Hot Cross Buns

I posted the recipe for Hot Cross Buns last year, although this year I tried a different recipe which I liked much more…. Therefore, I’ve decided to publish it here, but without deleting last year’s recipe.  This way you can look at both of them and evaluate which one suits you best. 

This recipe produced Hot Cross Buns that were full of nostalgic flavour, but also buns that were light and fluffy. Most importantly, they remained so, although if you don’t want to toast them, I find 10 seconds in the microwave helps bring them back to life if you have any left a couple of days later.  

Hot Cross Buns 2017

  • 300ml whole milk
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 40g soft, dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet brewer’s yeast
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 150g sultana
  • 50g mixed peel
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 apple, peeled and coarsley grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • extra flour for crosses
  • 3 heaped tablespoons smooth apricot jam for glaze
  1. In a saucepan, heat the milk, add the butter until it melts then remove from heat and leave to cool until it reaches a lukewarm temperature.  Stir in yeast.
  2. Put the sifted flour, salt and sugars into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk, butter and yeast mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
  3. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic kitchen wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Mix the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple, cinnamon and mixed spice together in a bowl.  Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured board, and add mixed peel, fruit & spice mixture.  Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hour more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled plastic kitchen wrap.
  5. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece if you wish to weigh each ball – I did not as is probably obvious.)  Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled plastic kitchen wrap, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hour more.
  6. Heat oven to 220°C.  Mix some flour with about 5 tablespoons of water to make the paste for the cross.  Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste.   Using a piping bag with a small nozzle, pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
  7. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  8. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt and while the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.


Hot Cross Buns 2016

Easter is approaching and although Hot Cross Buns are not found in Rome, I decided to try to make them today.  I am happy to say that they turned out beautifully and were very easy to make. As they baked, the house filled with nostalgic aromas of baking and spices, reminding me of toasted Hot Cross Buns slathered with butter that I happily devoured every year growing up in Australia.


Hot Cross Buns

  • 310ml milk
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
  • 700g plain flour (+ extra)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100g butter, melted, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 190g mixed dried fruit – sultanas, currants & mixed peel
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
* I used 1.5 teaspoons of mixed spice, but if you like spice, I would suggest adding a little more.
** I found that I used extra flour as the dough was a little ‘wet’. HCB15
  1. Sift 650g flour, spices and salt into a bowl, and stir in fruit.
  2. Melt butter and allow to cool.
  3. Heat milk and 55g sugar in a saucepan over low heat until lukewarm (tepid). Remove from heat and stir in yeast. Leave for 10 minutes until mixture is ‘foamy’.
  4. Add yeast mixture, egg and butter to flour mixture and stir until a dough is formed.  I used the dough hook of my KitchenAid.  Turn flour out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove, or until doubled in size.
  6. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and shape into balls.  (I rolled dough into a sausage shape to divide more evenly the dough into equal parts.)
  7. Place dough balls 4 x 4 in a greased 23cm square cake tin. Cover again with plastic wrap, set aside in a warm place for 30min, or until buns are well risen. Preheat oven to 200°C while you wait.
  8. Combine 45g flour with 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir in enough cold water to form a paste. (add a little at a time).  Spoon into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
  9. Bake buns for 10 minutes then lower oven temp to 180°C and continue baking for an extra 15-20min. (Mine were ready after an extra 15min). Bake until they are golden and risen.
  10. Turn buns out onto a wire rack to cool.
  11. Stir 40g sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, and bring syrup to a boil.  Brush hot syrup over buns.  Eat warm or allow to cool and store in an airtight container.