Happy Easter! Its time for a new twist on the classic hot cross buns recipe! Delicious orange spiced loaf with chunks of dried apricots and a honey fruit glaze. Serve this beauty for Easter breakfast with warm butter or a drizzle of honey.
This recipe is a combination of techniques between Hot Cross Buns and Brioche Nanterre. Two layers of fruit packed dough balls then a classic orange flavored cross piping to make one amazing bread loaf! A symbol of Good Friday and one of my favorite Easter Recipes, makes this a holiday must bake.
Tips for Hot Cross Buns Loaf
Making the Dough
- Use warm milk, not hot with your yeast mixture. If its too hot for your finger, its too hot for the yeast!
- Mix the eggs and vanilla in with paddle attachment.
- Then switch to dough hook to add the flour mixture.
- Work dough on medium for 5-8 minutes.
- Transfer to lightly floured bowl, then cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Preparing Loaf to Bake
- The first proof should be in a warm draft free location for 1-2 hrs, until doubled in size. I place my covered dough in a cold oven, then turn on the light.
- Once doubled, punch down the dough to release the air.
- Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead the chopped dried apricots in by hand. I work in ¼ cup at a time until all is incorporated.
- Weigh your dough and evenly divide into 16 pieces.
- Prepare your loaf pan with a very light coating of baking spray.
- To roll your dough balls, simply take one piece and cup your hand over top. Use light pressure, then vigorously roll in a small clockwise direction with right hand. Opposite if you are a lefty. Even better if you can do a dough ball in each hand and multitask.
- You should be able to roll a nice smooth ball.
- Repeat with all the dough pieces.
- Arrange 8 balls in a row on the bottom. Lightly coat your first layer with a brushing of egg white wash.
- Place the final 8 balls directly on top of the first row. Do not press down. Apply a thin coating of egg white wash.
- For the final proof, set your loaf pan in a warm draft free location.
- Keep an eye on your loaf to make sure it doesn’t over prove! The dough balls should double in size, but not spill over the edges of the pan. This seems to take my dough only an hour in the cold oven with the light on. Watch for the top dough balls to rise about ½-3/4 inch over the rim.
- If the dough balls get to big before baking, they will grow huge in the oven and detach.
- Traditional cross bun piping is made with flour and water, then piped onto dough before baking.
- Of course I had to add a little fresh squeezed orange juice to mine 🙂
- Mix flour, orange juice, and water in a small bowl and whisk until a medium thick paste is formed.
- Transfer to a piping bag, cut off tip for desired thickness and pipe crosses onto top layer of dough balls.
- I piped continuous long lines down the two rows of four. Then, piped horizontal lines across each row of two. This creates a much smoother line than piping each bun individually.
- Place loaf on the bottom rack.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Halfway through baking lightly make an aluminum foil tent to cover your loaf to prevent over browning.
- Warm honey and apricot jam until easy to stir with a fork.
- Take a pastry brush and paint onto warm bread loaf.
- Devour immediately!!!
Apricot Hot Cross Buns Loaf
- 1 Cup (128 g) All Purpose Flour
- 1 ¼ Cups (160 g) Bread Flour
- 1 Tbsp Orange Zest
- ¼ Cup (50 g) Light Brown Sugar lightly packed
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Ground Cardamom
- ¼ tsp Nutmeg
- 1 Cup (250 ml) Milk warm
- 2 ¼ tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter melted and cooled
- 1 Cup (190 g) Dried Apricots chopped into small chunks
- 1 Egg White
- 1 tsp Water
- ⅓ Cup (42 g) All Purpose Flour
- 4-5 Tbsp Water
- 2 Tbsp Orange Juice
- ¼ Cup Apricot Jam
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- In large bowl, hand whisk together flours, salt, spices, orange zest, and sugar. Set aside.
- In the bowl of stand mixer add yeast and warm milk. Stir gently and let sit for about 10 minutes until frothy.
- Pour melted butter, vanilla, and lightly beaten eggs into yeast mixture. Mix on low with paddle attachment until incorporated.
- Switch to dough hook.
- On medium low speed, slowly spoon in flour mixture.
- Once the entire flour mixture is added, increase speed to medium and beat dough for 5-8 minutes.
- Dough should cling to hook and have a smooth slightly sticky texture.
- (If too dry add a Tbsp of milk, or if too wet add a Tbsp of All Purpose Flour.)
- Remove dough and place in a lightly floured large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft free location until doubled in size. ( 1 hr)
- Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface.
- Punch down excess air with hands.
- Fold in dried apricots.
- Weigh and divide dough into 16 even pieces.
- Roll each piece into a round ball by cupping your hand and vigorously rolling in a circle until smooth.
- Lightly spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with baking spray.
- Set dough balls in a row of eight on the bottom of pan.
- Lightly coat tops and sides with egg wash.
- Place second layer of eight dough balls on top.
- Lightly coat tops and sides with egg wash.
- Loosely cover with a tea towel and let puff until slightly risen over edge of pan. ( 30 min-1 hr) Top layer should only be about ½ inch over rim.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (190 C).
- Make piping paste. Whisk together flour, water, and orange juice until a thick paste is formed. Add more flour to thicken and more water to thin.
- Transfer to a piping bag and cut desired size for piping.
- Pipe lines across loaf to form crosses. (*see tips in post)
- Bake on lowest rack for 15 minutes. Then loosely cover with a tent of aluminum foil.
- Continue baking for additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Loaf should sound hollow when tapped from the bottom. (simply hold pan with oven mit, and tip loaf out. Tap and listen and the either remove and place on cooling rack or bake another 5 minutes.
- Let loaf cool on rack for 5-10 minutes.
- Warm apricot jam slightly and stir in honey with a fork.
- Brush jam glaze generously over loaf.
- Slice and serve.