Hot Cross Buns
One of the best things about Easter has to be hot cross buns, fresh from the oven! Here’s a version that’s gluten and refined-sugar free to enjoy with the family this coming long weekend… plus they’re delicious!!
Hot Cross Buns are best eaten with butter… there’s just no way around that one, if you ask me! Track yourself down some good quality, organic, grass fed butter to enjoy with these.
Before this recipe, I was a teff flour virgin… but I am SO converted! In deciding which gluten free flour to use, I walked around my bulk food store, inspecting the colours and textures of each. I decided on teff because it smelt the most like ‘flour’ (not sure how else to describe that!), and was light in colour (although clearly not bleached). It did not disappoint!
I've since been reading up on teff, an ancient grain grown in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It's packed with some amazing nutrients as well as being high in protein, calcium and iron. For more information on teff, take a look at this.
This recipe calls for orange rind or zest - I’m not a huge fan of biting into a big piece of orange rind, so I’ve used zest in mine. However if your’e a traditionalist, it’s rind all the way! Really, you an use any type of citrus rind/zest you please, but if you’re going for a chunky rind, you’re best sticking to orange.
You could also use raisins or cranberries in place of the sultanas (or a combination), but I came across some gorgeous, plump, organic sultanas in my travels today that I just couldn’t resist…
Gettin' a Rise
It can be hard to know what the perfect amount of time is to let yeast do it's thang... so here's what your buns should look like before and after the rising period...
Lastly, keep in mind that without the gluten and the preservatives often found in store-bought hot cross buns, these are best eaten on the day they are made. After that, they’re best enjoyed toasted.
Makes 12 buns
1 cup milk (I used organic, unhomoginised milk)
2 x 7g sachets of dry yeast
1/2 cup & 1 tsp raw honey (you will be using these separately)
4 cups teff flour (you can any gluten free flour*)
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp ground pink himalayan or other high quality salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 organic, free-range eggs
1/2 cup melted organic butter
1/2 cup organic sultanas
2 tsp fresh orange rind pieces, or zest (I used a mix of orange and lemon zest)
Coconut oil for greasing your hands
*highly absorbent gluten free flours, like sorghum and coconut, are not ideal for this recipe. But if it’s all you have, use half the quantity of flour (2 cups) - otherwise you might end up with hot cross rocks!
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/2 cup water
1 tsp ceylon cinnamon (optional - leave this out for a whiter cross. I just love cinnamon ;-))
Juice of 1 orange (approx. 50g juice)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Warm the milk in a saucepan, then combine the 1 tsp of raw honey, yeast and warmed milk in a bowl. Allow to sit and activate - you’ll know this is happening when you start to see small bubbles appear.
2. In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to combine the flour, all the spices, salt and xanthan gum.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, sultanas, the remaining 1/2 cup of raw honey, and orange rind/zest.
4. Combine wet ingredients and yeast mixture, then add this to your flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon to combine into a wet dough.
5. Line a baking tray/cookie sheet with baking paper. Lightly coat your hands with coconut oil and form 12 buns, and space them out evenly on the baking tray. You might need a little more oil as you go. Cut a cross into each bun.
8. Cover the whole tray with a clean, dry tea towel and allow to rise for 2 hours. A warm location (like the windowsill) is best for this. When you're 1.5 hours in to the rising time, preheat the oven to 200ºC/390ºF.
9. Make your cross mixture by combining the gluten free flour and water. Use a piping bag to pipe the mixture onto each bun in a cross. If you don’t have a piping bag, you could use a small plastic sandwich bag with one corner tip cut off.
10. Combine the orange juice and vanilla extract for your glaze, and gently brush on to each bun.
11. Bake for 15 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack immediately after you take them out of the oven.