Vegan Hot Cross Buns - For Breadline Africa

Out of the box

There is something delicious and tasty about the name, so delicious that it is the only bread that has a poem dedicated to it(perhaps!), and all of us must have sung it to tune a zillion times :)


One a penny, two a penny
Hot Cross Buns
If you have no daughters
Give it to your sons
One a penny, two a penny
Hot Cross Buns

The poem makes me nod my head to tune, and today when I baked it there were a lot of other things than just a tune to it. First of all I think it had everything to do with the tagging, and the good feeling that made it turn out perfect. I too got tagged for baking for Africa! Arundathi of 'My Food Blog' tagged me when I was just thinking I better bake on my own rather than wait to be tagged:)

What is this baking about?
'Breadline Africa' is a South African based charity organisation that seeks to put a lasting end to poverty in Africa. You can find out more about them here. The 'Blogger Bake Off' which started on 15th October is one of their many projects aimed at poverty alleviation. I am honoured and feel blessed to be a part of their project, though this might be only a drop in the ocean. Here is a small clip from their site to let you know the aim:

"The Blogger Bake Off is an online campaign that challenges bloggers to get involved by baking bread, and then acting by donating to end poverty. And then, challenge their readers and five other bloggers to do the same. With the money raised, we will be supporting grass roots community projects aimed at ending poverty and hunger in Africa. We’ll be placing container kitchens, vegetable gardens and more in poor communities, sending emergency food relief where needed and helping these poor communities to help themselves.

The rules for bloggers are outlined below:

  1. If you are tagged, copy and paste the rules into your post.
  2. Bake bread, do something you wouldn’t normally do, and blog about it. Upload your picture and recipe.
  3. Give dough, donate to Breadline Africa and help us end poverty.
  4. Tag five bloggers, and ping us so we know you’ve done so.

The person who raises the most funds will get to name a Breadline Africa community kitchen and win $500 Amazon Vouchers. There are also three minor prizes of $250 Amazon vouchers for people who receive the most votes in the following categories: Most Unusual Recipe; Most Nutritious Recipe and Most Traditional Recipe."

So dear readers, if you can please donate for a good cause.

I also made some aloo tikki burgers and buns as made from Rose's site but they shall come later. I decided that it is the buns that would go for the blogger bake off simply because it has a little bit of magic in it. Not in terms of the general ingredients but in terms of the feeling with which I baked it. I had a sense of fulfillment at the end of it and it began with a song in my heart, even as it was getting done in the oven I felt like Mary Poppins(The Musical)!


Skip it if you like for this is going to take some time:)

I tend to go on and on but what is started has to be told:). When she was really really young, a little girl of about seven and when Jr.P was about four I started reading out Mary Poppins(The Book) to my children. Mary Poppins is amongst my favourite childrens' stories and if you have read it I am sure you know what I mean even if I don't exactly put it into right words. The one thing the kids kept telling me was - "Mummy, if only you were Mary Poppins." It used to leave me feeling a little vacant, because I knew exactly what they meant. I too used to feel that when I first read Mary Poppins when I was 14, so it was quite natural for them to feel it at seven! For a long time I have been hunting for books by P.L.Travers but unfortunately these books are not available easily. I had the first and second volumes specially gifted by H (Not I, but the one who gifted the OTG) along with the audio rendition by Sophie Thompson (5 Stars). I got the first one by luck - someone gifted it to H, and since he would not bother to read it out to his son he gave it to me knowing I will put it to good use!

Mary Poppins is the story of a couple, Mr. and Mrs.Banks who are both a little careless, and are on the hunt for a nanny for their children Michael and Jane. Mary Poppins arrives in their house with the East Wind and she is just a wee bit magic! The story revolves around her and the children and how she takes them on lovely adventures, and leaves them in the end, a little sad but expectant, when she goes off with the West Wind. Michael and Jane, are two children who are not really well taken care of until her arrival and she fills their days with joy as long as she is with them. There comes the connection to the bread. It is sort of haphazard but this is the joy that went into the bread, and I believe the magic in it will remain in the post and since this is going for a good cause what better way to pack and send it with, then a little bit of magic - which we could all do with every once in a while especially if it brings some good tidings:)

If you haven't read the book yet - go grab it!! It is available only in UK and the US, and that too limited editions. I am still looking for the rest of the series! Believe me, this is one book you will enjoy as much as your child! I have heard the Broadway version of Mary Poppins in UK is very good and if you have a chance just don't miss it!

I am sure you must have heard or seen the movie - the story differs a bit from the book but Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are memorable as Mary Poppins and the Matchstick Man. See 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' on You tube and decide for yourself.

That's what the recipe is all about - a lot of good feeling, healthy ingredients and that little magic called hope carrying with it the message of peace, self - dependence and hopes for each person in Africa to get their basic right to food, housing and shelter! If I could I would give this to each one but I feel blessed that I am chosen for such a noble mission - Three cheers to Breadline Africa!

"Hot Cross Buns" - For the interesting history please see Diana's Newsletter.

Recipe sourced from 'The Bread Book" by Sara Lewis(Pg.120) and adapted to suit my preferences.


500g - Whole wheat flour (I used Ashirwaad Atta)

3 tbsps - Margarine

1 tbsp. - Stevia syrup

1 tsp. - Salt

1 + 1/2 tsps. - Spice powder (Mix of more cinnamon powder, little black pepper, and little nutmeg)

30g - Fresh yeast cake

275ml - Natural unsweetened soymilk

25g - Firm tofu beaten with a little soymilk from above to a smooth paste


5 tbsp. - APF beaten well to a thick custard consistency with 2 tbsps soymilk


4 tbsps. soymilk + 2 tbsp. sugar heated till syrupy.


1. Place flour in a non-reactive bowl. Add the margarine, stevia, salt, spice powder and crumbled yeast. Add the tofu eggnog, and the warm soymilk.

2. Bring everything together and knead the dough. Mine became very sticky, so I dipped a finger in oil and kneaded for a minute more to make a smooth soft and elastic dough.

3. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a clingfilm for about 45minutes or till doubled. Mine was fast due to the fresh yeast.

4.Tip on your worksurface and knead again deflating it. Divide into 12 equal pieces and shape into spheres. Place them apart on butter paper in your baking pan. I put in 6 at a time.

5. Leave in a warm place to rise for 30minutes.

6. Bake for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200 deg. C.

7. Remove and pipe the flour paste like crosses on each bun. I simply used a spoon and dragged the paste which is why it is uneven.

Peek a boo

I am tagging four fellow foodies who agreed to bake, and am looking for a fifth one:)

Courtney of Coco Cooks, Simran of Bombay Foodie, Pallavi of All Thingz Yummy and Susan of Wild Yeast. I am looking forward to some wonderful aroma from these kitchens:).

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