Hi Nigella, I want to make the hot cross buns in advance. Can I freeze the dough, if so at what stage and then when I want them, how do I proceed? Thank you
It is possible to freeze hot cross buns before baking and after baking, depending on which is most convenient for you. If freezing the buns after baking then let them cool completely and pack into resealable bags or airtight containers for freezing. If the buns have a sticky glaze then it may be easiest to pack the buns into boxes, with layers of baking parchment (parchment paper) in between the buns. The buns should thaw in a couple of hours at room temperature and can be warmed in an oven preheated to 150c/300F (this should take about 5 minutes).
It is also possible to freeze the unbaked dough. After the first rise punch the dough down then shape the rolls and put them on to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment (parchment paper). Cover loosely with clingfilm and freeze immediately. When the rolls are frozen they can be transferred to a resealble bag or airtight container.
To use the rolls you need to transfer the rolls to a greased baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp tea towel or greased clingfilm (parchment paper). Leave in a warm place to thaw and prove - this should take between 3 and 5 hours but will depend on the temperature of the room and the size of the buns. Bake the buns following the instructions in the recipe.
If you are freezing Nigella's Hot Cross Buns then you may prefer to do the first rise in a warm place - taking 1 to 1 1/2 hours - rather than an overnight rise.
Also very occasionally frozen dough doesn't rise after freezing. If using fresh yeast then you may prefer to increase the quantities as sometimes freezing can affect the activity of ther yeast. If using dried yeast then check the use by date on the packaging to ensure that the yeast is still active.