For the dough
- 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…
- 2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…
- 50g caster sugar
- 150ml warm milk
One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…
- 1 egg, beaten
The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…
- 50g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
- oil, for greasing
The spices and dried fruit
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury…
- 100g currant
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Put the flour, yeast, caster sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the spices and dried fruit and mix well. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, 50ml warm water, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Mix everything together to form a dough – start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water; if it’s too wet, add more flour.
Knead in the bowl or on a floured surface until the dough becomes smooth and springy. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in size – this will take about 1 hr depending on how warm the room is.
Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few secs, then divide into 12 even portions – I roll my dough into a long sausage shape, then quarter and divide each quarter into 3 pieces. Shape each portion into a smooth round and place on a baking sheet greased with butter, leaving some room between each bun for it to rise.
Use a small, sharp knife to score a cross on the top of each bun, then cover with the damp tea towel again and leave in a warm place to prove for 20 mins until almost doubled in size again. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
When the buns are ready to bake, mix the plain flour with just enough water to give you a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag (or into a plastic food bag and snip the corner off) and pipe a white cross into the crosses you cut earlier. Bake for 12-15 mins until the buns are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. While still warm, melt the granulated sugar with 1 tbsp water in a small pan, then brush over the buns.
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More Easter bakingOnce you’ve mastered these simple buns, you can use the same dough to make James's teatime Chelsea buns and delicious fruit loaf (see 'Goes well with') – just mix up the spices a bit and swap the currants for other dried fruits and nuts.