No-Knead Batter Rolls

How to make easy, no knead batter rolls

When I posted the no-knead English Muffin batter bread recipe last week, I was poking thru my archives to find my recipe for no-knead batter rolls, and much to my surprise, I realized I never posted it.

Weird.

I suppose it’s possible that it’s just hiding super well, skulking around in the shadows of the archives, but I kind of doubt it.

how to make no knead rolls

Anyway, I thought this should be rectified, so I mixed up a batch on two separate days for photographing purposes, and my kids were highly gratified.

Like the English Muffin bread batter, this soft dough/batter just needs to be mixed well (a stand mixer is super helpful), and then left to rise…no kneading necessary!

And the resulting rolls are soft and delicious.

buttered batter roll

You can’t make them into fancy shapes like you can with regular roll dough, but if you’re content with a muffin-tin-shaped roll and want something quick and easy, these are the ticket.

So.

First, you combine the yeast and flour in your mixer bowl.

combine yeast and flour

Next, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt to 120° F.  I just do this right in the measuring cup for pouring ease and to save a dish.

heat liquids for roll dough

Pour the liquids into the flour mixture and mix on low speed.  Add an egg, and beat for about 3 minutes.  The dough is definitely more like batter at this point.

batter for rolls

Then stir in the remaining flour and beat the dough on low speed for two minutes.  The dough will still be more on the batter-ish side of things, which is as it should be.

Worry not!

batter roll dough

Scrape the dough from the beater, cover the bowl with a wet tea towel, and let it rise for an hour.

cover wet dough with tea towel

Prepare your muffin tins by greasing the cups with butter. Alternatively, you can use cooking spray or whatever is your grease of choice.

But butter tastes best.

Obviously.

The recipe makes about 1.5 dozen rolls, so you’ll want to grease a pan and a half.

grease muffin tin with butter

(Do you like how I faithfully slave over my muffin tin to keep it pristine and shiny?? Impressive, I know.)

Your risen dough will still be pretty goopy, but will be a little more stretchy after its rise.

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Use a metal spoon to stir the dough down a bit, and then scoop the dough into the greased cups. Your muffin cups will probably be a little sloppy looking, which is ok.

batter rolls ready to rise

Cover the tins with a wet tea towel and leave them to rise for about 30 minutes, at which point the cups should look pretty full.

batter rolls ready to rise

You want the oven to be already hot by the time the rolls are done rising, so start the preheating process when the rolls are about 10 minutes from the end of their rising time.

(A hot oven helps your rolls to rise and brown properly.)

Your rolls should be done baking in about 12-15 minutes, but since pans and ovens vary, just keep an eye on them.

Once the rolls are done, remove them from the pan (this should be easy if you greased well) and place them on a wire rack.

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These are at their most fabulous if you eat them right away, hot from the oven.

cool rolls on wire rack

But no one here has ever complained about eating the few that are leftover.  ;)

No-Knead Batter Rolls

Printable No-Knead Batter Roll Recipe

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour (Gold Medal unbleached is my favorite)
1 pkg. (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt (I use a slightly heaping teaspoon)
1 egg

In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast.

Combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt, and heat to 120° F.

Add liquids to dry ingredients in mixer bowl; beat to combine. Add egg and beat 3 minutes at high speed.

At low speed, beat in the remaining flour to make a soft dough; beat on low for two minutes.

Use a rubber spatula to scrape dough off beaters, then cover bowl with a wet tea towel and let dough rise for an hour.

Grease 18 muffin cups with butter. Use a metal spoon to stir dough down, then spoon dough evenly into 18 muffin cups.

Cover pans with wet tea towel; let rise 30 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 400°F oven until lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes.

Remove rolls from pan and place on wire rack to cool (or serve immediately!)

(This recipe is a modified version of the batter roll recipe found in my 1973 Better Homes and Gardens bread book.)

