Hot Cross Bun Loaf

This orange and cranberry hot cross bun loaf is bursting with bright, zesty and fruity flavours. Perfect for sharing with your family this Easter.

Prep Time - 4 hours Cook Time - 30 - 40 minutes Serves 8

Ingredients

500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 large Burford Brown eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon mixed spice
A few gratings of whole nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
75g caster sugar
7g sachet dry yeast
170ml whole milk, gently warmed to hand heat
80g unsalted butter, softened well, plus extra for greasing
80g sultanas
60g mixed peel
80g dried cranberries
Fine grated zest of 2 oranges
25g plain flour
1 tsp sunflower oil
2-3 tbsp cold water
Juice of 2 oranges
2 tbsp marmalade

Method

Grease a 2lb (900g) loaf tin with softened butter.

Sieve the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Place the yeast in a jug and stir with the warm milk, until dissolved and bubbling. Add the milk, eggs and butter to the well and mix into a soft dough.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with a little flour or tip into the bowl of a free standing mixer with a dough hook and knead for 7 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place into a lightly oiled mixing bowl and cover with cling film. Place in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours until it’s doubled in size.

When time is up lightly flour a clean work surface. Tip the dough on to the surface and lightly knead. A few spoonfuls at a time sprinkle over the fruit and zest then knead and fold into the dough. When it’s all incorporated place back in the oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Allow to rise for a further hour.

Divide the dough into 8 equal size balls (use a weighing scale to make sure they’re all the same size). Shape the balls into fat sausages. Place the sausages side by side in the tin. Place the tin in a large sandwich bag and seal it. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1 more hour. Pre-heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4/350f.

Meanwhile, mix the plain flour, oil and cold water in a bowl to make a smooth paste. Spoon in to a small piping bag and snip off a small hole. Pipe a little cross on top of each of the hot cross buns. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and risen.

Place the juice and marmalade in a small pan and allow to bubble and thicken on a low heat. When the loaf is ready, carefully and quickly turn it out of the tin and on to a cooling rack. Brush over the glaze and leave to cool. Serve warm with salted butter.

This loaf is best eaten on the day it’s made but will come back to a lovely soft loaf if warmed through in the oven the next day. It makes great toast or as the base for a bread and butter pudding.

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