Yes, that little ditty has been in my head since I baked these hot cross buns! The theme for #TwelveLoaves March, as led by Lora at Cake Duchess, is Holiday Breads, come bake with us!
Hot cross buns are loaded with history, tradition and folklore. I read a few accounts of each instance and learned that this bread, with its symbol of the cross on top, has caused enough of an uproar that in the 1500s, Elizabeth I enforced laws restricting the sale of the buns to Easter and Christmas. The tradition of eating hot cross buns, particularly on Good Friday, has been shared in many Christian countries, particularly in the United Kingdom. Some stories even share the superstition that baking hot cross buns on Good Friday will ensure that the buns do not mold for the coming year and they would have medicinal purposes to boot! Still other accounts promise that sharing a hot cross bun with a friend will ensure a good friendship throughout the year. Who knew that bread could make such an impact?
Do you have a memory of hot cross buns? I first enjoyed the tradition of these buns during the Easter season when I lived in Bermuda. Many English traditions are celebrated there but often with a twist that makes the tradition unique to Bermudians. Hot cross buns are baked at Easter and served with a salt codfish cake sandwiched between the two halves of the bun. Yes, salty fish inside your hot cross bun. Before you are quick to judge that as not the combination of your choice, let me say I had the same opinion my first year in Bermuda. My view changed, if ever so slightly, as I tried the fishcake with the bun. It is a salty, sweet, and savory bite for sure, but my love of butter on a warm bun outweighs all Bermudian tradition and I prefer to eat my hot cross buns simply: warm (maybe even toasted) and with butter.
I followed this recipe from the British site BBC Good Food to make hot cross buns this year. I liked their idea of making the cross on the buns BEFORE they bake. I was skeptical– you make a paste of flour and water then pipe it onto the buns that are ready to go into the oven rather than adding a sweet icing after the buns have cooled. Would a paste of flour taste ok? To my surprise, yes! The cross bakes into the bread and melds with the dough, leaving the distinct mark of the cross as the buns brown slightly more than does the cross. You could add icing later if you like but I left these plain at my house. An apricot glaze is suggested too but I skipped that step, keeping these plain and simple, just how I like them.
Here is the group of breads that #TwelveLoaves baked this month. Click through to view each site and please link up your Spring Holiday breads with us!
- Grammy’s Italian Easter Bread by Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
- Hot Cross Buns by Holly at A Baker’s House
- American Irish Soda Bread by Renee at Magnolia Days
- Hot Cross Buns by Lora at Cake Duchess
- Pinca: Croatian Easter Bread by Sherron at Simply Gourmet
- Jamaican Zucchini Spiced Bun by Lyn at The Lovely Pantry
- Plaited Easter Bread with Cream Cheese Filling by Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Greek Easter Bread by Alice at Hip Foodie Mom