English Muffin Bread (aka a very, very easy bread recipe)

How to make no-knead English muffin bread

Kneading is probably the number one thing that discourages people from making bread.  I did write a “How to knead” post, but in case you are still terrified of kneading, I have a recipe that requires no such thing!

In addition, it only needs to rise one time, so it’s a good first yeast bread recipe to try.

Totally not-scary.

You will need a stand mixer, though, because this recipe uses the mixer’s strength in place of kneading.

(I have the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer and it is marvelous.  Highly recommend it.)

Like English muffins, this bread has a somewhat hole-y texture, and it’s at its best when toasted.

sliced English muffin bread

And of course, butter and jam elevate it to heavenly levels.

jam and butter on toast

Here’s how to make some for yourself.

English Muffin Bread

Printable English Muffin Bread Recipe

6 cups all-purpose flour (You can use half whole-wheat if you prefer.)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 packages (4.5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
cornmeal for dusting pans

Combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour with the yeast, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a mixer bowl.

dry ingredients for english muffin bread

Heat liquids to 120-125 °F (I do this in the microwave).

Add warm liquids to dry ingredients in mixer bowl, and mix for 2 minutes.

It will be rather runny at this point.
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Add remaining flour and beat for two minutes. The dough will be quite thick.

english muffin dough

Spray two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pans with nonstick spray and then sprinkle with cornmeal.

You can use 9×5 inch bread pans, but your loaves will be flatter and a little less attractive.  Still tasty, though!

grease pan and sprinkle with cornmeal

I do this the same way that I grease and flour a cake pan…I put the cornmeal in and tilt and shake the pan until it’s evenly covered.

My recipe says to pour the dough into the pans, but this dough is so thick, pouring is an impossiblity!

I usually try to roughly divide it in two using a metal spoon, but I normally get it wrong and have to take some dough from one pan and put it in the other.

spoon dough into pan

I smooth the dough out a bit with wet fingertips, but you don’t have to worry about it being pristinely neat…the lumps and bumps will straighten themselves out as the dough rises.

You do want the pans to have relatively equal amounts of dough, though, or the loaves will need different baking times.

english muffin bread ready to rise

Cover with a wet tea towel (the type of towel that is not fluffy) and let it rise in a warm place for an hour.

dough covered with wet tea towel

After rising for an hour, it should look like this.

risen English muffin bread

Bake the risen loaves in a preheated 350°F degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Turn the loaves out of the pans and cool on a wire rack.

Here’s what the finished product should look like.

baked no knead English muffin bread

And here’s the inside texture.

sliced English muffin bread

Because this dough has very little fat and sugar (which are preserving agents), it will only stay fresh for a day or two on the countertop.

toast with raspberry jam

It freezes well, though, so eat one loaf and freeze the other, because if you need a little something to go with dinner on a busy night, it’s awfully handy to have a loaf waiting for you in the freezer.

If you have a small household, another option is to cut the loaves in half and freeze each half individually. That way you only have a half loaf to contend with each time.

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P.S. My favorite bread pans, cooling rack, and mixer are listed in this post.

P.P.S. In case you missed it, here’s the Printable English Muffin Bread Recipe.

Amazon links are affiliate links.

How to make Yeasted Banana Bread

How to make banana yeast bread

Banana bread is no stranger to most of us, but somewhere around 99.99% of banana bread recipes turn out quick breads (breads leavened with baking powder or baking soda rather than yeast).

I love banana quick breads and muffins, to be sure, but sometimes it’s a little fun to shake things up and make a yeast bread with overripe bananas.

Plus, this bread is kind of a looker.

yeasted banana bread

Aaand if you prefer a lighter, less-sweet banana bread, this will be right up your alley…it’s more like bread and less like cake.

I used to make this when I was a teenager, and the recipe comes from my beloved 1970s Better Homes and Gardens bread cookbook.  I’d sort of forgotten about it until I ended up with 10 super ripe bananas recently, so I decided this was a good time to dust off the recipe!

To start, you’ll need to mash some overly ripe bananas.

