Chocolate Porter Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

31 Mar

Chocolate Porter Sourdough Hot Cross BunsHappy Easter! I hope the Easter Bunny brought you all lots of chocolate. :)

This Easter I wanted to make some special hot cross buns (as in, more special than these or these). I was thinking something along the lines of “hot cross bunnies” (haha, I’m so punny… bunny… sorry) but then I came across these spiced stout sourdough beauties from Lauren Bakes (she recently posted a chocolate chip version, too), which stopped me dead in my cutesy little bunny tracks. Her recipe contained dried fruit soaked in tea plus a sourdough levain made with Guinness, which I swapped out for chocolate porter because, well, I’ll take any excuse to buy it, really.

The resulting buns are deeply spiced and studded with loads of fruit, yet have a surprisingly light crumb and, of course, they taste awesome. I used a combination of raisins, dried cranberries, and dried apricots along with candied orange peel, which plays well off the slight chocolate hint from the porter in the dough.

Despite the fact that I managed to take almost 36 hours to make them start to finish, they were actually very easy and didn’t even require kneading. All you need is sourdough and beer, two things I am very fond of and one of which I have in the fridge at all times. (I’m referring to my sourdough starter, I swear.)

Chocolate Porter Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Adapted from Lauren Bakes, who adapted it from Dan Lepard. Makes 20 buns.

The night before you want to bake, make the levain and soak the fruit. For the levain, combine in a LARGE bowl:

150 g bubbly sourdough starter (100% hydration)

375 ml chocolate porter, such as this one (or any other dark, flavourful beer)

250 g all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, allspice, and powdered ginger

Mix well to completely dissolve the starter in the beer (it will be very foamy at first).  Cover and let it ferment at room temperature overnight.

For the fruit, combine:

100 grams each diced candied orange peel, dried cranberries, raisins, and diced dried apricots (400 grams total dried fruit)

200 ml hot black tea

Stir, cover, and let soak overnight at room temperature along with the levain.

The next morning, the levain should be bubbly, slightly puffed, and quite jiggly.

To the soaked fruit, add:

1 large egg, lightly beaten

50 grams melted butter

Stir the fruit mixture into the levain, then add:

550 grams all purpose flour

50 grams granulated white sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

Mix well to form a slightly sticky dough – you may have to get in there with your hands to mix it, but resist the urge to actually knead.

Once you have a cohesive dough, let it rest for 10 minutes, then stretch the dough by grasping it from one edge, pulling it up, and tucking it across to the other side of itself. Do this several times, rotating the bowl as you go, until the dough has been stretched in all directions. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes, then repeat the stretching.

Let it rest another 30 minutes, then perform a fold of the dough: take it out of the bowl and stretch it out slightly into a rectangular shape. Stretch and fold it into thirds, like a letter, then fold it in half. Cover and let rest for an hour, the repeat the folding again. Cover and rest for 2 hours. (Note that extra time between each stretch and/or fold is not going to do any harm, especially if the temperature of your kitchen is a bit on the cool side.) Now you’re ready to shape the dough.

Divide into 20 pieces, about 100 grams each. I did this by patting the dough into a rectangle, cutting it into 4 strips lengthwise, then cutting each strip into 5 pieces. I then weighed each piece as I shaped it, adding a little extra dough or taking some off as necessary. Shape each piece into a ball by pinching the edges of the dough in towards the middle.

Place seam side-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a tea towel and proof at room temperature for 3 – 4 hours, until puffy. You should be able to poke the dough with your finger and have the indent remain. Or, you can let the buns proof overnight in the fridge or somewhere else cool (like your cold garage) – cover them lightly with plastic wrap over the tea towel (or put the tray in a large plastic bag) to prevent them from drying out, and then let them sit somewhere warm for a few hours before baking the next day.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Mix together the cross paste for the top of the buns:

scant 1/2 cup flour

1 tbsp vegetable oil

pinch of salt

1/4 cup water

Mix with a fork to make a pipeable paste – you might need a few extra drops of water. Spoon the paste into a piping bag (disposable is very convenient here) or Ziplock baggie and snip off the tip. With a steady hand, pipe crosses on the buns. Bake in the preheated 350˚F oven for 25 – 35 minutes, until golden brown on top.

While the buns are baking, mix together a glaze of:

1 tbsp granulated white sugar

1 tbsp boiling water

Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then brush over the baked buns as soon as they come out of the oven to give them a glossy, sticky top. Let the buns cool slightly on a rack. These are wonderful warm from the oven, but they are also equally good toasted and smeared with butter and jam.

This post has been YeastSpotted! And also submitted to Panissimo, a showcase of breads hosted by Barbara and Sandra.

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30 Responses to “Chocolate Porter Sourdough Hot Cross Buns”

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide March 31, 2013 at 6:12 am #

    Those are beautiful. Happy Easter!

