Red Fox and Chilli Hot Cross Buns
- 275ml/1.1 cups milk, warm (not hot)
7g/0.2oz fast-action dried yeast
2 tbsp caster sugar
325g/12oz strong white bread flour
300g/10.5oz plain flour, plus extra to dust
1 tsp fine salt
½-1 tsp mild chilli powder
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
3 medium free-range eggs (2 beaten together, plus 1 beaten separately for the glaze)
45g/1.5oz butter, softened
250g/8.8oz Belton Farm Red Fox Cheese, finely crumbled and grated - 200g/7oz for in the dough mixture, 50g/1.5oz for topping
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
300g/10.5oz streaky bacon (optional)
Put the warm milk, yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir to dissolve the yeast and sugar, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for 15 minutes for the yeast to activate (the mix will go a bit frothy).
Add the flours, salt, spices and the 2 beaten eggs to the yeast mixture, then bring together with a wooden spoon or mix on a low speed until the mixture begins to come together into a slightly sticky dough.
If making by hand, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the butter, piece by piece, until combined. If making in a stand mixer, turn up to medium and add the butter in the same way. Either way, knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Add the cheese and chillies, then knead until evenly incorporated. Lightly grease the bowl, return the dough to it, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
Turn out the dough onto the work surface and divide into 12 even pieces. Shape into buns and set 2cm apart on the prepared baking sheet so they have space to expand. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove (rise a second time once shaped) at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Put all the ingredients for the cross topping in a mixing bowl, whisk until smooth and thick, then scrape into the prepared piping bag.
Brush the buns with beaten egg and allow to dry, sprinkle over the extra grated cheese. Pipe over the crosses, then brush with egg again. Put the buns in the oven, turn it down to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and cooked. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve, fresh or toasted, with butter and fried bacon.