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Hot Cross Buns Not Rising

Asked by kwightman. Answered on 17th April 2020

Full question

I tried the Hot Cross Buns recipe and it was a disaster: the dough did not rise; the mix for the cross spread everywhere; even the glaze was not good. In short I got Hot Cross Biscuits that were edible but dry.

Hot Cross Buns
Photo by James Merrell
Hot Cross Buns
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Hot Cross Buns (from FEAST) uses 7g easy blend yeast to 400g flour. Most manufacturers of yeast suggest that 7g is enough for up to 500g flour, so the amount of yeast should be correct. The dough has an overnight rise in the fridge. This means that the dough will rise more slowly than if the dough is left in a warm place and also means that you do need to allow long enough for the dough to rise. We suggest a minimum of 8 hours, but it can be longer if the dough is left the fridge. Also the dough uses easy blend yeast (also known as fast action yeast, instant yeast or bread machine yeast), which is the fast acting type that comes in very small granules and can be mixed directly into the flour before the dough is mixed.

If you have any other type of dried yeast, such as dried active yeast (or active dry yeast) then you need more yeast (usually double the amount easy blend, i.e. 14-15g). Also it needs to be dissolved in approximately 60ml/1/4 cup warm water, with a teaspoonful of sugar, and left for 10-20 minutes to become frothy before it is used (reduce the milk in ther recipe by 60ml/1/4 cup). If it is mixed direct into the flour then it will not work. Yeast expires after a while, so if your yeast is close to its best before date (even if it is the easy blend type) then it is a good idea to dissolve it into the warm water mixture (above) first to see if it is still working. If the yeast starts to froth up then it is fine to use but if it doesn't froth then it has expired and will not work. For the cross you can put the paste into a piping bag and pipe the cross instead, or put it into a small sandwich bag and snip the very tip of the corner off and use this to pipe the crosses. We are not sure what was wrong with the glaze but if you prefer you can remove the buns from the oven 2 minutes before the end of the baking time, brush over the glaze and return the buns to the oven for the final 2 minutes (don't leave it longer as the glaze burns easily).


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