Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Chocolate chip Hot Cross Buns Experiment

I'm killing two birds with one stone with this bake!

Two birds??? I had two purposes for baking these buns. One is to enjoy freshly baked hot cross buns for coming Easter season. Second is to use this optimized breadmaker bun recipe to investigate the effectiveness of water roux method in bread making without any addition of bread improver.

I've been reading and researching a lot lately about water roux method. I've also spoken to my friend who attended a professional bread making course. He reckons that the water roux method, also known as starch gelatinization, does not essentially produce soft and fluffy breads. "It is the composition of the recipe and the type of flour used that matters..." he said. 

I really need a good evidence to prove either hypothesis and so I'm using this bake to conduct a bread baking experiment.

Here I'm using standard hot cross bun recipe from my Breville breadmaker instructional manual and cook 10% of its bread flour with half amount of water and proceed to make the buns with the cooked dough and the rest of the instructions without adding any bread improver.

*Drum rolling...rapid heart beating...* My exciting result revealed that my friend is right! The water roux method has no effect in improving the bread texture. The buns were soft and tasty when they were freshly baked but were not as good on the next day. I can see the significant difference when I compare them with breads that I've baked with the addition of bread improver.

With this much effort, I'm disappointed to know the truth...*sign* but, I'm not giving up at this moment after reading Lena's comments. Lena, from frozen wings has baked lots of fluffy delicious bread using a good roux water bun recipe. So, my next bread investigation will to bake the buns using her roux water bun recipe without applying water roux method into the recipe and will be curious to see if the recipe composition is the main reason to retain the fluffy bread texture.

Stay tune for my next bread baking investigation...

Here's the Hot Cross Buns recipe from Breville breadmaker instructional manual 
(with my modification in blue).

Make 12 buns

260 ml Water (use 160 ml for Water Roux, add remaining 100 ml into loaf tin)
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tbsp butter
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
450g Bread flour (use 50 ml for Water Roux, add remaining 400g into loaf tin)
2 1/4 tbsp milk powder
3/4 tsp bread improver (I didn't add this for my experimental purpose)
2 tsp Tandaco yeast

Icing sugar glaze
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons water

Water Roux method:

Mix 50g flour and 160 ml water together until smooth paste. Using low to medium heat, cook the flour mixture until mixture thicken and firm up like a sticky dough.

Place the rest of all ingredients and the water roux dough into the loaf tin in the above order. Use setting 8 (Dough) and press "start".

Sequence for dough setting is:
1st knead 2 min
2nd knead  28 min
1st rise 10 min
Punch Down 10 secs 
2nd rise 50 min
Total time 1hr 30min

Remove the bread dough from the machine and from the tin immediately when cycle is complete. Divide dough and 3/4 cup chocolate chips into 12 portions and incorporate the chocolate chip into each piece of dough and shape them into rounds. Place rounds close together on a lightly greased baking tray. Cover loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap and leave to stand in a warm area for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Blend together 2 tbsp water and 1/4 cup plain flour until a smooth batter is formed. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small piping nozzle.

Remove wrap from rolls and pipe a cross onto each bun. Bake in preheated oven at 180°C fan forced for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove buns from baking tray onto a wire rack. If desired, brush icing sugar glaze. Stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note: The original recipe from Breville breadmaker instructional manual make 16 buns. The above recipe is the same as the manual but has been reduced proportionally to make 12 buns.

Happy Baking
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  1. These look absolutely delicious! I love choc chip hot cross buns as an Easter treat. Your experiment is very interesting. Good luck in your future one :)

  2. Lovely looking buns. I too did not see any difference in my bread using the water roux method, so am going to my usual way of baking bread. Looking forward to your next experiment, though:)

  3. Zoe me too!! i had the same prob with my water roux method and boy was i disappointed =( but your buns looks very inviting all the same!

  4. Those are perfect hot cross buns and they have come out soft and spongy... :)

  5. looks delicious and soft
    glaze on this looks wonderful

  6. What a great idea! These look so yummy, way too tempting...

  7. You make me so hungry!!! Haha...

  8. Zoe, usually I wouldn't replace water with water roux. Water roux to me will be addition in the main bread ingredients. But the buns here look great!

  9. the bread look sooo soft and yummy! i'll stay tune for your investigation. i've yet to get my hands on any bread :D

  10. It's good that you are experimenting with the methods and the composition of different recipes to find the best results! I'm equally excited to know. :) the hot cross buns still looks very good!

  11. hahah you're getting so scientific with your bread making experiment which makes it so interesting to read :)

    from the photos, they look so yummy tho! i wouldn't mind gobbling a few down.

    i've been using the tangzhong method over and over coz it works for me (compared with the standard bread making recipe from breville). i have yet to try this roux method tho!

    when i make plain white bread using tangzhong, the bread stays soft for a days...but when i add arnd 50% wholemeal, it dries out slightly faster..but i always manage to fin in a few days!

    looking forward to finding the 'keeper' recipe!

  12. Hi again zoe, just want to let you know I have an award for you in my blog, please feel free to pick it up when you are free:)

  13. Omg, those hot corss buns looks absolutely incredible, soooo spongy and marvellous..

  14. I've been making a ton of hot cross buns as of late. So delish.

    Yours looks incredible.

  15. the buns look really good zoe! the glace makes them look even more inviting. admire ur courage to experiment recipes...i'm more of a boring person, sticking to the book =/

  16. Zoe, you sound disappointed with your results but I must say they really look wonderful. I admire people who are willing to experiment in the kitchen. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  17. zoe, sorry to hear that it was not up to what you expected and actually suprised to hear that. if you look at my bread recipes, you can see that i used the water roux method for my cinnamon rolls and there's also another method called gelatinised dough ( ham& cheese bun & simple plain rolls) this is just as good, soft till 3rd day but not as light as water roux. Happy trying!!

  18. OMG Zoe these Hot Cross buns look amazing!! This is one of my favorite treats!! I can smell! gloria

  19. The buns looks good, soft & yummy. And I really looking forward to your next post re. your adventures on water roux ... sounds really excited :)

  20. Holy moly! That looks incredible!!! Nice and fluffy and chocolatey too :)

  21. Oh wow! How absolutely lovely Zoe! These buns look perfect and delightful!


  22. I'm impressed with your hot cross bun experiment. The one you made looks so good and can imagine how warm, soft and sweet they must be.

  23. They look perfect! I haven't baked with water roux so I cannot really say the difference.

  24. Your bakes always look good to me. This one is no exception.

  25. Hey! My rule is if you follow me, I will follow you :)

    By the way these chocloate hot cross buns look amazing! And your pics are so good! I want to jump right into them! Hahaha!


  26. Looks super good, Zoe! I hope you have a wonderful weekend :).

  27. The buns look so tender and delicious! I wish I had one!

  28. That's why I never bake! It's too complicated :p