You can do this in a food processor, but because I am too lazy to get it out and wash it, I just use a potato masher.

mashed bananas

I never get the bananas as fine as the food processor does, but this seems to have no ill effect on the end product.

Easy for the win!

You’ll also need to combine the milk, sugar, butter, and salt and heat it to around 120° F.  The microwave is super convenient for this and I do it right in the measuring cup.

hot milk for bread dough

Combine 2 cups of the flour with the dry yeast.

active dry yeast with flour

Mix the yeast and flour together.  Then you’ll pour in the milk mixture and add the bananas, an egg, and an egg yolk.

(We’re reserving one white for glazing the loaves later.)

eggs for banana bread

At this point, the dough will be a lot more like batter and you’ll beat it on medium speed for about 3 minutes.

banana bread batter

Now you’re going to add in as much of the remaining flour as necessary to make a kneadable dough.

I like my dough to be fairly soft when I start to knead it, but you can make yours a little stiffer than mine if you like.

bread dough ready to knead

Here’s what it’ll look like when you dump it out.

bread dough before kneading

And once you knead it, it should look more like this.  See how it’s still soft enough to sort of flatten out a bit on the counter?

kneaded bread dough

That’s good because when dough is very stiff, the yeast bubbles have a hard time lifting it, and the result is heavy bread.

Softer dough will rise up beautifully, though.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with a wet tea towel, and leave it to rise for an hour.

Once it’s done rising, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and divide it in half.

divide bread dough

Then you’ll want to make each half into a round loaf.  I do this by pulling the outer edges around so that there’s a smooth surface on the top and sort of an ugly mess on the bottom, like so.

bottom of banana bread loaf

It takes a little bit of practice to do this easily, especially with a ball of dough this size, but it’s the best way I’ve found to make nice smooth yeast dough balls for loaves, buns, or rolls.

Place each loaf onto a greased baking sheet.  You could try to fit two on one sheet, but I think it’s too crowded that way.

Cover each loaf with a wet tea towel and let the loaves rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F about ten minutes before the rising time is up so the oven is nice and hot when your bread is ready to bake.

Then whisk an egg white together with a teaspoon of water.  Brushing this over the unbaked loaves will help them develop a beautiful sheen while they bake.

egg white wash for bread

Brush over the whole loaf, and then use a knife to make slashes on the loaf, like so:

slash risen bread dough

I find that a knife with really shallow serrations works great for a task like this.

Pop your loaf into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, then remove loaf to a wire rack to cool.

(And put your other loaf in the oven to bake!)

yeasted round banana bread

Then slice, butter, and enjoy.

banana yeast bread

Since the recipe makes two loaves, and since it has no preservatives, you’ll probably want to freeze one so that it doesn’t dry out before you get to it.

If you have a small family, try cutting the loaves in half and freezing each half separately.  That way you can defrost just one half at a time.

Yeasted Banana Bread

Printable Yeasted Banana Bread Recipe
makes 2 round loaves

5.5-6 cups all purpose flour (Gold Medal Unbleached is the BEST)
2 pkg. active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
2 ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
2 eggs

In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast with 2 cups of the flour.

In a measuring cup, combine the milk, sugar, butter, and salt, and heat to 115°F.

With the mixer running, add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Then add mashed bananas, 1 egg, and 1 egg yolk (reserve the white for brushing over the loaves.)

Beat at low speed until combined, then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft, but kneadable dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 3-5 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough in bowl, cover with wet tea towel, place in a warm spot and let rise for 1 hour.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface, divide in half, and shape each half into a round loaf. Place each loaf on a greased baking sheet. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise til double (30-45 minutes).

Use a knife with shallow serrations to make slashes around the loaf as shown in the photos. Beat egg white with 1 teaspoon water; brush over loaves.

Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to cool on a wire rack, and place second loaf in oven to bake.

