefore contains gluten it is much easier to work with in recipes that require stretch and use yeast as a raising agent. It is for this reason I thought that it would be much easier to make my novice buns with spelt than attempt a gluten free version with only a few days to go before easter! I have seen Nourish Everyday‘s tempting gluten free hot cross buns so maybe next year I’ll have time to try them too. I suspect the texture would be entirely different.
I’ve added chestnut flour to my dough because I love the taste, though I’ve also tried this recipe with 100% spelt and it worked just fine. Chestnut flour has a sweet taste IS gluten free and I’ve used it in many recipes here on my blog if you are interested in trying more (Castagnaccio my favourite). The dough was rather wetter when using chestnut dough, but the taste and texture was delightful! So much wholesome flavour!
There are so many schools of thought on making hot cross bun dough, how long and whether to do a first knead and even how long to prove the dough. Not helpful when you are searching for the definitive method! I used both Sharpham Park and Honestly Healthy spelt bun recipes as a guide, but think I’ve come up with something rather different.
Will you be making your own buns this easter?
- 230g wholemeal spelt flour
- 50g chestnut flour
- 25g rapadura or other unrefined sugar
- 5g fast active yeast
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp salt
- 50g butter
- 125mls milk (I used hemp milk)
- 1 medium egg
- 50g sultanas
- A few tbs of spelt flour, and tapioca flour mixed with milk till it forms a sticky runny paste
- 2 tbs St. Dalfour orange & ginger fruit spread
- 1 tbs warm water
- Place all the dry ingredients (spelt flour to salt) into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan on a low heat, and when fully melted add the hemp milk and egg. Stir well till combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and bring together into a dough. If the dough is too wet add a little more flour bit by bit. Fold in the sultanas then lightly knead the dough for a few minutes. Place in a bowl and cover with a tea towel before leaving to rise for 30mins-1hr.
- Divide the dough into 8 small buns and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover and allow to rise for another 30mins-1hr.
- Fifteen minutes before you are ready to cook pre-heat your oven to 200C, and make your crosses. Mix the spelt and tapioca flours into a gooey paste with the milk, and transfer to a small piping bag. Pipe the paste onto your buns to form a cross, then place the buns in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes or until browned on top, the buns should have hollow sounding tapped bottoms!
- When the buns are ready mix the fruit spread with the water and brush over the buns till they glisten. Divide them in half and spread with butter to serve!
Want more bunspiration? Here are some other recipes to try, some with some quite interesting stories and flavour combinations!!
- Hot Cross Cinnamon Buns by Supergolden Bakes
- Kavey’s Hot Multicultural Buns by Kavey Eats
- Choc Cross Buns by Tin & Thyme
- Hot Magden David Buns by Family Friends Food
- Banana Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns by Eats Amazing
- Coconut and Mango Hot Cross Buns by Recipes from a Pantry
- Cranberry and Lime Hot Cross Buns by Sew White
- Wholemeal Apple Hot Cross Buns by Fab Food 4 All
- Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns by The Hedge Combers
- Hot Cross Bun Mug Cake by Farmersgirl Kitchen