Hot Cross Buns


There’s a bun in the oven! Ok, not one bun, but several. And not ANY buns… hot cross buns. You know “hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot cross buns, if you have no daughters, give them to your sons, one-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot cross buns”. 

Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my marbles – it was a silly nursery rhyme we were made to learn at school. It was with reference to the small and spicy fruit buns decorated with a cross, traditionally eaten on Good Friday to celebrate the religious significance of the resurrection of Christ.

This Easter, I decided to make some hot-cross buns for the first time! Although they were a little lopsided and the glaze had semi-set before I brushed it onto the buns, they were still pretty darn good – bready, spicy, slightly sweet and damn fruity. They were so good that lashings of butter was not needed. It now makes me shudder to think that I used to buy those stodgy, factory-made buns from the supermarket, ugh!



Makes 24

Adapted from “Baker & Spice – Baking with Passion”, by Dan Lepard and Richard Whittington



For the buns

  • 10 g (1 T) dry active yeast
  • 190 ml (¾ c and 2 t) warm water, 25°C (75°F)
  • 870 g (5 ¾ c) bread/plain/all-purpose flour
  • 240 ml (1 c) cold spring water, 10°C (50°F)
  • 25 g (3 T) no-fat milk powder
  • 100 g (½ c) sugar
  • 2 t salt
  • 85 g (⅓ c and 2 tsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 40 g (⅓ c) apple pie spice
  • 100 g (⅔ c) raisins
  • 75 g (½ c) diced dried, unsulfured apricots
  • 75 g (½ c) candied peel

For the piping paste

  • 70 g (¼ c) plain/all-purpose flour
  • 4 T water
  • 2 T sugar

For the egg wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T milk

For the glaze

  • 100 g (½ c) sugar
  • 3 T water



1. In the bowl of a large stand mixer, place the yeast and warm water. Stir well to incorporate. Add 200 g (1 ⅓ c) of the flour and beat in. Allow to stand in a warm place for 1 ½-2 hours, or until the sponge has grown by at least one-third and is clearly active, with lots of bubbles.

2. Add the remaining bun ingredients into the bowl. With a dough hook attachment, mix until a dough is formed. Continue to knead with the dough hook for 8-10 minutes. The resulting dough should be soft, elastic, but not sticky.

3. Cover the bowl with cling-film (plastic wrap) and place in a warm spot until double in size, about 1 hour. Alternatively, you can put the dough in for a cold rise, that is, pop the bowl with the contents into the fridge over night. When you’re ready to proceed, take the dough out and allow to stand at room temperature (to take the chill off) for 1 hour before proceeding to step 4.

4. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces, preferably using scales to be precise. Roll each into a neat ball. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper and arrange the balls on the sheets in lines, almost but not quite touching. Cover with a slightly damp cloth and allow to sit in a warm spot for 1 hour or until the buns have doubled in size and joined together as they have expanded.

5. Halfway through the rise, preheat the oven to 260°C/500°F.

6. Make the piping paste by mixing together the flour, sugar and water until smooth. Place into a small zip lock bag, squeeze out all of the air and snip the smallest hole (around 2mm or 1/10 inch) you can into the corner of the bag.

7. Using a blunt knife or a skewer, indent each bun with a cross. Make the egg wash by mixing together the egg yolk and milk. Brush each bun with the egg wash, then pipe a pastry paste cross in the indentations.

8. Place the buns into the oven, turning down the temperature to 180°C/350°F as soon as you shut the door. Bake for 30-40 minutes, rotating the buns half way to ensure even browning. The buns are done when they are golden and slightly browning on the outside edges, they will also sound hollow when tapped on the base.

9. Transfer the baking tray to a wire rack.

10. Make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in water, and bring it to a boil. Brush the glaze over the buns. Resist the temptation of pulling the buns apart until fully cooled to room temperature. Enjoy!

One thought on “Hot Cross Buns

  1. Pingback: Hot Cross Buns – Revisited « Honey and Spice

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