Hot Cross Loaf. Get creative this easter and try this fun, festive loaf.
Makes 1 loaf
50g caster sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
125ml water, warmed (40-45°C)
125ml milk, warmed
1 tbsp dried active yeast
450g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 heaped teaspoons ground mixed spice
75g candied peel, chopped
1 tablespoon orange zest
50g butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon dark treacle or dark molasses
4 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
3-4 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
Stir the teaspoon of sugar into the water and milk. Add the yeast, cover and leave in a warm place until a thick frothy surface (about 2cm) has appeared, about 15-20 minutes.
Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a warm bowl, adding the 50g of sugar, currants, sultanas, mixed peel and orange zest. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the butter, egg, treacle, and yeast mixture. Stir to mix and work by hand to a sticky dough. The dough has to be wet, loose and sticky to get a soft texture.
Knead and work the dough for 8-10 minutes on a clean surface until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased tin 20cm x 10cm x 7cm loaf pan, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes until doubled in volume. The ideal temp is between 20 and 30°C. the warmer it is the faster the dough will rise.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180°C and make the piping dough. Mix the flour with the sugar and water to a smooth paste and spoon into the piping bag. Mark a cross down the middle of the loaf. Pipe some paste into the indentation.
Place the loaf in the preheated oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and when tapped underneath, sound hollow.
While the loaf is in the oven, make the sticky glaze by melting the sugar in the water over a low heat. Brush with the glaze to give shiny sticky finish. Leave on a wire rack to cool slightly.