Like all the recipes in this book, the one for the brioche dough for these buns is very precise. There’s a page devoted to brioche with four variations one of which is brioche for hot cross buns. In the ingredient list, you’ll find 186 grams or one-half cup plus three and a half tablespoons of eggs and 167 grams or 5.8 ounces of butter. I broke eggs into a measuring pitcher and determined that three of the size of eggs I had that day was close enough, and just under eight tablespoons of butter is pretty much 5.8 ounces. Weighing flour, yeast, sugar, and salt and measuring milk was easy enough. The rich brioche was made in a stand mixer, and the recipe suggests a rather long mixing time for the ingredients before the butter was added. I left the machine turning until it really seemed like it had been quite long enough, and then I started adding pieces of butter. I was sure there was more butter than dough, but eventually, it was all incorporated. Dried currants and cranberries were plumped in boiling water for a few minutes before being drained and dried, and then they were spread into a layer on the dough which had been stretched into a rectangle. The dough was folded up and around the dried fruit, and it was placed in a bowl to rise for 45 minutes. The stretching and folding of the dough was repeated, and it was placed back in the bowl for another 45 minutes. After the second rise, the dough was divided into twelve rolls which were placed on a baking sheet, brushed with egg wash, covered with plastic wrap, and left to rise for an hour. Rich, buttery dough like this does need lots of time to rise. Before baking, the buns were brushed with egg wash again. They baked for about 30 minutes and were left to cool. The icing was made with confectioners’ sugar, a bit of cinnamon and cardamom, and just a dribble or two of milk. Thick stripes were piped across the buns.
I snickered a little at the precision of the recipe, but I can't argue with the results. Unlike my first foray into hot cross buns, this is a version I’ll make again. And, I’ll happily, meticulously measure my eggs and butter for lots of other things from this book too.
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