We’re always looking for ways to reduce our food waste and this year our bakers are giving a second life to day-old Hot Cross Buns. Introducing the Bacon Hot Cross Bun.
To make these maple bacon filled buns, follow the recipe below.
- 1 GAIL’s Hot Cross Bun (or find the recipe here to make them from scratch)
- 3 rashers of streaky bacon
- Maple syrup, we use Buckwud maple syrup
- Add oil to a frying pan and heat. Once the pan is hot add the bacon and fry on both sides until crispy
- Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to the bacon and cook for a further minute
- While the bacon is cooking, slice your hot cross bun in half and lightly toast it
Top tip – place the bun face down on top of the toaster, not inside, so it doesn’t get stuck
- Butter the toasted hot cross bun and place the bacon inside
- Finish with a drizzle of maple syrup for the perfect sweet and salty combination
There’s nothing better than a warm, lightly spiced Hot Cross Bun with butter, of course. So, to celebrate Easter we’re sharing our iconic Hot Cross Bun recipe. The below recipe will make 20 buns, so there will be plenty to go around.
For the Buns:
20 g fresh yeast
1 tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. caster sugar
400 g plain flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp. mixed spice
200 ml whole milk
70 g caster sugar
1 large egg
70 g soft unsalted butter
(cut the cold butter into 2cm cubes and leave at room temperature for an hour before using)
40 g sultanas
40 g dry currants
40 g dried unsweetened cranberries
70 g mixed peel
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
For the Cross Topping:
200 g plain flour
230 g icing sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. tbsp milk
For the Syrup:
300 g caster sugar
200 ml water
1 whole nutmeg
1 whole star anise
1 whole clove
1/2 vanilla pod split in half lengthwise
In a large mixing bowl melt the yeast with a tablespoon of whole milk and a teaspoon of caster sugar. Make sure the yeast has completely dissolved and leave for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, you should notice mini bubbles on top of your yeast liquid: that means your yeast is alive.
In a separate bowl, sieve the flour with the spices.
Add the spiced flour to the yeast mixture. Keep adding the rest of the milk, the sugar and egg.
Begin to bind the mixture together using your hands, for 4-5 minutes until it forms a rough dough, and then add the butter a chunk at a time whilst kneading the dough.
After adding all the butter slowly, it should take around 2-3 minutes you will have a nice sticky dough. Continue kneading for 5 minutes more until you get a smooth, shiny dough.
Add the salt and fruits and continue kneading for 3 minutes more.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 1.5 hours, until it grows to almost double in size.
Pour your dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 20 pieces at 50g each. Roll the dough pieces into shape by rolling them on a surface against your palms to create smooth buns.
Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with a baking paper (all the buns onto one tray) and make sure you keep an even gap between them all. Cover the tray with a clean tea towel and leave to rise at room temperature until almost double in size.
When the buns are ready (the sides of each bun should be touching and you almost shouldn’t be able see the tray) make an eggwash by whisking 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk and a teaspoon of milk. Brush the buns carefully with this eggwash and leave to dry out for 10 minutes. Brush again.
Pre heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
MAKING THE X TOPPING
Using a hand whisk, gently combine all the cross topping ingredients into a smooth paste.
Fill a plastic piping bag with the topping mixture and cut a small hole using scissors. Always cut a smaller hole than you think you might need as you can cut it again to make a bigger hole – but you can’t make a big hole smaller!
Pipe thin crosses on top of the buns on the tray and pop it into the hot oven.
Immediately, reduce the oven temp to 180°C/gas mark 4 until thoroughly baked and golden (around 20-22 minutes).
WHILE THE BUNS ARE COOKING, MAKE THE SYRUP:
Put all the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and over a low heat bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, increase the heat and simmer for couple of minutes until you have a syrupy consistency.
Remove from the heat and fish the spices out.
Once the buns are ready, take them out of the oven and carefully brush them with the hot syrup.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
- What time did you get up this morning?
My alarm goes off at 4:10am, ready for another busy day. I start work at 5am every day.
- How do you take your coffee?
Double espresso in the morning, but sometimes I have a Long Black with cinnamon.
- What do you usually have for breakfast?
Our freshly baked croissants.
- How long have you been working for GAIL’s?
