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14 Apr 2017

Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Bun Loaf

Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Bun Loaf | Hungry Little Bear

Happy Good Friday! Hope you're all enjoying a bank holiday in the sun and making the most of lazy mornings. I know I am!

Let’s start this by saying that I’ve never had a successful bread/dough bake. Ever. They’ve all been fails and it’s been something I’ve wanted to work on this year.

Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Bun Loaf | Hungry Little Bear

I’m a cake person. Although don’t get me wrong, I love bread. I just don’t love the time it takes to make it, knead it, then prove it, then knead it again, and then prove again. It’s all just too long for me. Brownies, cookies and cake are just so much quicker and you get that instant satisfaction with them too.

Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Bun Loaf | Hungry Little Bear

Bread is definitely a labour of love and two of these little loaves are proof of that, because they kept me up until midnight with its proving and baking time. I blame our house only having one warm option for proving dough. That and I started baking late at night, which is never a good thing.

But it was so worth it in the end because it wasn’t a disaster and it tastes delicious. I think this will be a firm favourite of mine every Easter/Spring from now on.

Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Bun Loaf | Hungry Little Bear

Chocolate and orange is one of my favourite flavour combinations (looking at you Terry) and the smell of this dough rising is also now one of my favourite scent combinations. I’ve used dark chocolate in this loaf and you can substitute for any chocolate you like, but I’d recommend it have a high cocoa percentage because of the melting temperature.

Because the chocolate chunks are already mixed into the dough before its first warm prove, it can prove to be a bit messy with the warmed choc chunks when it has a quick second knead before its final prove. But if anything, as it slightly melts, it gives a lovely swirl inside the loaf.

Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Bun Loaf | Hungry Little Bear

The orange zest is just enough of a citrus hit and works oh so well with the spices that makes up a regular hot cross bun. I’ve still included the standard mixed fruit in the loaf, but you can omit this and add in more chocolate if you like.

Served as it is with a cup of tea, or if you prefer your buns toasted, then slice up a piece and place under the grill to get crispy! Top the toasted slice with a bit of butter or nutella if you fancy treating yourself. It is Easter after all...

Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Bun Loaf | Hungry Little Bear

Chocolate and Orange Hot Cross Bun Loaf

Makes: 2 loaves

250g bread flour
250g plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp easy bake yeast
75g caster sugar
zest of 2 oranges
150g dried mixed fruit
200g dark chocolate
250ml semi skimmed milk
50g butter
1 medium egg

To decorate:
25g plain flour
1/tsp sunflower oil
4tsp water
1 tbsp icing sugar

2 tbsp water
3 tbsp caster sugar


  1. Sift the flours and spice together in a large bowl. Add the yeast, sugar, zest, dried fruit and dark chocolate. 
  2. Heat the milk and butter together in the microwave, until the butter has just melted. Leave to cool until it is lukewarm to touch, but not too hot to melt the chocolate in the mixture. 
  3. Once cooled, add 1 egg and the milk mixture to the flour mix, and stir until combined into a dough. It will be a wet dough, don't worry!
  4. Flour a surface well and knead the dough for around 10 minutes. Oil a large bowl and place the dough inside and cover with oiled clingfilm to rise in a warm spot. Leave until it has doubled in size. 
  5. When it has finished, tip the mixture out on a floured surface and give a firm punch to knock the air out, then knead for a few extra minutes until smooth. Split the dough into two, and then split each half into 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. 
  6. Grease two loaf tins with sunflower oil and place 6 balls into each tin. Cover the tins with oiled clingfilm before returning to a warm place to rise further until they have doubled again. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C/gas mark 6 before making the crosses for the top. Mix together the flour, sunflower oil, water and icing sugar in a small bowl until smooth and put into a piping bag or zip lock bag. 
  8. Remove the tins from rising when they have doubled and pipe crosses across the top of them. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on them after 20 minutes so they don't brown too much. 
  9. Remove from the oven and heat the water and sugar together on a low heat, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and brush the sugar syrup onto the top of the loaves until the tops are covered. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing to cool further. Or slice up while it's still warm , because that's pretty tasty too!
This loaf will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

What have you been baking this Easter?

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