Hot cross buns


I am sorry there is no crumb shot.  We haven’t eaten the buns yet, they are for tomorrow.  I am a stickler for tradition.  Hot cross buns can only be eaten on Good Friday.  This is not on religious grounds (those who know me know I missed out on the religious gene) but as a protest against supermarkets putting hot cross buns on their shelves just after Christmas.

This recipe is from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman.  His recipes are primarily in commercial quantities – in US measurements and metric but he also includes quantities for the home baker  in US measurements.  Usually, I make one tenth of the metric recipe but in this case that would give me 14.4 buns.  The home baker quantities makes, a more socially acceptable, 12 buns so I have converted the US measurements into metric.  Because of this, the quantities are a bit strange but don’t worry, it works.  I have made this recipe using these quantities several times.

Sponge Ingredients:

  • 37g bread flour
  • 190g milk
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 340g bread flour
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 1  egg
  • 57g sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp ground allspice
  • the sponge (from above)
  • 114g currants
  • 37g mixed peel (orange and lemon)

Piping Paste Ingredients:*

  • 85g pastry flour
  • 25g vegetable oil
  • 60g water

*This is not Jeffrey Hamelman’s paste but a much simpler version by Susan at Wild Yeast.

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 30g sugar
  • 30g water



  1. Pour the milk into a small bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk, then whisk until combined.
  3. Add the flour and the sugar and whisk until smooth.
  4. Cover and set aside for 30 – 40 minutes.

Final dough

  1. Put the flour into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook.
  2. Add the butter and mix until combined.
  3. Add the egg, sugar, allspice and salt and mix until combined.
  4. Add the sponge and mix on low for 3 minutes. During this stage you may have to add a wee bit more milk or flour, depending on the consistency of your dough.
  5. After the initial three minutes, put the mixer on the second speed and mix for an additional three minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and come together.
  6. Add the currants and peel.  Mix on low until evenly distributed.
  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 30 minutes.
  8. Do a stretch and fold.  Return the dough to the bowl and leave for another 30 minutes.
  9. Line a baking tray or, better still, a pan with baking paper (my pan was 33cm x 23cm and it was perfect.)  A pan is better as it keeps the buns close together and stops them spreading too much.
  10. Weigh the dough and then divide it into 12 even pieces.
  11.  Lightly knead each piece and form into a ball.
  12. Place the balls onto the tray quite close together, cover with plastic wrap and leave for about one hour.  When ready, the buns should have expanded and be touching each other.

Whilst the buns are proving:

Make the paste for the crosses.

Combine all ingredients.  You want the paste quite thick (not runny) but not so thick you can’t pipe it.

Now make the glaze:

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Bake the buns:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220°C.
  2. Fill a piping bag with the paste.  Pipe the crosses on the buns.  Use a nozzle with a round tip and a small (5 mils) opening.
  3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.  If the buns start to get too brown, reduce the temperature to 200°C.
  4. Take the buns out of the oven and immediately brush with the glaze.

Mr Hamelman advises the buns are best eaten fresh but day-old buns can be reheated successfully covered in aluminium foil and heated for about 6 minutes at 180°C.


18 thoughts on “Hot cross buns

  1. With a holiday away and some drama with the freezer, I didn’t have one single hot cross bun this year, made or bought. It didn’t even enter my consciousness but I now see a constant stream of recipes in by inbox so I will we well prepared for next year.

  2. Glenda, that opening photo is exactly like the one in my mind’s eye when I think of hot cross buns. You’re obviously a wonderful baker but are you psychic, too?

  3. I always seem get my days muddled as to which day is buns and which day is eggs. Used to be if you missed the buns on the Friday you didn’t have another chance but these days you can get them for ages before and after. I haven’t had one yet this year so I might just try this recipe. Bet you sold out, your soap is beautiful! 🙂

  4. Thought it was only in South Africa where everything Easter is on the shelves just after Christmas!
    Love a toasted hot cross bun with lashings of cold butter.
    Have a wonderful day Glenda.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  5. Glenda they look delicious. Yes I totally agree about the Supermarkets, just ridiculous. Good luck with your wares at the Easter Fair. Have fun. x

  6. Looking delicious as usual. Can you tell me if there is a fair this weekend in Bridgetown?
    Will you have a stall with your produce? Hoping I haven’t missed it. Love your blog by the way. Love love love your soap.

    • Hi Julie. There is no fair as such. Bridgetown hosts a big tennis tournament over the Easter weekend. I am having a stall at the riverside markets (which is on every fortnight). I decided to have it this weekend as there will be a lot of people in town, for the tournament and because of the break, generally. Do come and introduce yourself. Alternatively, come and visit me anytime. Just send me an email and I will give you my address. Btw. The stall is on Sunday morning.

  7. I feel just the same about supermarkets and Hot Cross Buns, which is why we don’t eat ours until Good Friday. Your crosses look good Glenda. I wish I’d read this before I made mine this afternoon as my crosses don’t include oil and they look very wiggly.

Please, leave a comment - it makes me feel loved.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.