I joined Gail’s in February 2014 as a Senior Baker.
- What’s the first food you remember loving as a child?
I loved the Stollen cake which my mother usually made for Easter. I would always be impatiently waiting for the first slice.
- Have you ever baked bread?
Yes, I love to bake Tiger bread and eat the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
- What does the smell of freshly baked bread remind you of?
It reminds me of my Grandmother and the feeling of positivity.
- What do you spread on your toast?
Butter and honey.
- What is the best part of your day?
I enjoy every part of my day but lunchtime is the best, when I watch happy customers eating their lunch that I have prepared.
- What’s in your ultimate sandwich?
Definitely a toasted turkey sandwich on malted wholegrain sourdough.
- If we could give you a lifetime supply of anything from GAIL’s, what would that be?
This is a hard choice as everything is delicious but I will say that the Chocolate Brownie and Mixed Olive Sourdough are my favourites.
- Our bread is made with three primary ingredients. Four if you include time. What are the main ingredients in your life and work, concrete or abstract?
Personality, respect and following the system of life.
- What would you do for a living, if not this?
I would definitely still be working in the food industry because I can’t imagine myself not working closely with food.
This Easter we will be hosting gingerbread baking classes for little bakers in select bakeries.
We recommend the classes for children aged 10 and under. If your child would like to join, please get in touch with one of our bakeries below. Please see below for class dates and participating bakeries.
Tuesday 16th April:
Farnham, Summertown, Camden, Barnes, Old Town
Wednesday 17th April:
Temple Fortune, Blackheath, Seymour Place, Wokingham
Thursday 18th April:
Tuesday 23rd April
All classes will start at 4pm.
We believe that all coffee experiences should reflect our commitment to craft. From the beans we use, to how we steam and texturise the milks we serve them with. Decaffeinated coffee is no different. Our decision to offer premium, natural decaf honours our belief that every coffee should be a good coffee. We worked closely with our friends at Union Hand-Roasted to find the best decaf, and we are proud to offer Andes Mountain Organic Decaf, from Peru.
Union Hand-Roasted Coffee is committed to using natural processes to remove caffeine from green coffee to create this decaf. This chemical-free method uses only water and CO2. It keeps in all of the flavour and aroma that we associate with tasty coffee while retaining anti-oxidant rich phenols that offer the wellness properties associated with coffee, all while helping us to avoid caffeine.
Enjoying coffee means enjoying flavour. The sweetness of our decaf creates balance and a pleasant mouthfeel. Its chocolatey bitterness is satisfying and mouth-watering, while the natural fruity acidity is refreshing. We love the unique character of this special organic-certified origin.
Our Andes Mountain Organic decaf respects our natural rhythms. We see wellness as a holistic practice, where sharing enjoyment and pleasure in what we eat and drink creates balance in our lives. It’s all about following your own rhythm. Starting your day with a flat white. Enjoying an espresso after lunch. Sharing cake with friends over a decaf latte in the afternoon. Each of these parts of the day offer moments to reflect, recharge and enjoy.
Inspired by a recent trip to Sri Lanka, our coffee guru Jessica has created a coconut hot chocolate, infused with cinnamon. Perfect for chilly mornings at home.
To make two small mugs:
- 3 tbsp 100% cocoa powder (we used Zuma, a natural-process Peruvian cocoa)
- 1 tbsp organic coconut syrup, or agave also works well
- 500ml unsweetened coconut milk (we used Plenish, which has a dash of salt)
- 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick
- A pinch of ground cinnamon, to serve
- 1 tbsp hot water
- Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan and heat on a low flame, adding the cinnamon stick.
- Spoon 3 tbsp of cocoa powder into a cup, then add a splash of boiling hot water to make it into a smooth paste, working out any lumps with the back of a spoon. Add a splash more water until it’s a creamy consistency.
- Add the coconut syrup to the cocoa powder mixture, starting with 1 tbsp. (You can add more at the end, to taste)
- Once the coconut milk is hot, take the saucepan off the heat and remove the cinnamon stick.
- Stir in the cocoa mixture until it’s thoroughly combined. Taste for sweetness, adding more coconut syrup if necessary.
- Pour into mugs and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Curling up on the sofa highly recommended.