Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises: Double Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

Having learned to play seven total musical instruments in my life (not counting for the differences between numerous types of traditional flutes, and acoustic and electric guitars), of course I'm familiar with hot cross buns, being the first song I learned to play on five of those instruments. My first experience in tasting them actually came at the age of seven, when I had learned to play it on the recorder and wondered what they were. Like so many similar baked goods, I found them palatable but not anything noteworthy.

Sourdough Surprises chose Hot Cross Buns as the challenge this month, and despite a crazy work schedule and a project that I promise will end up on this blog (which combines sourdough with healthy eating) I was bound and determined to do something. It also helped me come to a realization:

I hate most dried fruits in baked goods.

I'm a fruitivore really and pretty much will devour any fruit aside from most stone fruits. Dried fruits aren't a problem. I have a box of raisins handy at work for when my electrolyte levels get too low, and I eat dried cherries every night (their health benefits are no myth – I saw the difference in the first night!). Oatmeal raisin muffin? Give me the butter rum, pumpkin, or chocolate.

So even though raisins are one fruit my family will all agree on, I decided to indulge in the sweet stuff. With no official recipe this month, I turned to one of my trusted resources and modified the recipe.

Sourdough Double Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
Adapted from
Makes 12 buns


    • 1/4 cup sourdough starter
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 3 cups flour, divided, more as needed
    • 1/4 cup plus 1 tblsp butter, melted, divided
    • 3 tablespoons instant dry milk powder
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
    • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tblsp milk (I used almond milk)


  1. Mix the starter, water and 1 1/2 cups flour together and let proof, covered, overnight or 8 to 12 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, mix proofed starter, 1/4 cup butter, milk powder, egg, and sugar together.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of remaining flour, salt and allspice.
  4. Add to dough mixture in large bowl.
  5. Mix well, adding remaining flour if needed and knead by hand until dough is smooth and satiny.
  6. Pat dough out into a flat shape and spread chocolate chips over dough.
  7. Fold dough over fruits a couple of times and then knead until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  8. Cover dough and let it proof until doubled.
  9. Gently deflate the dough and press into greased 9x13 casserole dish
  10. Cut into 12 equal rolls
  11. Cover rolls and let them proof until almost doubled.
  12. Brush with remaining 1 tblsp butter
  13. Bake rolls at 425 degrees for 14 to 16 minutes.
  14. Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and milk together. When rolls are cool, drizzle over rolls into a cross shape,

I ran into a few issues. One, thank you Florida weather, it's humid (and I did this as a front was still lingering around), so I had to add more flour, meaning the bread was denser. Two, in order to help it rise, I left the bowl on top of the oven as I was baking a lasagna. So a few chips on the outside got a little melted (which is why I took the lazy route of pressing it into the dish and cutting the more chocolate on my hands!). Three, between the almond milk not being stark white and a little too much vanilla, there wasn't all that much contrast in my icing.

Taste wise, though...they were sufficiently sweet, with just a hint of the allspice, and, more than other breads I've done recently, the sourdough flavor was there in all it's glory.

Family tradition never called for hot cross buns...we usually have donuts for Easter breakfast. This recipe though is tempting. The whole family enjoyed them. So while it may not replace my love of donuts, it's definitely one to keep in the Rolodex.

Check out our other hot cross buns!