Making hot cross buns have been part of my Easter tradition since I was a little girl. Over the years I’ve used all sorts of recipes from no knead to more traditional, changing up the spices, with and without an egg, you name it. But the recipe I’m sharing here has become my standard. I adjust it a little bit each year, but the basics stay the same.
If you’ve never made hot-cross buns before I do suggest giving it a go. They’re also a great way to get into bread making as it’s not quite so important that they rise as much as a loaf of bread.
Bee’s Hot Cross Buns
- 1 tbsp dry yeast
- heaped tbsp honey
- 1 cup of slightly warmed milk
- 3 cups white plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 cup wholemeal (whole-wheat) plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp allspice
- 60 g butter
- 3/4 cup sultanas
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1/2 mixed peel
- 1 cup water, warmed
- 1 tbsp marmalade, apply jelly or apricot jam
- Combine yeast, milk and honey in a small bowl. Stir until yeast dissolves and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy
- In a large bowl add the flours, salt and spices. Rub in butter. Stir in dried fruit
- Add yeast mixture and stir. Add extra water and stir to form a rather sticky dough (you may need a bit more of less water depending on your flour etc)
- Cover the bowl and dough with a tea towel and leave in a warm spot to rise for an hour
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until you feel the constancy change to be smoother. Expect to use a decent amount of flour here because the dough started off quite sticky
- Divide dough into 16 pieces. Knead each piece a little as you shape it into a ball. Place the dough balls in a buttered/oiled baking dish so that they just touch each other (like in the picture above).
- Cover the baking dish and dough balls with a tea towel and leave to rise for an hour or until they approximately double in size. When 15 minutes remain turn the oven on to 150 °C and make the flour paste (see below).
- Using a piping bag add crosses of flour paste to each bun
- Place in oven and turn up to 220 °C. After 20 min reduce heat to 180 °C and bake for a further 10 minutes or until banging on the top of your buns gives a hollow sound.
- Place your buns on a rack to cool. Microwave your marmalade for 20 sec and then brush across the surface of your buns for a nice glazed look. (You can sieve the marmalade but I normally just pick out the big pieces and don’t worry about it too much).
Flour paste: Mix together until smooth: 2 heaped dessert spoons of white plain flour, 1 dessert spoon of ice sugar and 8 desert spoons of water. This makes just enough.
My crosses are always kind of splodgey looking. But that’s the way I like it because it shows immediately that they are home-made and full of all sorts of artisan-like goodness and that they most definitely have not been made in an exacting commercial kitchen that skimps on fruit and uses preservatives.
Happy Easter everyone whether you commemorate it in a religious sense, are catching up with family or just enjoying a good excuse to have some chocolate eggs.