Grandma’s Homemade Cinnamon (or Apricot) Sweet Rolls

apricot sweet rolls

Back in June, I posted a photo of some homemade cinnamon rolls on Instagram (I’m thefrugalgirl there if you want to follow me!), and many of you requested that I share the recipe.

I’d only made the cinnamon version that day, though, and I wanted to wait until I made an apricot batch too so that I could show you both varieties.

grandma's homemade cinnamon rolls

I’ve shared an overnight cinnamon roll recipe here before, but these rolls are free-form (the shaping method is quite different) and they bake on a sheet instead of in a 9×13 pan.

I can’t really say that one is better than the other, as both varieties are really delicious.  You should probably make both kinds and decide for yourself.  ;)

The dough for these rolls is the same dough I use to make my bread bears, which I shared here back in 2010.

It’s my grandma’s recipe, and these particular sweet rolls are pretty nostalgic to me because every summer when we visited my grandparents in their small midwestern town, my grandma always had multiple baking sheets filled with these rolls.

Every morning, she’d heat some up in her oven (she was quite against microwaves, and besides, an oven does make a lot of sense for heating larger quantities) and serve them for breakfast.

So, the smell of these (along with the smell of coffee) just screams grandma to me.

grandma's handwritten sweet roll recipe

There’s all kinds of happy tied up in these.

And I hope that even though these lack nostalgia for you, they’ll still prove a delightful addition to your baking repertoire.

I posted some step-by-step photos of the dough-making process in the bear bread recipe, so I’ll just refer you there if you need help with the dough.

To make cinnamon rolls:

Once your batch of dough has risen for an hour, turn it out onto a counter and divide it in half.  Roll one half into a rectangle, and spread with softened butter, like so.

sweet roll dough spread with butter

Then sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar.  My grandma was quite non-specific about quantities, and honestly, there’s a fair bit of leeway here.  When you make cinnamon bread, too much butter and cinnamon can make your bread fall, but this is pretty much never a problem with rolls.

As long as it’s fairly thoroughly covered, you should be good.

IMG_2137

Now take a pizza cutter and divide the dough into strips.  Again, you don’t need to be super precise.

sweet roll dough cut into strips

It looks like I cut these the long way, but it’s just a wonky perspective.  Cut them the short way!

Twist each dough strip and then coil it into a neat bun.

how to twist sweet roll dough

The dough strips stretch as you do this, which makes it tempting to fold them in half like this:

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But if you do that, less sugary surface area will be exposed during the baking process, and the resulting rolls won’t be quite as good.

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Let the rolls rise for about 30 minutes, and then bake them in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  This baking time can vary depending on the thickness of your baking sheets, so keep an eye on them until you’re familiar with what works.  If you have thin sheets, 10 minutes will be good, but thick sheets like the Vollrath ones I own will require more time.

Remove the baked rolls to a wire rack to cool.

These are good on their own, but are even better with frosting.

frosting a cinnamon roll

My grandma was again very non-specific with her frosting directions. She just says to mix powdered sugar, a little butter, some half and half, and some vanilla.

And honestly, I do usually wing it.  ;)

But it’s probably something like a tablespoon of butter, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, two tablespoons of half and half or milk, and then enough powdered sugar to make the consistency right for spreading.

To make apricot sweet rolls:

The process for these is quite similar, but you’ll need to make the apricot filling first.

It’s pretty simple.  Just take an 8 oz. package of dried apricots (apricots are available at Aldi, and they are SO much more affordable there), put ’em in a pan and cover them with water.

Bring them to a boil and cook them for about 20 minutes, or until they’re really soft and most of the water is absorbed.

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At first you will think this is waaay too much water, but fear not!  The apricots will absorb it all.

Do keep an eye on them because they can burn if the water level gets too low.  Add more water if necessary.

Put the cooked apricots into a food processor, and process until smooth.  My grandma said to add a cup of sugar, but I usually don’t think a whole cup is necessary.

Now, roll out half of the sweet roll dough, butter it, and sugar it (no cinnamon this time, unless you really want it!)

