Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

  • Serves: Makes 12 buns
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ORANGE PIGGY SAYS: I made chocolate hot cross buns on Sunday. I use both a sponge and sourdough starter that adds more complexity to its flavor.

37g bread flour
120g milk
9g granulated sugar
7g (2-1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast

270g bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
15g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
140g ripe sourdough starter (mine is 100% hydration)
all of the sponge
57g granulated sugar
1 large egg (about 48 to 52g), at room temperature
57g butter, softened but not melted or greasy

75g semisweet chocolate chips

Cross paste:
35g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
15g granulated sugar
35g milk, preferably chocolate-flavored milk

3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water

1. Make the sponge: in a medium bowl, combine all of the sponge ingredients. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 40 minutes. The sponge will be somewhat liquid but it will puff up.

2. Whisk or sift together bread flour, salt, cinnamon powder and cocoa powder. Set aside.

3. When the sponge is ready, transfer it to a bowl of stand mixer. Add sourdough starter, flour mixture, sugar, egg and butter. Knead with dough hook until a soft dough forms, about 6 minutes. Check the dough consistency, it won't be too wet. If the dough really looks too wet, add 1 to 2 teaspoons flour and knead 1 minutes more. Then stop.

4. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Scrape the dough that sticks to the bottom of the stand mixer bowl if necessary. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 60 to 90 minutes with a light fold after 30 minutes. The dough will rise 2 to 2.5 times in size.

5. On a lightly floured work surface, deflate the dough and lightly knead in chocolate chips until they are thoroughly distributed in the dough.

6. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape the pieces into balls and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 4 to 5 cm. apart. Cover the baking sheet with a piece of greased plastic wrap and let rise for about 45 to 60 minutes or until double in size. The dough may rise and expand and almost tough each other.

*Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, position the rack in the center of the oven*

7. While the dough is rising, make cross paste. In a small bowl, stir together all of the cross paste ingredients until smooth. Spoon it to a piping bag with 0.5 cm piping tip. Pipe crosses on the buns. Make the glaze, bring water and sugar to a boil and let it boil for about 5 minutes. Let cool.

8. Bake the buns for 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from oven and brush hot buns with the glaze. Let cool on wire rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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