  2. Spiceroots March 31, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Happy Easter! The Buns are delectable. It must be the beer ;)

  3. wendyjv March 31, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Oh, I can just taste them! I wish they were spelt and right here, right now… Happy Easter to you and Nate :)

  4. Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen) March 31, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    Happy Easter Korena! I am sure these little hot cross buns were a big hit! I am sure it was the beer that made them extra delicious, but I also think it might be your starter dough. I so have to get making some of that so I can get cracking with a little baking… Take Care, BAM

  5. Lauren April 2, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    These look lovely! I’m so glad you tried them!
    The Boy loves Chocolate Porter so I might have to steal that idea.
    I can keep making hot cross buns even though Easter’s over, right?!

    • Korena in the Kitchen April 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Yes, absolutely! ;) I discovered a great way to use up leftover hot cross buns (if there are any!): slice then horizontally in thirds and make french toast. So yummy!

  6. Bread and Companatico April 2, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    so these were the babies fermenting in the garage? great job Korena, you truly can master sweet natural leavened goodies like and better than a prof. and… would love to have them also in our coming showcase if you don’t mind…

    • Korena in the Kitchen April 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

      These are those babies. I’d love to put them in your showcase, thanks for the reminder :)

  7. Sibella at bakingwithsibella.com April 7, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    They are just perfect Korena! YUM! I hope you had a nice Easter! <3

  8. narf77 April 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    I now know almost 12 months to the day what I will be baking for next Easter :)

    • Korena in the Kitchen April 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      Haha, isn’t it a pain how all these great Easter recipes come out AFTER Easter?! I’ve got a few already bookmarked for next year, too ;)

      • narf77 April 8, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

        Yours is the best…plus Steve is jumping around on the sidelines telling me that you can ONLY buy chocolate porter by the case. I would have thought you could buy it singularly but nope…ONLY by the case ;)

  9. michaelawah April 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    i’ve made stout hot cross buns before, and these just remind me of what i’ve missed!! Though you’ve upped the flavour with chocolate porter! does it really taste of chocolate?? These look seriously good, and i imagine how nice it must have smelt while they were baking away…

    • Korena in the Kitchen April 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      The chocolate porter was pretty subtle – I imagine you could add a little bit of cocoa powder to the dough for a more intense chocolate flavour. But yes, they smelled so good in the oven!

  10. Jenni (@GingeredWhisk) April 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Oh my gosh, how am I just now seeing this bread?! LOVE IT!

  11. Helen July 4, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    I can’t find this beer anywhere What website did you buy it from ?

    • Korena in the Kitchen July 4, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      It’s from Phillip’s Brewery in Victoria, BC, and I’m not sure how widely available it is. You could use another kind of chocolate porter or even plain porter, like Guinness. :)

      • Helen July 5, 2013 at 12:11 am #

        wow korena , I didn’t know you are Canadian its so awesome. Do you speak any french?

        • Korena in the Kitchen July 5, 2013 at 7:14 am #

          Yep, Canadian, eh! I was in French immersion in high school but that was a looooooong time ago, so my French speaking skills are rusty, to say the least! I can still understand it pretty well though.

  12. Briar Milligan September 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    I’m making these now and really excited to see how they turn out! Just a point – in the recipe you don’t mention adding 250g of flour to the levain. I was wondering why mine didn’t look right – so I checked out Lauren Bakes’s recipe and after I added the flour it looks fine. Just thought I would mention it in case it slips other people up.

    • Korena in the Kitchen September 6, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      Yikes, sorry about that! Thanks for catching that and letting me know!

      I hope they turn out well :)

  13. Angie C @ Infinite Health & Wellness April 6, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Oh my, this looks insanely delicious! I am going to make this next week for Easter! But I’m going to use unbleached white spelt in combination with unbleached white wheat flours. And I will be using a rye starter for the levain.

    • Korena in the Kitchen April 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

      I bet these will be really good with the variety of flours you plan on using! Let me know how they turn out :)

      • Angie C @ Infinite Health & Wellness April 16, 2014 at 12:10 am #

        Hi again! Just wondering if the black tea is strained from the fruit?

        • Korena in the Kitchen April 16, 2014 at 10:17 am #

          Hi Angie, nope, the tea stays with the fruit! Part of it will have soaked into the fruit, and the remaining liquid will help to hydrate the dough.

          • Angie C @ Infinite Health & Wellness April 17, 2014 at 4:00 am #

            Oh my goodness… my buns turned out delectable… I used a rye starter, mixture of wholemeal spelt, white spelt and premium bakers flour. I added in some other spices as well and I used dried sour cherries, cranberries and golden raisins. For the sugar, I used coconut sugar.

            Thank you for an awesome recipe :D I am going to be blogging about this :)

            • Korena in the Kitchen April 17, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

              Yay! I’m so glad they turned out well for you – they sound delicious! I can’t wait to read your blog post :D

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