The Fresh Loaf

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SD vs yeasted Hot Cross Buns - at last, a new winner...and it's vegan-friendly!

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rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

SD vs yeasted Hot Cross Buns - at last, a new winner...and it's vegan-friendly!

Every Easter, I try out multiple dry yeast recipes and set them up against my SD buns, which I make to a recipe I've developed over the years and now consider finely tuned. I can't better my current SD HCB recipe, and have not found a yeasted version to rival it, although last year's came quite close (see 2012 post here, which includes a link to my SD bun recipe - now simplified and tweaked a little more, but essentially the same).

This year, I felt a little despondent about testing yet more yeasted HCB recipes - just couldn't get enthused over the prospect. Then the thought struck me that I might try adapting my SD bun recipe to a yeasted version. Would that not retain the flavour profile of my SD buns that I like so much? What about the texture? I was suddenly excited.

Well, to cut to the chase, I was astonished and slightly put out by the results, especially since I was intending to give some buns to some vegan friends, so adapted the ingredients accordingly. These yeasted vegan babies turned out to be the best I have tasted in decades of questing after the ideal HCB.

I made several batches, with minor tweaks, and each was superior to my SD buns. How? A little more rise, a little lighter while being more substantial than the typical fluffy commercial product, a little less 'doughy' than the SD ones, a slightly more appealing browning of the tops, and something tantalisingly better - can't quite nail it down - about the flavour.

I gave some of both types of buns to friends (vegan and carnivore), and received raves back. However, when pressed, everyone slightly preferred the yeasted ones.

So, by unanimous verdict, I have to declare a shock new winner for 2013! I have a few more tweaks to try, but basically, I think I have my recipe for the ages at long, long last. I would never have expected that to be a dry yeasted vegan bun developed from my SD recipe, but there ya go! Baking - and life - has its mysteries, and long may that remain so.

Here are some pics:

 


SD hot cross buns

 


SD buns side-on

 


Yeasted version

 


Yeasted bun crumb shot

 


Side by side (yeasted left, SD right)

 

Cheers all, and hope you've had a peaceful and pleasant Easter.
Ross

Comments

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Beautiful Buns, all of them, Ross.

How did you adapt the Sd to the yeasted ones?

Happy easter to you.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

...and thanks for your nice words.

I adapted the yeasted buns from my SD recipe simply by replacing the SD-seeded preferment with one of the same composition leavened with 2gm of dry yeast. The preferment developed over the same period (8 hours overnight). Then I mixed up the same dough I use for my SD buns. To that point, the two recipes were identical, with the exception of the dry yeast in the preferment, an additional 2gm of yeast added to the dough, and omitting non-vegan elements such as milk powder and subbing canola oil for butter. (The tweaks I am planning next are to include the milk powder and reinstating butter as the fat component).

Once the dough was mixed, I had to deviate from my SD recipe in the proofing duration. Obviously, the yeasted buns required far less time: 1.5 hours bulk proof and 1.5 hours final proof @ 20C, compared with the SD buns 3.5 hours BP + overnight retardation in the fridge for the FP.

The baking was also different. I found the yeasted buns came out best with a bake of 20 mins, whereas the SD buns need 25 mins. Also, the yeasted ones brown quicker, so needed to be covered with foil and the temperature dropped twice during the bake. When I have time - hopefully later today - I'll post the yeasted bun recipe.

I believe the preferment stage is vital to achieving the delicious, complex flavour of these yeasted buns. All but two of the other yeasted recipes I've tried over the years have been a same-day mix and bake, without a preferment, and the flavour of the final product has never satisfied me. Ditto the texture, which was always a bit on the fluffy side for my taste - these yeasted buns are a little more substantial. The other factor that sets these buns apart from others I have tried is the dough mix, which I have tweaked for years with my SD buns to get exactly the balance of flavours I like in a hot cross bun. For example: I'm a traditionalist who considers peel essential in a hot cross bun, but it has to be just the right amount. Ditto the fruit. And I like a gently assertive spice mix, which is probably a little more to the front than in the typical commercial bun. Of course, my ideal flavour profile and texture will not be to everyone's taste, but it was most gratifying to receive such positive feedback from my friends, all of whom are honest in their appraisals (sometimes disconcertingly so) whenever I gift them some bread or other baked goods.

Cheers
Ross

 

evonlim's picture
evonlim

happy Easter.. beautiful bake

evon

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

And hope you had a great Easter, too. I know you would have enjoyed some fabbo food, being from KL! I have very fond memories of my food experiences in Malaysia.

Cheers!
Ross

yozzause's picture
yozzause

 Hi Ross 

Very nice effort or should i say efforts they all look pretty good to me and the square tin looks to have worked well,

good to get feed back from friends too for an informed decision.