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Cut the dough into strips.

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Twist the strips up and coil them into a bun shape.  Again, resist the urge to fold them in half.  You want the sugary sides exposed!

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Place them on a greased baking sheet and let them rise about 30 minutes.

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Bake them in a preheated 350° F oven for about 8 minutes, or JUST until they’re slightly brown, like this:

underbaked sweet rolls

Take them out of the oven, put a little dollop of apricot filling in the center of each, and place them back in the oven to bake for a few more minutes, until they’re golden brown.

apricot sweet rolls

Remove the baked rolls to a wire rack to cool.

(info on my baking sheets and cooling racks can be found right here, on my work-in-progress kitchen equipment page.)

Cinnamon (or Apricot) Sweet Rolls

(I’ll add a printable later today, promise!)

2 pkg. (4.5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (8 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
about 6.5 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water. Heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt to 110 degrees F. Add to dissolved yeast along with eggs and 3 cups of flour. Beat for 3 minutes on medium speed (or stir thoroughly by hand). Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl, cover with a wet tea towel, and let rise 1 hour.

Punch dough down and divide in half.

To make cinnamon rolls:

Roll each dough half out into a rectangle.  Spread with softened butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.  Cut dough into strips the short way.  Twist each strip, coil into a bun shape, and place on greased baking sheet.

Let rise until double (about 30 minutes) and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Frost with a mixture of about 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons half and half or milk, and enough powdered sugar to provide proper consistency.

To make apricot rolls:

Place 8 oz. dried apricots into a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and gently simmer for 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and apricots are soft.  Process apricots in food processor until smooth.  Add up to 1 cup sugar and process until combined.

Roll each dough half into a rectangle.  Spread with softened butter and sprinkle generously with sugar.  Cut dough into strips the short way.  Twist each strip, coil into a bun shape, and place on greased baking sheet.

Let rise until double (about 30 minutes) and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and spoon a dollop of apricot filling in the middle of each roll.  Return to oven and bake a few more minutes, until nicely browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

How to make fluffy homemade hamburger buns

How to Make Fluffy Homemade Hamburger Buns

Several years ago, I posted a recipe for homemade hamburger buns, but of late, I’ve been slightly modifying the dough from my honey-glazed rolls to make buns because I think they’re slightly fluffier and more delicious.

In fact, these are so good, I might almost prefer one over a doughnut.

fluffy homemade hamburger bun

Seriously delicious.

They’re good for hamburgers of course, but also work very well for BBQ beef or sloppy joes or lunch meat sandwiches.

And they’re awfully good just toasted with butter and jam.

In fact, fresh from the oven, they’re delicious all by themselves!

This is all you’ll need.  It’s kind of surprising how little bread requires, isn’t it??

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Just a few ingredients and somehow, they turn into a pile of buns.

This is why homemade bread can beat the price of even super-duper cheap bread.

baked homemade hamburger buns

I’m going to give you a recipe for 24 buns, because while you’re at it, you might as well make a bunch. If you don’t eat them in a few days like we do, you can always freeze some for later.

Feel free to halve the recipe, though, if 24 buns is way too many for you!

So, in a mixer bowl, combine 3 cups of flour and two packages of yeast (that’s 4.5 teaspoons.)

adding the yeast

Then heat together your milk, fat, sweetener, and salt until it reaches 120° F.

You can use whatever kind of fat you prefer…butter is the tastiest, but vegetable oils work fine too (if you use coconut oil, use the refined kind so your buns don’t taste super tropical!).

You can also vary the sweetener. Sugar works, but so does honey.

heated milk for hamburger buns

Add the hot liquids to the flour/yeast and beat for two minutes.  This will make a really thin batter.

thin yeast dough batter

Next, add two eggs, and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough (the recipe calls for 7 cups total and at this point I’d added a little shy of six cups.)

soft yeast dough

Don’t err on the side of adding too much flour-this is probably the most common mistake beginning bakers make.  Tough yeast dough won’t rise well because the yeast isn’t strong enough to push against really stiff dough.

