Introduction: Beer Cross Buns

Easter weekends bring overeating and superstitious traditions. I, for one, am a fan of the hot cross bun and it stands as one of the highlights of the weekend.

This hot cross bun recipe enhances the sweet and spiciness of the buns with an off bitter taste from a Cape Town brewed Weissbier. Essentially, it’s more of a beer cross bun than a hot cross bun.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients.

You’ll need the following.

  • 440ml Beer
  • 50ml Milk
  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 450g bread flour
  • 2 sachets dried yeast
  • 1 salt
  • Spices of choice
  • 55g castor (or superfine) sugar
  • 1 egg (whisked)
  • 60g dried fruit.

Additional flour will be needed for kneading. Also, some honey and/or syrup for a glaze.

Also, turn on your oven to 400° F or 200° C

Step 2: Melt Stuff and Add Yeast

In a small saucepan, slowly melt the butter with the milk and beer.

When the mixture is slightly warm to the touch, remove from the heat. Add the sachets of yeast and set aside for ten minutes.

Step 3: Sift Dry Ingredients

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and caster sugar. Add your spices to taste. I tend to stick to cloves, nutmeg and ground ginger. No more than about a teaspoon of each.

Step 4: Combine

Combine the wet yeast mixture, the whisked egg, and the dry flour mixture. Begin combining in the bowl until it starts to come together.

Step 5: Knead

When the mixture starts to come together, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead and knead and knead. The mixture will become smooth and elastic.

You can do this in a stand mixer if you want.

Step 6: Live and Let Rise

When the mixture is kneaded, place it in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for an hour or two. Until the mixture has doubled in size.

Also, while the dough is rising, place your dried fruit in a jug and cover it with beer. The fruit will absorb the beer and soften. The combination of dried fruit - like the spices - is up to your discretion .

The sugar and alcohol in the mixture will slow down the rise so it may take longer than most bread doughs.

Step 7: Punch Down and Mix in Dried Fruit

When the dough is nice and risen, lightly punch it down and mix in the (now drained) fruit.

Divide the dough into buns and roll them into balls. Again, set aside to let them rise for another half hour.

If you want, you can put the entire mixture into a bread pan and bake a hot cross loaf. The dough is nice and pliable, but strong enough so it won't fall apart.

Step 8: Make the Crosses

Mix together any remaining beer and flour until you get a thick paste. Pipe this onto the buns just before you bake them. Using beer here will make for another flavour element, however, the beer will result in the crosses not being as bright as expected. If you want a whiter cross, stick with just flour and water.

Step 9: Bake

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The buns will be golden.

A loaf will take closer to 40 minutes.

To evade guess work, use an internal thermometer. You're looking for about 200° F.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

Once you've removed the baked buns, you can glaze them with jam, honey or syrup. I used a combination of golden syrup and some of the remaining beer (that I soaked the fruit in). Heat it on the stove until it starts to thicken and apply liberally to the finished buns.