Annika Eats

Hot Cross Buns

This is a no fuss hot cross bun recipe that is filled with mixed fruit, all purpose flour, instant yeast and more. A fluffy brioche like bread that you can whip up in under 2 hours making for a delicious  breakfast treat. 

The season of lent calls for some traditional recipes that we make at home every single year. These hot cross buns are a perfect start to the entire Easter series round up. When I was younger I wasn’t a fan of these recipes cause I felt they had no flavor so mum would toast it, butter it up, add sugar and I would love dipping the toast in milk or coffee. Since then I learned how to make them at home and honestly they have been so good. My whole experience with hot cross buns changed. 

There is no comparison with homemade hot cross buns as they are exceptionally delicious, fluffy, light, airy and rich. This recipe makes 10 large buns and 20 smaller buns. The crosses on top are not necessary incase you are not religious. I add them on as it is traditional to the hot cross buns I’ve had as a child. There are a few substitutes for this bread recipe and you could follow them with the instructions below to achieve the perfect bun. Also there are a few pressure points to make this recipe successful every single time. 

What ingredients do you need to make these Hot Cross Buns?

To make these hot cross buns we need all purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, salt, butter, milk and egg. Additionally we add a mixture of spices such as cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, all spice, nutmeg powder and we add a mixture of dried fruit such as golden raisins, black raisins, fruit peel, chopped dates and apricots. I like to give the buns an egg wash before baking and a good brush of honey after baking. You will need oil to help roll the dough into buns, this helps it from sticking.

What equipment do you need to make these Hot Cross Buns?

We need a large mixing bowl, a wooden spoon or your hands to mix the dough together. Cling film to cover the dough. A baking tray and baking paper to line the try. A dough scraper would really help with cutting and handling the dough. If you do not have a scrapper you can use a rubber spatula help with that. 

What substitutes can you use to make these Hot Cross Buns?

Flour –

I have made these buns with all purpose flour, self raising flour and bread flour. I have tried making them with half whole meal flour and half all purpose flour – the result is a little denser bun but they taste delicious. 

Eggless –

To keep these buns eggless you can swap the egg in the dough for 30 ml extra milk. As for the egg wash you can use whipping cream instead. 

Butter –

Any butter works here, a vegan butter spread works well too. 

Sugar –

Ive used granulated white sugar to make this recipe but you can use brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar as well. 

Milk – 

I have made this recipe with full fat milk but you can use vegan mylks as well. I have tried making this recipe with water and it works but the flavor is not as rich as it is with milk. 

Spices –

I love the addition of cinnamon, cardamom, all spice powder or nutmeg powder as well. But you can use any spices you like. I have also used lemon and orange zest as well in the dough. A little vanilla gives it a more dessert vibe. 

Yeast – 

You need this to make the recipe. I have used instant yeast as it works faster but active dry yeast also works absolutely fine. If you are using fresh yeast, use half the amount suggested in the recipe. 

Honey –

If you don’t like the taste of honey brush the hot buns with marmalade or apricot jam as well. 

How to make the Hot Cross Buns?

If your dried fruits are hard hydrate them in a little warm water for a few minutes before starting. We start by blooming the yeast in a small bowl with warm milk and sugar. Stir and set aside for 10 mins until frothy. In a large mixing bowl add the flour and butter, rub them together until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the softened dry fruits into the bowl with the salt, spice and distribute evenly. Add the egg and milk yeast mixture. Mix everything together until combined and no dry pockets. The dough will be sticky and that’s perfect. Clean your hands using the scraper and add olive onto your hands and the dough. Using the scrapper bring it together and briefly shape with your hands. Place the dough into the oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for over an hour until doubled in volume. 

After the dough has risen, remove the covering and oil your hands well before knocking the dough back. Transfer to a clean work surface and bang the dough onto the surface multiple times until it is smooth and not sticky. As and when required add more oil on your hands or the surface to avoid ti from sticking. Portion the dough into 10 large pieces, roll the dough into balls and transfer to the baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and leave to rise for 15 – 20 mins until they are bigger. 

