buttermilk dough

  “Happy Easter. May happy thoughts and springtime flowers brighten all your Easter hours.”
Author Unknown

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsSo what are you making for Easter Mr PAB asked, referring to the ever ‘hungry’ blog! Moi? I had no plans but he talked me into some. Having studied in convents all my life, I’ve been charmed by hot cross buns for long, long, but never baked a batch. Maybe this was the time! Soon enough,  the sweet aroma of Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns wafted gently through the house!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

A hot cross bun is a sweet, spiced bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday. In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion. Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten.

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsMy version is non traditional yet quite delicious! I bookmarked a few recipes including one in my Thermomix cookbook, but eventually went for an oft used basic recipe. It’s the one I adapted for Apple Cranberry Almond Olive Oil Pull-Apart Loaf & Popovers from The Pioneer Woman, a ‘light as air’ flavourful dough, one that can take a stuffing, and is quite a fun dough to play with!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsStuffing? Yes indeed! I had a small idea creeping into my head as I had strawberries calling to be roasted yet again. I wanted to try adding a small ‘heart‘ of that roasted goodness into my hot cross buns. I cooked the syrup to a thick reduction to ensure the filling stayed ‘stuffed’ in! Also, instead of traditional currants I opted for chocolate chips.Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsThe recipe never fails. For the ‘cross’ on top I piped some thick stirred plain flour and water. The buns were delicious and disappeared pretty soon. The red heart of roasted balsamic strawberries was a nice surprise as you bit through the bread flooding your palette with flavour and balsamic sweetness. It paired well, as does the chocolate, with an otherwise not too sweet bread.Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsButtermilk keeps the dough light, and the vanilla bean adds gentle, beautiful flavour. If I had placed the buns apart on a large baking sheet I’d have managed individual hot cross buns, but since I used a smaller baking pan, they rose into each other and resulted in a pull apart bread. No regrets however!!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsI like this dough recipe, and keep simplifying it as I use it more and more. The basic dough is eggless, butter free and light. Yeast, soda and baking powder combine to make sure it rises well. Its versatile too as I’ve used it in Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread some time ago. More recently it popped up on PAB as the base of Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry and Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls.Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsIt’s one those recipes you can keep returning to, experiment with and enjoy in different avatars. I might try using the dough for a slow overnight rise sometime soon. So many ideas to keep the hungry PAB and kids happy, but often the lack of time!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

[print_this]Recipe: Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns
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Summary: Light and airy hot cross buns made with a yeasted {eggless] buttermilk dough flavoured with vanilla beans and chocolate chips. A sweet roasted balsamic strawberry reduction floods the palette as you bite through the otherwise not so sweet bun.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes plus resting time

  • Buttermilk Dough
  • 240ml {1 cup} buttermilk, room temperature
  • 70gm {1/4 cup} granulated sugar
  • 60g {1/4 cup} extra light olive oil, or any neutral oil
  • 1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 270gm {2 1/4 cups} all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • Filling
  • 50gm {1/4 cup} unsalted butter, melted
  • 100gm dark chocolate, chopped {good quality}
  • 1 serving roasted balsamic strawberries {recipe follows}
  • Icing
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Enough water to make it into a thick paste {approximately 1/4 cup or less}
  • Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
  • 225gm strawberries
  • 30gm  {2tbsp} brown sugar
  • 15ml {1tbsp} balsamic vinegar


  1. Buttermilk Dough
  2. In a large bowl or  your food processor,  place all the dry ingredients, followed by the oil and buttermilk. Knead to a soft pliable dough. It will be sticky. Cover and let it rise for at least an hour.
  3. {Thermomix: Place all ingredients in TM bowl. Mix at Speed 6 for 5 seconds. Knead at intermittent speed for 2 minutes. Leave dough in TH for an hour until it doubles. Cover TM if weather is cold.}
  4. Assembling:
  5. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread 1/3rd of the butter over it, and sprinkle half the chocolate chips over. Fold over twice like you would do puff pastry and repeat again with 1/3rd butter and the remaining chocolate chips.
  6. Divide the dough into half, then into 6 equal portions each. You should have 12 portions. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll the dough into balls.
  7. Take a ball of dough, flatten on the palm of your hand, place a scant tsp of completely cooled roasted balsamic strawberries on it, and pull the edges over it to cover the filling. Gently roll back into a ball, ensuring that the filling is trapped in. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet/pan.
  8. Repeat with remaining balls of dough.
  9.  Allow to rise covered while you make the flour mix for the cross and preheat the oven to 220C.
  10. Mix the flour gradually with the water to get a thick paste. Place into a ziploc bag, snip off a corner and pipe crosses over the dough balls.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes on 220C, reduce the heat to 200C and continue to bake for a further 10-15 minutes until nice and golden. Paint with the remaining butter as soon as the buns come out of the oven.
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  13. {Caution: Don’t be tempted to bite into a hot ‘hot cross bun’ as the filling might burn your mouth.}
  14. Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
  15. Toss the quartered strawberries well with the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bake at 180C for about 45 minutes until nice and bubbly, stirring once or twice. Strain the strawberries and reserve in a bowl. Place the liquid in a pan and reduce over heat until nice and thick. We need a thick strawberry reduction for the stuffing! Cool completely, transfer to a clean glass jar and refrigerate until needed.


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