When I was growing up, every Easter the shops would be filled with Hot Cross Buns, they’d start magically appearing as soon as Christmas was done. They were good, but nothing beat the ones my Mum would make – fresh from the oven, the kitchen filling with their delicious aroma.
There’s nothing quite like them; a soft and tender bun, packed with dried fruit and mixed spices, cut in half and slathered in butter that melts and drips onto your fingers. They’re simply irreplaceable in my book. Since then, I’ve made my own most years. They’ll never live up to the memory of my childhood ones, but I reckon these are pretty darn close!
That’s why we’re making these Hot Cross Buns this weekend, they’re a special request from one of our Patreon’s, and Chef Kit couldn’t be happier to share her recipe. So, if you’re wondering about how to make hot cross buns for Easter this year, we have you covered! You can also grab a ticket to our live-streamed cook along on Saturday, for hands-on instruction and tips.
Time to get baking hot cross buns!
If you’ve ever wondered how to bake hot cross buns at home, by the end of this post you’ll be baking them anytime the fancy strikes. Supermarkets might have you believe it’s easier to just buy theirs. But we’d challenge anyone to choose the mass-produced over these tender, homemade, fresh from the oven buns. Even more so when they’re super easy to make!
The key with these buns is moisture – too much, and they’re claggy, too little and they’re the hardest buns on the planet. So, the trick is to add moisture carefully and keep an eye on that dough. The recipe below should provide you with the perfect proportions. However, depending on where you are in the world, humidity and flour will vary. The key then is to adjust as you see fit – literally, as your eye and fingers read the signs.
If your dough is looking too wet, carefully add more flour, say 1 tablespoon at a time. Equally, if your dough is looking dry, add water at about 1tbsp at a time. Your dough should be soft, smooth and pliable, but not stick to you or the bowl. Another point is proving; you need somewhere that’s warm and draught-free. The temperature should be around 30˚C/86˚F for the best results.
Personally, I’d recommend you use a stand-mixer; it’s easier and quicker – getting you to the eating part sooner! But, if you don’t have one, don’t despair. These buns can be made the old-fashioned way just using your hands – it’s what my Mum did!
I’ve translated this recipe into weight/measurements for all readers, but using measuring cups, spoons, and a jug is helpful! You’ll also want a good baking tray, and some parchment/baking paper, so nothing gets stuck. You can use a ziplock bag to pipe on the paste, but I prefer a reusable piping bag.
The ingredients for hot cross buns is quite straight forward. You probably already have most of them!
Hot Cross Buns Pantry goods:
Hot Cross Buns Fresh goods:
That’s pretty much everything you need to know, now let’s get on with the recipe!
Hot Cross Buns
- Large mixing bowl or Standmixer
- Measuring jug, cups, spoons
- Rolling pin
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper/baking paper
- Small saucepan
- 4 cups plain flour (529g/18.7oz)
- 14 g (standard) sachets dried yeast (.5oz)
- 1/4 cup caster sugar (55g/1.9oz)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups currants, or sultanas, or dried mixed fruit of your choice (240g/8.5oz)
- 2 tbsp butter, melted (40g/1.5oz)
- 300 ml milk, warmed (10.5floz/1¼cups)
- 2 lrg eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup plain flour (63g/2oz)
- 4 to 5 tablespoons water (65g/2.2floz)
- 2 tsp granular/caster sugar
- 1/3 cup water (75ml/2.6oz)
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar (40g/1.5oz)
- In a small mixing bowl, activate the yeast with the warmed milk and sugar.
- Combine the flour, spice, and dried fruit in the bowl of a stand-mixer. When the yeast mix is foaming, whisk in the eggs and melted butter. Add the liquid yeast ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until a soft dough is formed.
- Note: this stage can also be done by hand, but will take a little longer.
- Knead the dough in the stand-mixer for 7.5mins on a low-medium speed, or until the dough is smooth. (This can also be done by hand, but will take about 10mins)You can leave the dough in this bowl to prove, simply cover with clean tea towel, and place in a warm and draught-free place for 90mins, or until doubled in size.
- On a large baking tray, place a liner of parchment/baking paper.Knock back/punch down the dough and it will return to it's original volume. Give it a quick knead, for about 30secs, and then divide into 12 equal sized balls - use scales for this if possible.
- Roll each piece of dough until it forms a ball shape, and place onto the baking tray. Cover with the tea towel and leave to prove again for about 30mins/until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 190°C/375˚F or 170˚C/330˚F fan-force.
Flour Paste for the Cross
- Mix the flour, sugar, and water together in a small bowl until smooth. You can add a little more water if the paste is too thick - but, it should barely dribble off a spoon! Place in either a small piping bag with fine nozzle, or into a small plastic/ziplock bag, cutting off one corner so as to imitate a piping bag.
- Pipe the paste over the tops of the buns to form crosses, when finished, place the buns in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are golden-brown on top and cooked through.
Glaze - post bake
- Mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan, dissolving the sugar over low heat. Boil for 3 minutes, and brush over the tops of the buns as soon as they come out of the over.
- Leave the buns too cool to room temperature, and then serve with butter.
- 2tbsp cocoa powder + choc chips.
- ¼cup dried apple (diced) + 2tsp ground cinnamon.
- 3tbsp pumpkin spice mix.
- Any other combination you prefer.
Thanks for checking out this week’s blog post on how to make Easter Hot Cross Buns! I hope you’ve enjoyed the recipe, and that you’re able to join me, Chef Kit, for the next cooking workshop this Saturday.
If you do attend the cook alongs, please share a photo of your dish on your social media accounts, and use the hashtag: #LarderPantryandGarden.