Hot cross buns tips

Craig Watt, Melkbosstrand

I read your recipe for hot cross buns (“Buns failure makes me hot and cross,” Northern News, April 12).

I was planning on making hot cross buns this year for the first time, and have been reading a number of recipes on the subject.

I have chosen one from Jamie Oliver (but have read many others). If you used the 7g yeast packages, that could be a problem.

When I first started baking bread some years back, I was using the brand that makes 7g sachets but had huge problems with the rise. I moved on to the other brands and had more success.

Also in this regard, Jamie’s recipe uses two 7g sachets instead of one for the same amount of bread flour (though I have read other recipes with only one also).

The other problem I suspect might be down to the single rise in your recipe. Most recipes have a minimum of two rises and some have three. So, you would knead, rise the whole dough once until double, then punch down, shape and rise again.

I was going to be brave and use the 7g brand yeast again for this, because of the sachet size match, but I have decided against that now that I have read your column. I hope this helps you to attempt another batch with another make of yeast, and two rises. Best of luck.

Elsa Klump

Have you perhaps left out the yeast? You could dissolve it in a little bit of tepid water with a teaspoon of honey or sugar.

Let it bubble up before adding to the tepid milk. Careful that your melted butter is not too hot or it will kill the yeast process.

June Hadland, Durbanville

I read your sad tale of the hot cross buns today.

I haven’t tried your recipe but am sending you mine which I have used for many years.I think yours flopped because it says to mix in fruit and then knead the dough. You’ll see from mine that you knead the dough and then add the fruit.

Lauren O’Connor-May responds:

Thank you everyone who responded with advice and recipes, which are available here.

Craig, I did not use the brand of yeast which makes a 7g sachet. I buy my yeast in a bulk foil bag – because our family also bakes a lot of bread, and the same yeast made perfect bread loaves.

Even when I doubled the yeast, though, we still had little success with the rise. In fact, it did not rise at all.

I suspect the flaw was in the warming of the milk, as Elsa suggested.

Yeast organisms are sensitive to temperature and that is why I prefer to keep my wet ingredients at room temperature when baking with yeast.

Perhaps I’ll try the recipe again and use the milk at room temperature and add the fruit after the kneading as June suggested.