What a deliciously slow and relaxed Easter we are all about to experience. 

Well relaxed if the kids are, because lets not deny it they rule the roost! 

Maybe at the very least a craft little project might be enough to expend their energy so that everyone is exhausted and settles perfectly into movie mode… for the rest of the weekend. 

Love from all of us here at Love Mae for the well deserved 4 days off from the juggle of everything that has been going on the past few weeks. 

You’ve got this… and not just because you have to ;)

Love… Mae x

FOR THE PREFERMENT 

340g full cream milk, plus extra for brushing

250g strong white flour (I use organic stone-ground unbleached – it makes a big difference!)

1 tbsp 100% hydration sourdough starter

FOR THE FRUIT

150g Sultanas or a mix of Sultanas and raisins

60ml Marsala

60ml Boiling water

FOR THE DOUGH

200g Strong white flour

50g Rye or wholemeal flour

8g Salt

70g Brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1tsp ground cinnamon

75g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing

FOR THE CROSSES

50g plain flour

50g water

10g olive oil

FOR THE GLAZE

50g caster sugar

50g water

pinch of cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

1. The night before you want to bake the buns, make the preferment. Mix the milk, flour and starter in a large bowl until smooth. Cover with a tea-towel and leave at room temperature overnight (approx 8- 12 hours). 

2. In the morning, your sponge should be visibly bubbly and grown by about 20%. 

3. Soak the fruit in the marsala and boiling water. Set aside for 30 minutes and drain. 

4. For the dough, add all of the dry ingredients to the sponge and mix well. Add the fruit and cooled melted butter. Knead in the bowl until well incorporated. Continue to knead for about 5 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Knead mixture again in the bowl for a few minutes. Cover bowl with a tea towel. I use a stand mixer with a dough hook as it makes the job really easy, but doing it by hand is fine too.

5. Now leave the dough to undergo the bulk fermentation for 3-4 hours. Every half an hour, lift and fold the dough in the bowl, turning the bowl 90 degrees after each fold. You should have lift and folded the dough onto itself four times each time. Be gentle in the last few hours as you want to avoid knocking out the air. If it's a warm day, this timing should be just right, however on a cooler day, you may need to leave the dough for longer, maybe turning every hour.

6. Divide dough into either 9 (approx 145g each) or 12 (approx 100g each) buns. Shape into buns and arrange in a tin, greased with butter or alternatively place them onto a tray lined with baking paper, a little spread out to allow for rising. Now you can either leave on the bench to prove for 2-3 hours or put in the fridge overnight and bake the next morning. If you leave them in the fridge overnight, allow them to sit at room temperature on the bench before baking.

7. Preheat oven to 200C.

8. For the crosses, mix the flour, water and oil in a small bowl. The mixture should be thick but have some viscosity so you can pipe it. Put into a piping bag with a small nozzle, or alternatively into a snap-lock bag and snip the end. Add more flour or water depending whether it needs to be looser or thicker.

9. Brush tops of buns with a little milk and pipe crosses onto the buns. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and risen. 

8. For the glaze, combine the sugar, water and cinnamon in a small pan and on a low heat, simmer until dissolved and slightly syrupy. It should only take around 30 seconds. Brush the hot buns with the syrup and serve warm, with butter, of course! 

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