Hot Cross Bun Question

chase_gwApril 4, 2012

I know many of you regularly let dough do a slow rise or even freeze dough but I've only ever made breads in one the same day.

I want to make Hot Cross Buns for Easter morning but my day Saturday is way crazy with a large Easter meal.

I need to make the dough Friday but not bake until Sunday morning. Could I make the dough Friday and place in the fridge after the first rise but before shaping, or should I shape and refrigerator?

I don't want to bake and then freeze. I really want them fresh from the oven and the house smelling great Easter morning.

This is the recipe I use.

Hot Cross Buns

4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour, divided

2/3 Cup sugar

1 (1/4-oz.) envelope rapid-rise yeast

1 Tsp salt

3/4 Tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon

1 Cup milk

1/4 Cup water

1/3 Cup unsalted butter, cut up

2 large eggs

Vegetable cooking spray

2/3 Cup currants and mixed dried fruits

1/3 Cup golden raisins

1 Tbl all-purpose flour

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, and next 4 ingredients in mixing bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, stirring well. Set aside.

2. Combine milk, 1/4 cup water, and butter pieces in a saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until butter melts. Cool 5 minutes (to 130').

3. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture, and beat at low speed with dough hook attachment 2 minutes or until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Beat 3 more minutes. Reduce speed to low, and gradually beat in enough remaining flour (up to 2 1/2 cups) to make a soft dough (dough will be sticky). Beat at medium speed with dough hook attachment 5 minutes.

4. Scrape dough into a large bowl coated with cooking spray, and lightly spray the top of the dough.

5. Cover and let rise in a warm place , free from drafts, 1 hour. (dough will almost double in bulk.)

6. Punch dough down, and turn out onto a floured surface. Combine 2/3 cup currants, 1/3 cup raisins, and 1 Tbsp. flour, stirring to coat. Knead about one-fourth of fruit mixture at a time into dough until all fruit mixture is evenly dispersed.

7. Divide dough into 20 equal portions; shape each portion into a 2-inch ball. Evenly space dough balls on a parchment paper-lined 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; cover and let rise in a warm place (85'), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Gently brush tops with beaten egg white.

8. Bake at 375' for 15 minutes or until buns are a deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Cool buns 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

9. Spoon icing into a zip-top plastic freezer bag; snip a 1/4-inch piece from 1 corner of bag, and pipe an "X" on top of warm buns, forming a cross. Serve remaining icing with buns, if desired.

Makes 20 buns.

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Is there a reason you couldn't make the dough Saturday night and let it rise overnight in the fridge to shape Sunday morning?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:26PM
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Claire.....I am hosting a large family dinner Saturday. Not only will I be busy all day with prep but by the time dinner is over and visiting is done it will be quite late...and I will have had enough wine that baking isn't an option!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Oh. Well I envisioned dumping all the dry ingredients into a bread machine or mixer, so all it would need was the wet ingredients with the push of a button. You could even butter the proofing vessel ahead of time, about an hour before you give it up for the evening. Once the dough is made, it won't need babysitting overnight. Do you have a bread machine? Or do you usually make dough by hand?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 8:19PM
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I have kept yeast dough in the fridge for two days, and it was fine. I would skip step 4 and 5 and go ahead with step 6 without a first rise. Then store the dough in the fridge (in the coldest spot) on Friday and take it out Sunday morning. Punch the dough down when you take it out and proceed with step 7, but you will probably need to let the rolls rise a bit longer than usual before baking.

That's what I would do, based on my experience in the past, but others may have better suggestions.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 11:06PM
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I agree with Lars, I'd make the dough and refrigerate it. It will rise in the refrigerator, albeit very slowly. Take it out Sunday morning, punch it down, shape it, let it rise, bake it.

Happy Easter!


    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Sharon....I regularly make my sweet roll dough a couple of days ahead and refrigerate....
I'll post my recipe so you can see how very similar they are....if it works for me it'll work for you. The main difference is yours has more sugar and proportuionately more eggs.....which should allow it to better stand a few days in the refrig.
The only caveat is to allow enough time for the cold dough to rise before baking.
Go for it!!

2C Scalded Milk, cooled to warm temperature
3T Shortening or Butter, Melted
1/2 C Sugar
1 t salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 pkgs yeast (or 1T bulk yeast)
1/3 warm water
4-5 cups flour

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 12:36AM
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Thanks everyone.

Claire, I do have a bread machine but I'd still have the problem of holding the dough overnight. However the idea of letting the dough do it's first rise while I'm busy with company is appealing.

If I make the dough ahead can I form the buns and then refrigerate so in the morning I would just have to bring the formed rolls to room temp and not wait for the second rise, recognizing they will rise as they come to room temp?

I'm just worried getting the dough to room temp and then forming for the second rise may take too long.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:26AM
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They will rise in the refrigerator. Not entirely sure they might not over rise and fall. Maybe....but for a special occasion I'm not sure I would take that time to try out that technique.
The safest way would be to take the dough out of the refrig when you get up, form the buns ( they will warm up and rise faster than the whole mass of the dough) let them rise and bake.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:51AM
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I also can't guarantee that they won't rise and fall, but I make cinnamon rolls that are shaped the night before, refrigerated overnight and then left on the counter to come to room temperature, finish rising if they need more time and then baked.

HOWEVER, and note that this is a big however, mine sit overnight, 12 hours, not a couple of days, so I can't tell you how they might react over that longer period of time.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:55AM
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Ugh...maybe I should just bake them tomorrow! Actually I'll give it a go what can happen?

I'll make the dough and then form and let rise Easter Sunday. Knowing the "kids" the buns will likely rise before they do anyhow!

Thanks again

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:54AM
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Sharon, I spent a lot of energy trying to figure out how to make fresh bread...Fresh...on the day I wanted it whenever I had a day in the kitchen like you're describing. After much experimenting, I realized there are two ways to accomplish this.

1. From dough that has risen once, formed into rolls and frozen. To make this happen, I put the frozen, formed rolls in a buttered pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze; let the pan of rolls rise overnight on the counter. (I've found the dough shouldn't rise for more than 8-12 hours, otherwise they can over-proof.) Bake in the morning.


2. From dough that has risen overnight in the fridge, having gone through the bread machine the night before. When I do it this way, I start my dough an hour before bedtime, so I can put the dough in the bread machine into a greased pan for the overnight rise in the fridge. The next morning you still have to form your rolls and allow time for another rise, but it works well if time permits.

Either way, you'll have fresh bread and won't wear yourself out getting there. If time is really tight (OR I plan on drinking!), I actually prefer the frozen-overnight-on-the- counter-to-proof method. It doesn't seem to work if you leave your bread in the freezer too long, as I suspect it kills the yeast after a while. For just a few days of make-ahead prep time, however, it works really well. I hope you find it works for you, and you've discovered a new way to get fresh-baked to the table.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 1:24PM
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