HOT CROSS BUNS

The season of the famous hot cross bun is upon us, and we can’t get enough of them! These little SPRING buns are found in all sorts of bakeries and cafes around the UK at this time of year. Many modern bakeries put a little twist on the classic flavour, for example, chocolate & cherry or lemon & blueberry. But for this blog post, we’re keeping it traditional! 
Sometimes the hot cross bun craze can be taken a little too far… and that line was crossed when my mum once bought me and my brother and sister a ‘hot cross bun’ Easter egg (yes, such a thing EXISTS). All I have to say is that they should just stick to making buns and not use such flavours in a children’s chocolate egg. Needing to down a glass of water after taking a bite from a ‘spicy’ Easter egg was not what we had in mind when we woke up that Easter Sunday MORNING. Anyway! Here’s a quick demo of how we go about making hot cross buns here at Crwst. 
First step – make the dough. We use Organic bread flour, water, organic fresh yeast, mixed spice, raisins & oil. (full recipe below)

  

As we don’t have any industrial machinery, we use a french method called ‘autolyse’. This is where we leave the dough to prove in the tub after we’ve mixed it together, and flip it every so often. With the hot cross buns, we leave it to prove for around 3 hours in total, flipping the dough every half hour/1 hour. 

When the dough stops sticking to your hands and it feels like it’s come together, it’s ready to go. The next step is to divide the dough into each individual bun. We usually weigh them at around 100g per bun.
Now, The next step is the time consuming part – shaping each bun individually! Cup your hand and roll the dough in a circle motion until it comes together into the shape of a small ball. Sometimes it takes a bit of practice, I still can’t do it myself… and you don’t need to use both hands at the same time like Osian does – show off! 

  

After laying all buns out on to a tray, cover them in cling film and leave them to prove until they double in size. In the mean time, make a paste using equal amounts of water and flour. This is what you’ll use to do the cross pattern on top of the buns. 

many people put a fruit glaze or an egg wash on top before sticking in the oven. We’ve gone for an egg wash with this batch. Make sure the oven is pre-heated to around 200 degrees and bake them for around 12-15 minutes. voila! The buns are done.
Rip them apart and devour them however you like! We like ours toasted with some good butter and a cuppa. We hope you Enjoy these seasonal buns as much as we do!


INGREDIENTS (makes around 10)
500g strong bread flour
300g water
80g sugar
80g butter (or oil)
10g salt
10g fresh yeast (or 7g dried yeast)
1 tsp mixed spice
200g raisins

 

 


 


Grain & Gluten Free

BBC Two- Horizon. ‘Clean eating – the dirty truth’

Welcome to Crwst’s first blog! Whilst Osian bakes away in the Crwst kitchen, I (Catrin) have decided to write a blog which will be available here on Crwst’s website. The blog posts will included all different subjects from experiences to ideas and topics discussed in the foodie world which are of interest to me. Some things you may agree with, and some things you may not!
I’ve been looking to start a blog for a little while now, but with the whirlwind of establishing a new business, it was put on the back burner (pun intended) until I recently watched a program on BBC Two – Horizon. This is an on-going documentary series covering a range of science and philosophy topics which I’m sure a lot of you have seen. A recent episode, ‘Clean Eating – the dirty truth’, really got me thinking, so I had to write a blog about it. Lots of different people have lots of different things to say about the world of ‘clean eating’ and this particular horizon episode covered some of the extreme theories out there.  
During this episode, Dr Giles Yeo investigates this latest diet and social media craze. A lot of different aspects of ‘clean eating’ were discussed but I’m going to focus mainly on the one thing that took my interest, the ‘Grain & Gluten Free’ diet.  
This diet is one of the latest trends in society and possibly the biggest food fad of all. Dr Yeo goes on to explain that following a gluten free diet is on the up in the Western World. One thing to point out is that celiac disease is different, and this affects around 1% of the population and is caused by an adverse reaction to gluten which is found in wheat, barley and rye. The number of people going ‘gluten free’ is far higher than this. So why are more and more people following a gluten free diet when it doesn’t directly affect their physical health and wellbeing?
One reason, in my opinion, is down to highly influential people in today’s ‘foodie’ and ‘lifestyle’ society, driven hugely by social media. New diets and eating lifestyles are almost like a fashion, as soon as one influential person takes part, it soon becomes a trend or pattern in general society. The Hemsley Sisters are one of the influential figures mentioned on Horizon. Not only do they promote the gluten free diet, but they take it a step further by supporting another clean eating theory – a grain free diet. This is inspired by Dr William Davis who claims that ‘grains are not fit for human consumption’ and that ‘grains are harming all of us to a certain extent’. These statements carry no evidence or proof of course.
Let’s take a loaf of bread for example, and look at how it has changed over the past 100 years. It’s gone from being made by 3/4 simple ingredients (flour, water, salt and yeast) to being almost ‘westernised’ in able to keep up with our fast paced and convenient lifestyles. Bread bought from a supermarket includes processing aids, in the form of additives and preservatives, many of which have been banned from the UK over the last 20 years due to health and cancerous risks. People who have associated a health problem with their daily bread intake, tend not to think about these extra ‘ingredients’ which could potentially be the reason for their indigestible bread. Everybody associates bread with wheat/gluten- as they should do really. After all, the main ingredient in bread is flour. But we all know that this isn’t the case with a conventional loaf bought at a supermarket.  
Yes, this bread may last up to a week and be sliced perfectly for some morning toast or lunchtime sandwiches, but if we claim to care so much about what we put in our mouths, why has bread become such a processed food when it was once so simple and a staple in everyday diets. And why has a food group such as ‘gluten’ and wheat become such a fear in people’s ‘healthy’ lifestyles? The reason I speak so boldly about this topic is down to the fact that we at Crwst have had customers claiming to have an intolerance to wheat or gluten, but have had no symptoms or health problems after eating a loaf of our ‘real’ organic bread, containing only 3/4 ingredients – Organic flour, water, salt and either organic fresh yeast or a natural sourdough levain (which is a different blog for a different day).
To me, ‘clean eating’ is all about using pure and healthy ingredients when making a meal from scratch. I’m not going to sit here and say that I do this myself every single day for every single meal, because I don’t! And I doubt that all of these ‘clean eating’ gurus do either. don’t get me wrong, I am all for cooking from scratch and FAVOuRING real food and ingredients over processed foods, and inspiring others to do so too. but After watching this particular Horizon episode, I feel like some people do take ‘clean eating’ to an extreme and are stoking fear about a food group that people should have no fear in eating. ‘Real’ bread is something to be celebrated and enjoyed by all bread lovers! In my book, the science side of things are so important as proof is definitely needed before you can implement such an extreme diet/lifestyle as dR William DAVIS does.
at the end of the day, it’s whatever works for you as an individual. most importantly, we need to remember and ACKNOWLEDGE that different diets and lifestyles work for different people, and that is what makes us all unique. If everyone were the same, this planet would be a very boring place, including the wonderful diverse world of food! If you’re a bit of a documentary geek like me, this is definitely worth the watch.