Baking Hot Cross Buns With Beer

With Easter fast approaching I was looking for the perfect hot cross bun recipe for my husband to make for the kids (while I sleep in!) … when I had a brainwave – what would happen if I mixed some beer into a recipe?

I’m always looking for creative ideas to use up some of my brews – particularly in Lent when we are not drinking – what better way than to incorporate them into my cooking? I had a bottle of Winter Spiced Imperial Stout in the fridge.  I thought the cinnamon and orange peel spices would lend themselves well to a hot cross bun.  I also had a bottle of Australian Pale Ale (our Kozzie) in the fridge – with lovely Ella hops lending subtle star anise and tropical flavour notes, I thought this might also work well in a hot cross bun.

Off to Google…

I stumbled across a recipe by Dan Lepard which seemed to have extremely complimentary reviews… his recipe used stout and I had many of the ingredients in the cupboard – and reasonable substitutes for the items I didn’t have. But what of the Pale Ale?

A little more research and I managed to combine a few different hot cross bun recipes to come up with something I thought would work…

All enthused, I started the night before with my Stout recipe and took some pictures along the way.

Both recipes were very different but pretty easy to do – no great technical skills required.  I will tell you that despite my early organisation, with kids and life getting in the way, I did not actually get around to baking the buns until the following evening…late…

Even in my semi-awake state, I could follow the recipes and managed to produce some great looking buns (if I do say so myself). I was particularly proud of my efforts at 23:30 on a school night!

I left the buns to cool on the drying rack for the kids to discover in the morning.

Toasted and lathered in butter (the only way to eat a hot cross bun in my humble opinion) they were both delicious and very “hot cross bun-y”!

The Pale Ale bun tasted sweeter and seemed more dense… while the Stout bun seemed richer and certainly contained more taste of the beer (and the tea)…. in a good way.

I did not use the beer glaze but would definitely try it on my next bake.

Conclusion? Actually, I thought both recipes worked well and preference among tasting volunteers was pretty evenly split between the two. I would certainly cook either recipe again – depending on what I had in my fridge at the time. I’m keen to try our Sweet Milk Stout (Southpaw) next time.

Give them a go and let us know what you think…

Hot Cross Bun Recipes

Hot cross Buns with Stout*

*My version of a recipe by Dan Lepard

For the buns:

330ml stouthome brewed of course! – chilled for 24hours in the fridge
1½ tsp each ground ginger, cinnamon and mace
7 g sachet dry instant yeast
300g white flour

200g raisins

150g dried apricots, chopped
200g mixed peel

250ml hot black tea (I used Earl Grey)
1 large egg
50g melted butter
575 strong wholemeal flour

50g caster sugar

For the cross:
flour
water

For the glaze:
sugar and water

(Or see below for our beer glaze recipe!)

The night before

Pour your chilled stout into a measuring jug – leaving the sediment behind -and allow to come to room temperature
Mix the stout, spices, 300g flour in a deep bowl.
In another bowl, soak the fruit in the hot tea.
Cover both bowls and leave overnight.

The next day:
Mix the egg and butter with the fruit and tea before adding to the stout/yeast mix.  Stir to combine.
Mix in the rest of the flour (575g) and sugar.
Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Lightly oil your hands and a small patch of worktop.
Knead the dough for 10 seconds – then leave for 10 minutes.
Repeat twice then leave for an hour to rest.
Divide the dough into equal part of approx. 100g
Shape into balls and place in a lined tray so they are touching.
Rest for 90 minutes to rise
Heat oven 200C (180C fan-assisted)/390F/gas mark 6
Mix flour and water into a paste.  Spoon paste into a plastic bag and cut the corner off to form a piping bag.
Pipe crosses onto your buns before placing in the pre-heated oven.
Bake for approximately 25 mins.
Leave to cool on a rack.
Create a sugar glaze by heating sugar with a small amount of water in a saucepan until syrupy.
Brush syrup glaze over the warm buns.

Try not to eat them all in one sitting!

Hot cross buns with IPA/Pale Ale & Beer glaze.

For the buns:

150ml pale ale (why not use the other half to make a beer glaze? – see below for recipe!) 

1 7g sachet fast-action yeast
75g wholemeal flour
150g double cream
4 tsp mixed spice
2 eggs
50g honey
150g mixed peel

150g raisins

400g strong flour
25g cornflour
1 tsp salt
Oil for kneading

For the cross:
flour
water

For the glaze:
sugar and water

(Or see below for our beer glaze recipe!)

Tip: Chill your beer for 24hrs in the fridge to ensure it doesn’t foam when you open it and mix in all the sediment!

Pour your entire bottle of chilled Pale Ale into a measuring jug to remove the sediment.

Mix the yeast, 75g wholemeal flour and 150ml Pale Ale in a bowl. Leave somewhere warm for 30 minutes.

In a saucepan whisk cream, mixed spice, eggs and honey.  Heat gently until just warm – not hot – stirring continuously.

Pour cream mix into yeast mix and add dried fruit.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornflour and salt, then add to the wet mixture.

Combine ingredients to a soft, sticky dough and leave for 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a worktop, and gently knead the dough for 10 seconds.

Return to the bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm for an hour, until risen slightly.

Divide dough into approximately 12 equal pieces, shape into balls and put on a tray lined with non-stick paper so all balls are touching.

Cover and leave to rise somewhere warm until almost doubled in size. (approx. 30-45 mins)

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas mark 7

Mix some flour and water to a paste and spoon into a plastic bag.  Cut the corner of the bag to create a nozzle. Pipe crosses onto the buns and bake for 15-18 minutes.

Remove and leave to cool.

Create a sugar glaze by heating sugar with a small amount of water in a saucepan until syrupy.

Brush syrup glaze over the cooled buns.

Enjoy!

TIP: why not try adding a small amount of your spent grains to the flour mix?

For something extra different – why not try

using your home brew beer to create a beer glaze?

Beer Glaze:

150ml Home Brew

100g butter

450 g caster sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

Heat gently until sugar dissolved – stirring constantly.

Brush over warm hot cross buns.

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