The Perfect Loaf is a column from software engineer turned bread expert (and Food52’s Resident Bread Baker) Maurizio Leo. Maurizio is here to show us all things naturally leavened, enriched, yeast-risen, you name it—basically, every vehicle to slather on a lot of butter. Today, he tells us how to turn classic hot cross buns into tender, slightly tangy, chocolatey hot cross buns.
At the right time of year and in the right location, you can smell hot cross buns—leavened sweet buns spiked with spices and dried fruit—before even making it inside a bakery. Usually topped with a sweet glaze and a white cross of flour and water, hot cross buns pop up around Easter and are most commonly associated with their place of origin, the United Kingdom. Admittedly, I have never seen them grace a pastry case out here in the southwestern U.S., but I recall seeing their bright white crosses in bakeries during my travels through Europe in years past.