Tough dough is the enemy of fluffiness.

Flour your counter and dump the dough out.

dough ready to knead

FYI, I could have made this dough a hair stiffer than I did.  If you’re new to kneading, you might want to add just a bit more flour than this before you knead or you’ll have difficulty handling the dough.

A bench knife/dough scraper makes the process way easier. Mine is almost exactly like this one, which sells for $5.99.

dough scraper

To start the kneading off, I run the dough scraper around the edge of the dough, folding the floury edges into the middle.

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Once I do that, the dough is usually quite manageable.  I knead my dough for about three minutes or so, only adding flour to the underside/outside of the dough, never to the middle.

It should look something like this when you’re done.  See how it flattens out a bit?  Your dough should be soft enough to do that.  If it stays in a tall round ball, it’s too stiff.

dough after kneading

You should need right about 7 cups of flour, with a little extra for dusting the counter.  However, the amount of flour you need will depend a bit on the humidity levels in your home, so if you need to use a little more or a little less, don’t worry about it.  Yeast baking isn’t terribly exact when it comes to flour.

Put the dough back into the mixing bowl (I don’t bother washing mine!) and cover it with a wet tea towel.

cover bread dough with a tea towel

Let it rise in a warm place for an hour.

risen bread dough

Once it’s risen, punch it down, turn it out onto the counter, and divide it into 24 pieces.

dividing bread dough

Shape each pieces into a ball, and then flatten the ball slightly.

To shape my dough into balls, I place a piece of dough in my hand and pull the outer edges to the middle.

You can sort of see how I did that if you look at the third dough piece in the picture below.

shaping hamburger rolls

From left to right, there’s a piece of unshaped dough, the top of a shaped ball, the bottom of a shaped ball, and a flattened dough ball.

Place the buns onto two greased baking sheets (I have two Vollrath baking sheets, and I totally dig them.  So incredibly sturdy.)

homemade hamburger buns ready to rise

I do cover my dough with a towel in other circumstances, but sometimes, the towel can stick to small items like buns, so I like to put these into my oven, uncovered, with a bowl of steaming water below them.  This keeps the air warm and moist, which is the point of the tea towel anyway.

how to keep rising dough warm

This also is a handy way to give your dough a warm place to rise during the winter, when the air in your house is a little on the cool side.

The buns will probably take about 45 minutes to rise, although if you’re making them in the summer, they could be done rising in as little as 30 minutes.  It all depends how warm the air is.

They should look like this when they’re done rising, though.

risen hamburger buns

About 10 minutes before the buns are done rising (take them out of the oven first!!!), preheat your oven to 350°F.  Once the oven is hot, bake the buns for 13-15 minutes, or until they’re nicely browned.

Remove them to a wire rack to cool.

On wire racks: I used to own two cheap and terrible racks, but I now own two of these Professional Cross Wire Cooling Racks.  I love them because they should last forever and because they fit perfectly in my half-sheet pans. And the cross-hatch pattern of the wires means nothing can sag between them.

baked homemade hamburger buns

Here’s what the inside of a roll should look like…soft and fluffy.

fluffy homemade hamburger bun

Fluffy Homemade Hamburger Buns

Printable Homemade Hamburger Buns Recipe

7 cups all purpose flour (my favorite is Gold Medal Unbleached)
4.5 teaspoons (two packages) active dry yeast (I buy mine in bulk at Costco)
3 cups milk
1/2 cup butter or vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar or honey
3 teaspoons salt
2 eggs

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 3 cups of flour with the yeast.  In a separate bowl, combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt, and heat (stovetop or microwave) to 120°F.

Add hot liquids to flour/yeast mixture and beat for 2 minutes.  Add eggs and mix to combine.  Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes.  Place dough in bowl, cover with wet tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for one hour, or until doubled in size.