At this time, preheat the oven to 180℃. Let us make the mixture for the crosses, mix the flour and water together until combined, transfer to a piping bag. Once the buns have risen, brush them with an egg wash and pipe them with the cross mixture. Bake them for 25-28 mins. They will be done when they are golden and risen, they will also have a hollow sound if you tap them. They will have a crust while they are hot. Brush them with honey when they come out of the oven and let them cool down a little before serving. Serve with butter, sugar, coffee, milk, honey.

Note: If you are making 20 smaller buns I would recommend baking the bread for 18-20 mins until done. 

Make ahead tip

You can make these buns the night before, mix the dough together and leave it to rise overnight in the fridge (upto 16 hours). I the morning, let the dough come to room temperature before knocking back and shaping as needed. You can also shape the dough the night before and in the morning let it come to room temperature, let it rise for 30 mins further and then brush with egg wash and follow the rest of the recipe. 

How to store the Hot Cross Buns?

With the leftover buns you can store them in airtight containers or zip lock bags and place them in the fridge for 3-4 days. Or you can tore them in the freezer for upto 1 month. But I would suggest making fresh toast, follow my recipe here using the leftover buns in place of the brioche bread. 

Now that we have covered how to make these buns let us get into the kitchen. Happy Baking Ninjas!

Hot Cross Buns

This is a no fuss hot cross bun recipe that is filled with mixed fruit, all purpose flour, instant yeast and more. A fluffy brioche like bread that you can whip up in under 2 hours making for a delicious breakfast treat.
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack, Bread, tea time, High Tea
Cuisine American, British

Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Scraper
  • Cling film
  • Baking tray
  • Baking paper
  • Brush

Ingredients
  

For the Buns

  • 380 gm Warm milk
  • 14 gm Yeast
  • 60 gm Castor sugar
  • 600 gm Flour
  • 80 gm Butter cold
  • 140 gm Dried fruit hydrated
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

For the Crosses:

  • 50 gm Flour
  • 50 gm Water

Optional:

  • 1 Egg egg wash
  • 3 tbsp Honey

Instructions
 

  • If your dried fruits are hard hydrate them in a little warm water for a few minutes before starting. We start by blooming the yeast in a small bowl with warm milk and sugar. Stir and set aside for 10 mins until frothy.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the flour and butter, rub them together until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the softened dry fruits into the bowl with the salt, spices and distribute evenly. Add the egg and milk yeast mixture. Mix everything together until combined and no dry pockets. The dough will be sticky and that’s perfect. Clean your hands using the scraper and add olive onto your hands and the dough.
  • Using the scrapper bring it together and briefly shape with your hands. Place the dough into the oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for over an hour until doubled in volume.
  • After the dough has risen, remove the covering and oil your hands well before knocking the dough back. Transfer to a clean work surface and bang the dough onto the surface multiple times until it is smooth and not sticky. As and when required add more oil on your hands or the surface to avoid ti from sticking.
  • Portion the dough into 10 large pieces, roll the dough into balls and transfer to the baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover and leave to rise for 15 - 20 mins until they are bigger.
  • At this time, preheat the oven to 180℃. Let us make the mixture for the crosses, mix the flour and water together until combined, transfer to a piping bag.
  • Once the buns have risen, brush them with an egg wash and pipe them with the cross mixture. Bake them for 25-28 mins. They will be done when they are golden and risen, they will also have a hollow sound if you tap them. They will have a crust while they are hot.
  • Brush them with honey when they come out of the oven and let them cool down a little before serving. Serve with butter, sugar, coffee, milk, honey.

Notes

  • If the milk yeast and sugar mixture doesn’t rise and become frothy then the yeast is dead, make sure to check your expiration date not he packet.
  • Do not skip on both the proofing times. This ensures the buns will be fluffy and light once baked.
  • The egg wash gives a deep golden color on the buns hence I use it.
  • The honey brushed on the warm buns make for a sticky and sweeter bun.

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