Hot Cross Loaf
Enjoy our Hot Cross Loaf recipe this Easter.
- One pinch of saffron (optional)
- 500g strong plain flour, plus extra to dust
- ½ tsp salt
- 75g caster sugar
- 7g fast yeast (one sachet)
- 175ml milk
- 2 medium free-range eggs, beaten
- 75g salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- Sunflower oil for greasing
- 75g each of currants, raisins and sultanas
- chopped candied peel
- 25g plain flour
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 100ml fresh orange juice
- 2 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tbsp liquid glucose (optional for extra shine)
1. Warm the milk, saffron (if using) and sugar on a low heat on the hob. Do not let it get hot or it will kill the yeast. Once ‘blood temperature’ (you can check this by putting a finger in the liquid and it shouldn’t feel hotter or cooler than your body temperature) add the yeast, stir then leave to sit for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes the mixture should have foamed a bit.
- Sift the flour, salt, sugar and dried fruits in a bowl and create a well in the centre.
- If doing by hand, add the milk mixture, butter and eggs to the centre of the well and mix until combines to be a slightly sticky but not wet dough.
- If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and mix on a low speed until you have a slightly sticky but not wet dough.
- Knead on a surface for 10 minutes if doing by hand, or mix in the bowl on a medium speed for 5 if using the mixer.
- Let the dough rest in a lightly oiled bowl for about 1hr until doubled in size.
2. Butter a loaf tin ( you may need two depending on size) . Divide the dough into 10 even pieces and knead them into quite tall rounds. Arrange side-by-side in the tin.
- Cover with cling film or a damp tea towel then leave to rest for about an hour til it has risen to the top of the tin.
- Heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
3. For the decoration, mix the flour, oil and enough of the water to make a smooth paste. Put the mix into a piping bag then snip off the corner. Pipe a cross on top of each dough ball. Put the loaf into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.
- When the loaf is nearly ready, simmer the orange juice and honey (and glucose if using) in a small pan for a few minutes until it has turned thick and glossy.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and turn it out onto a cooling rack. Turn it the right-side up and brush with the sticky glaze. Leave to cool before serving. Can be eaten just as it is or toasted with butter.