Sourdough hot cross buns
Did you know that, although hot cross buns have been on supermarket shelves as far back as January, the sweet bun is usually associated with the end of Lent at Easter. The history of these buns dates back to the 14th century when an Anglican monk baked the buns and distributed them to the poor on Good Friday. For Christians, the cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus and the spices inside symbolise the spices put on the body of Jesus after he died. Over time, hot cross buns gained popularity around England and became a symbol of the Easter weekend.
If you like these spicy buns, try these sourdough hot cross buns – full of an array of dried fruits and deliciously warming spices including cardamom. And why not enjoy them all year round!?
Medicinal benefits of cardamom spice
- Cardamom spice is a small pod with black seeds inside. It belongs to the ginger family and originated in India, but is available worldwide today and used in both sweet and savory recipes.
- Cardamom may be a source of many minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, potassium and manganese, as well as vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
- It has been traditionally used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for thousands of years to help with digestive discomforts like flatulence, stomach cramps and nausea.
- An ancient remedy used to treat bad breath, it is now a component of some chewing gums. This is because cardamom might be able to kill common mouth bacteria and prevent cavities.
- The essential oils and extracts of cardamom may be effective against a variety of bacterial strains that contribute to infections, food poisoning and stomach issues.
- The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of compounds in cardamom may also help protect cells from damage and slow down and prevent inflammation in the body.
- The high antioxidant levels in the spice may assist liver function, weight loss and even aid mild anxiety.
- 150 g plain or strong flour
- 150 mL lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon active sourdough starter (find this at your local health food store)
Dried fruit and tea mix:
- 250 mL rooibos tea, or your preferred tea, hot
- 100 g currants
- 100 g sultanas
- 50 g dried apricots, finely chopped
Thick sauce mix:
- 25 g plain flour
- 100 mL milk (of your choice)
- 60 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 tablespoon marmalade or zest of 1 orange
- 100 mL milk (of your choice)
- 2 eggs
- 550 g plain or strong flour
- 100 g coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) water
- 2-3 tablespoons apricot jam
- A tiny pinch of ground cardamom
- In the morning, grow your sourdough starter by stirring together the flour, lukewarm water and active sourdough starter in a large jar. Set aside at warm room temperature for around 6 hours or until the starter is active and filled with bubbles.
- Once the starter is fully active, place the dried fruit in the hot tea and allow to soak while you prepare the dough.
- In a small saucepan, over medium/high heat, whisk together the flour and milk for the thick sauce mix, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens to the texture of a béchamel sauce or thick custard. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
- Separately, melt the butter and stir in the marmalade or orange zest.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk mix.
- Then, in a large bowl, stir together the bun mix of flour, sugar and spices until well combined.
- Add in the cooked thick sauce mix, the melted butter mix, the egg mix and the sourdough starter, and stir until well combined.
- Then add in the soaked fruit mix and stir well again.
- Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- The following morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut into 12 pieces.
- Roll each piece into a tight ball, dusting your hands with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
- Place the balls of dough onto a baking paper-lined baking tray, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside at warm room temperature for 2 hours, or until the buns have grown to 1½ times their size.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C fan-forced or 240°C conventional. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together the cross mix to form a paste. Using a piping bag, pipe crosses onto the buns.
- Place the baking tray into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature by 20°C and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the buns are golden.
- Gently heat the glaze mix in a small saucepan over a low heat, just until the jam has loosened. Brush the buns with a light coating of the jam to glaze and place back into the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before eating.
Makes 12 buns.