Turn dough out on to floured surface and divide into 24 pieces.  Shape each into a ball and flatten slightly.  Place on greased baking sheets; cover baking sheets or place into oven with a bowl of warm water below.  Let rise 30-60 minutes or until doubled in size.

Remove rising buns from the oven and preheat oven to 350° F.  Bake buns, one sheet at a time, for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.

How to make homemade Hot Cross Buns

Until recently, I’d never eaten a hot cross bun. If you live in England, I know that’s probably unthinkable, but here in the United States, hot cross buns aren’t terribly common.

But a recent grocery store ad had them on the front page, and I suddenly got the urge to make a batch.

If you’re interested in the history of hot cross buns, you can read this article from The Guardian, but if you just want to know how to make them, read on!

I poked around in several of my cookbooks to find a recipe and settled on one from my 1970s Better Homes and Gardens bread cookbook. I seriously adore that book, people. You should totally go buy a used copy on Ebay or Half.com

Ok! The dough starts with flour, yeast, salt, and some spices. I opted to put cardamom and cinnamon in, but a lot of other recipes I saw called for things like saffron, ginger, and nutmeg.

Do whatever floats your boat, I say.

Next, combine the milk, oil, sugar, and salt, and heat to 125° F. You can do this on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, add the eggs, and beat for 3 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, just stir the dough really well by hand.

Stir in raisins and enough additional flour to make a soft, kneadable dough. Incidentally, the recipe called for currants, but I had none and figured raisins would be an acceptable substitute.

(They were.)

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic. The length of time this takes will depend on how much mixing you did previously. Properly kneaded dough will bounce back when you poke it with your finger, though.

Place the dough back into the mixing bowl (I don’t even bother to wash mine), cover with a wet tea towel, and let rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and divide into 18 pieces. Form each into a ball, and place on greased baking sheets.

To make my dough into balls, I just kind of pull the edges inward until the ball is smooth and neat (maybe someday I will get Joshua to videotape that step.)

Cover the dough balls with a wet tea towel, and let them rise until they’re doubled, about 35-45 minutes.

Or you can cover them with plastic wrap.

Or you can place them in your oven (turned off, of course!) with a pan of warm water on the bottom of the oven (that will keep the air warm and humid, which helps the rolls to rise.)

Once the rolls have risen, use a really sharp knife to cut a cross in the top of the rolls. I’m not gonna lie, this was a difficult task. I tried a lot of different knives and even a pair of kitchen scissors, and didn’t manage to turn out super beautiful slashes.

I had the best luck with a knife that had lots of shallow serrations on the blade.

Beat an egg white until it’s a bit foamy, and then use a pastry brush to brush the egg white over the rolls. Save the extra egg white because it’s going into the frosting later.

Bake in a preheated 400° F oven for 12 minutes, or until the rolls are nice and brown.

To make the frosting, add powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk to the reserved egg white. Pipe an X on top of the rolls, using a pastry bag or a plastic bag with a corner snipped off.

And then enjoy your soft, fluffy hot cross bun.

Hot Cross Buns

3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons each)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted, or oil
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2/3 cup dried currants or raisins

1 slightly beaten egg white

In a mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, cinnamon, and cardamom.

In a separate bowl, combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt, and heat to 120° F. Add to dry ingredients along with eggs, and beat at low speed until combined. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, then add raisins and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead for 3-5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise 1 hour, or til doubled.

Punch dough down; divide into 18 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball; place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise till double (30-45 minutes).

Brush rolls with egg white (reserve extra for frosting), then bake in a preheated 400° oven for 12-15 minutes (12 was good for mine). Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

When cool, pipe an X shape on top of each bun with frosting (see below).

Frosting

Combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, reserved egg white, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and a dash of salt. Add enough milk to make of piping consistency.

I’m curious…am I the only one here who’d never had a hot cross bun until recently?

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Today’s 365 post: Green, tall grass…on April 2nd.

Joshua’s 365 post: Ablaze