One of the students from the other day commented that they didn't really like sour dough breads,  but after taking home the one that we made thought it was great bread and was treasuring the culture that i gave her and has joined TFL too!

regards Derek

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thank you.

Yeah, I think sometimes people associate SD bread with actual sourness. As we know, SD bread does not have to be sour at all, and for flavour, you can't beat a good home bake! Good on you for creating a new convert! Maybe a Perth/Freo meetup of SD bakers coming up in the future? There's at least three of us on TFL now.

Cheers!
Ross

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Ross,

These are beauties.  I am in the process of collecting HCB formulas/recipes and would love to have both of your versions.  Couldn't find them on last years post when I checked that out.  Any chance of you pointing me in the right direction or adding them to this post?  I know I sure would appreciate it :-)

Janet

 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

There's some weird circular thing happening with the link on last year's post, where it reverts to this one! Dunno what's going on there. Anyway, see what you mean about not being able to bring up my SD bun recipe posted in 2011. Try this link: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23274/sd-vs-yeasted-hot-cross-buns-year039s-winner

I'll post my yeasted bun recipe as soon as I have enough time.

Cheers
Ross

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Ross,

Thanks for the direct link.  I did find it through your first link earlier and just didn't come back here to let you know.  It does link back to this one but your other bun blog appears beneath it....How it did that I don't know.  A computer genie I assume....or an Easter bunny who is lost.

Your formula has been added to my 'to bake' list...

Take Care,

Janet

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I finally found this years 'entry'.  (Couldn't find it earlier when I was searching around.....) I did leave you a note on last years blog about these buns since I finally baked them.  Won't repeat myself here - you will have to travel back in time to catch it :-)

Take Care,

Janet

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Oh, lovely! I was crossing my fingers and silently wishing for a 2013 HCB extravaganza, and you don't disappoint, Ross!

Based on the Merriam-Webster definition of the term ("one who understands the details, technique, or principles of an art and is competent to act as a critical judge"), I'd say you're a HCB connoisseur in every sense of the word. They look stellar to me, yeasted or not. From where I sit, however, the yeasted ones appear to be ever so slightly more even and risen in the bottom photo. If someone held me at gunpoint, threatening me to pick one over the other, I think I would've followed the majority of voters and grabbed one of those on the left.

Who would've thought that a dry-yeasted, vegan variety would outpace a lactobacilli-infused, naturally leavened hot cross bun? Not me. Not in this life! But there ya go.

I've already got a few of my men staking out your blog for the 2014 HCB, Ross.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Chuffed at your comments!

Very astute observation on the side-by-side pic, and you're precisely right. The yeasted buns did rise slightly higher. Eveness was difficult to achieve, because this year I re-scaled my recipes so the buns would sit snugly in rows of three in a square tin bought just for the purpose. Although the batches came out stuck together with high rises, as I had hoped, there was a tendency for the middle ones to rise higher and more evenly, whereas those on the outside inherited the outer lean of the tin sides and the bun sides and tops ended up off-square, with crosses skewed accordingly.

And yeah, I was quite dumbfounded that a yeasted bun would assert its superiority over my cherished SD ones, let alone a vegan version! Can't help but wonder how they'll turn out once I've put the milk powder back in and changed the fat constituent from canola oil back to butter. Exciting prospect, but you never know for sure until you try...!

Cheers!
Ross

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

beautimous HCB's of all time.  If they taste half as good as they look, you have batter than just a new winner for 2013.

Happy baking,

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

I'm glad to report that they taste better than any hot cross bun I can recall. And yes, I think I've found the bun I've been after. That might come as some relief to TFLers, who may be spared this ongoing annual Easter bun comparison report in future years! Perhaps I'll be able to dispense with the text and just post a few pics!

Happy baking to you, too!

Ross

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Both of your versions are equally fantastic in their own way.

 I was ever so pleased when I heard Ciril Hitz express in his video about the advantages of using commerical yeast.  If it's good enough for CH.  I'll never look back!

I'am also a steadfast fan of the dry yeasted version of HCB's :)  though I would never pass up a SD one, especially yours.  Very nicely done comparison and lovely photos.

Sylvia 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Means a lot coming from you!

I have to admit, I was a bit sniffy about dry yeast hot cross buns until now. But I can't argue with these results, so have to agree with Mr Hitz and you - at least in this instance. I remain a SD bread devotee, but there is certainly a place for dry yeast...and sometimes it's better than SD, including in some breads (eg: ciabatta...although SD can yield a very respectable and tasty ciabatta, I have never managed to get the lightness of a yeasted one).

Really, it's silly to harbour any bias towards types of yeast, as I have tended to do. Why not enjoy the best of both worlds? Good lawd, am I maturing? I thought I had snuffled out that daunting possibility years ago...

Cheers!
Ross