let watt

Craig Watt, Melkbos

I read your recipe for hot cross buns. I was planning on making hot cross buns this year for the first time, and have been reading a number of recipes on subject.I have chosen one from Jamie Oliver (but have read many others).

Two things that I might mention in this regard, particularly to your recipe, and our local situation.

First if you used the 7g yeast packages, that could 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 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 in the Table Talk.

I hope this helps and you do attempt another batch with another make of yeast, and two rises 😉 Best of luck.

Blob Lauren O’Connor-May responds

Thank you for the advice Craig. I did not use the brand of yeast which makes a 7g sachet yeast. 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 in the milk. 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.

Or perhaps I’m just a terrible cook…