For some people, it would not be Easter without hot cross buns. Baker Lionel Vatinet of La Farm bakery in Cary provides his recipe.
La Farm’s Hot Cross Buns
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk at room temperature
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks, cold yet soft enough to work
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon water, or more as needed
Using a dough hook on a standing mixer, combine flour, salt, yeast, buttermilk and eggs on first speed for 5-7 minutes. Halfway through, add half of the sugar and continue beating until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Add remaining sugar and mix on second speed for 5 minutes. After 4 minutes, add butter and allow to incorporate into dough. Mix until you have a smooth, silky dough.
Turn down to first speed and add raisins and cardamom. (You want the final dough temperature between 75 and 80 degrees.)
Place dough in a floured bowl in a warm area for 45 minutes so that bulk fermentation can take place. After 45 minutes, fold the dough in thirds, twice, each time from opposite directions. Place in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and divide into eight equal pieces. (It is best to use a kitchen scale if you have one.)
Shape into rolls and place on a sheet pan or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let proof in warm area for 2-3 hours. Brush the top of each roll with egg wash.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes; at 10 minutes, turn sheet pan around once in the oven so those in the back are now in the front.
When cool, make glaze: Combine powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon water and stir to combine. Add more water as needed to get the right consistency – not too runny and easily piped. Place glaze in a small plastic bag, squeeze down into a corner, cut corner and pipe “X” across tops of each cooled bun.
Yield: 8 buns.