Saturday, 7 April 2012

Hot Cross Buns

I have never made hot cross buns before. It always seemed like a bit of a faff. However, I felt incomplete without them in my repertoire. My next problem was which recipe? The internet has been awash with them over the past week. Everyone has their special recipe; a flavour twist, a bun that's not a bun, one massive bun and whatnot.

I decided, for the first time in my life, that I wanted a traditional hot cross bun because that's what I like. My only exceptions being a lack of candied peel (evil) and more cinnamon (heavenly). 

Now then. In the back of my mind I was already considering the things that could go wrong. My OCD made me put a plan in place for each eventuality, and it seemed to work!
Problem 1: not enough cinnamon
Solution? Add more cinnamon. Simple.
Problem 2: them all merging into one horrific bun-nightmare
Solution? Give them more space than the original recipe specifies.
Problem 3: I become cack-handed with the piping bag and my crosses look crap
Solution? Have word with self beforehand and make a mental note to get a grip.

I decided to use a Fabulous Baker Brothers recipe I found in last month's Delicious Magazine as my guide; mainly because they looked appealing and there was no fancy faffery going on. I could change the recipe to suit my tastes quite easily. This recipe is amended slightly from the original.

Makes 16


  • 680g strong white flour
  • 14g fast action yeast 
  • 10g Maldon sea salt
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 80g soft unsalted butter (I blasted mine in the microwave for about 20 seconds)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 7g mixed spice
  • 8g cinnamon
  • 175ml warm milk
  • 175ml warm water
  • 150g sultanas
  • 40g crystallised ginger chopped into small pieces
  • Zest of one orange


  • 100g strong white flour
  • 25g melted butter
  • pinch of table salt
  • pinch of caster sugar
  • 125ml water


  • 75ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • Pinch of cinnamon


  1. Add the flour, yeast, spices, salt, sugar, butter, milk water and egg into a large bowl and bring together with a wooden spoon or by hand. If it's looking a tad dry add a little more water. It will look a bit sticky, but this is rectified by kneading.
  2. Knead for 15 minutes, or for 10 if using a mixer with a dough hook. Don't be shy, you need to stretch that gluten! You'll know it's done when the dough looks and feels much smoother. (If you are using a freestanding mixer, be careful. This is a heavy dough so the machine will need supervision!)
  3. On a floured surface, push in the zest, fruit and ginger. I did this the same way you make puff pastry - add a layer of filling then fold it over. Add more then fold again etc.
  4. Put the dough in a large bowl and cover with cling film. Put it somewhere quite warm for 45 minutes. I abandoned the airing cupboard and opted for the grill section of my oven (the main oven had another cake in it...)
  5. When it has doubled in size put the dough on a floured surface and cut in half. Repeat this process with each section of dough until you have 16 buns. For those of you as OCD as me, each one was about 90g.
  6. Place these on a large baking tray about half an inch apart. Use two trays if you have to.
  7. Cover the buns with lightly oiled cling film, and leave to prove again for about an hour. Again, I popped them in the grill section with the main oven on.


  1. Make the crosses by adding the flour, salt and caster sugar to a bowl. 
  2. Slowly add the water and melted butter.
  3. Beat it with a whisk until smooth - this takes about a minute.
  4. Pop the mixture into a piping bag (no need for a nozzle) with a hole about half a centimeter wide.
  5. When the dough balls have doubled in size, you'll find that they are touching each other slightly. 
  6. Pipe the crosses by doing all the vertical lines in one go, followed by the horizontal. One confident movement... 
  7. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes on gas 6.5/210 c.

Whilst you're waiting...

  1. When they have about five minutes to go, make the glaze.
  2. Put the boiling water, sugar and cinnamon in a small pan and boil for 30 seconds. That's it.
  3. When you bring the buns out, paint them with the glaze using a pastry brush. It won't make them soggy, just beautifully shiny.

These buns take a long time to make, but are well worth it. I served mine warm with home made lemon curd.
Please leave your thoughts below...


  1. There is nothing quite like delving into warm homemade hot cross buns at Easter! Happy Easter!

  2. They look fantastic and very professional. I would miss the mixed peel, but it's all a matter of taste!