This year I’m not that bothered about chocolate for Easter, but I really wanted to give gluten free hot cross buns a go as my little treat to have with a cuppa over this lovely long weekend.
Gluten-free baking is still very new to me (I’ve never really been much of a baker in the first place), so I trawled through google to get an idea of the sorts of flours to blend together to make gluten-free buns that aren’t dense, heavy and rock-like.
This recipe was an experiment that turned out pretty bloody deliciously. Although the texture is similar to a scone, they are still a lot fluffier than the pre-baked GF equivalents I’ve tried in the past.
The only thing that you’ll need that you can’t just buy from a shop, however, is the gluten free leaven, or sourdough starter, which takes about a week to make, and let’s be honest, is entirely Blake’s territory in the kitchen. If you ask nicely, I might get him to teach you how to make it 😉
Either way, these are really beautiful, and because I haven’t got the effort to glaze them, they’re just sweet enough, in my opinion.
Happy Easter everyone!
Flour blend: 30g psyllium husk, 35g almond meal, 200g maize flour (not corn flour), 100g potato starch, 100g brown rice flour
150g gluten-free sourdough leaven/starter
40g brown sugar/rapadura/muscavado (we used raw sugar and added a teaspoon of black strap molasses)
2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice/pimento
1/4 nutmeg, finely grated
1/8 tsp ground clove (or 1 clove, crushed in a mortar and pestle)
1/8 tsp cardamom powder
1 organic egg at room temperature
65g organic butter, softened to room temperature (or finely grated if you’re unprepared – you can thank Jamie Oliver for that magic)
400ml warm filtered, rain or spring water (as the sourdough is alive, chlorine in tap water may reduce the fermentation capacity of the sourdough)
For the stripe: 1tb tapioca, 2tb psyllium husk, 20g maize flour, 10g brown rice flour, 10g potato flour, 10g raw sugar (or whatever sweetener you have on hand, just remember that the darker sweeteners will darken the colour of the stripe), 50-60g filtered water
To proof your dough, find a warm spot in the house, or preheat your oven to the lowest temperature for 10-15 minutes, then turn off. Grease your baking tray with oil, butter or baking paper.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and spices in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add sourdough leaven, butter, egg and half of the warm water and combine using both of your hands. The goal here is to bring together a dough that is just tacky when finished, but the water needs to be added gradually. The psyllium will absorb a surprising amount of moisture, plumping up the dough. Now add the sultanas until they are evenly distributed.
Form the dough into a long log shape and cut into 15 even portions. Shape each portion into a round bun and place onto the baking tray no more than 1/2cm apart (5×3 hot cross buns).
To make the stripe, combine all the dry ingredients and gradually add the water until it is fluid, but not runny. You want it to be able to hold shape when you pipe it out. If you add too much water, add a little psyllium and tapioca until you get the desired consistency. Fill a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle and draw stripes along the middle of each bun, from one side of the tray to another, and then across the other way.
Leave your buns to proof in the pre-warmed oven or warm position for four hours. You may need to spray a fine mist of water from time-to-time to prevent the buns from drying out on top (I’d spray this over, rather than onto, the buns).
After four hours, your buns should have risen by about 1.5 times their size. Heat your oven to 200°C and cook the hot cross buns for 30 minutes, turning the tray half way though if you have an old oven like I do. They should be slightly golden brown on the top when finished.
I love these toasted with a little organic butter and natural salt with my cuppa. I’d love to hear what you think of these babies!