As I write this post, I have one of these delicious hot cross buns and a cup of tea to hand so I can testify that this recipe works well and tastes great.
First thing to note is that hot cross bun dough is an enriched dough – added butter and eggs, as such it much stickier, so an electric food mixer with a dough hook is definitely advised for this recipe.
As with most bread recipes, in short the recipe is to mix everything together, leave to prove, shape and cook – which means although the recipe times are long, for the majority of that you can get on with other things. Although this is a traditional Easter recipe, I like to cook a very similar recipe in a loaf tin throughout the year. If you want to make the recipe slightly healthier, you can replace up to 1/3 of the white bread flour with wholemeal bread flour.
I use fresh zests in this recipe, which really adds flavour that you can taste in the end result. I have a Cuisipro fine grater, which I’ve found to be the most efficient grater currently available. If you plan to do a lot of baking involving grating zests etc. I would recommend investing in one.
Preparation time: 25 minutes + 1 hour 45 minutes to prove
Cooking time: 25 minutes
- 450g strong white bread flour
- 7g sachet of dried yeast
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 50g caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 250ml milk (semi-skimmed or full fat)
- 30g unsalted butter
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of 1 lemon
- 120g mixed dried fruits
- 1 egg (large)
- Weigh all the dry ingredients into the bowl of your food mixer.
- In a saucepan, over a low heat, slowly melt the butter and add in the milk and egg and mix together. When this mixture gets luke warm, turn the heat off – this will only take a minute or so.
- Make a well the middle of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet milk mixture, zest and dried fruit. Turn the mixer on a medium speed for 8 minutes. Halfway through this, use a spatula to mix in any dough around the edge of the bowl.
- Take the bowl out the mixer, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 1 hour.
- After the dough has risen, knock the dough out of it and roll out on a lightly floured surface then cut into 8 equal pieces.
- Line a baking tray (or 2 depending on their size) with (reusable) baking parchment and place the balls of dough about 2cm apart. This will allow them to expand without merging into one giant bun. Cover with a tea towel or loosely placed cling film and leave to prove for another 40 minutes.
- To make the crosses of the hot cross buns mix a couple of tablespoons of plain flour (no more than 50g is needed) with just enough water to make a thick paste. Tip into a piping bag (or a plastic sandwich bag if you don’t have one).
- About 10 minutes before the buns are ready to go in the oven, pre-heat your oven to 200ºC. Snip a tiny corner from the piping bag and drizzle over the flour paste to make the ‘cross’ on each bun.
- Cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Take the buns out the oven and leave to cool (on the baking tray is fine). Whilst they’re cooling, warm 2 tablespoons of apricot jam in a small saucepan over a low heat. It will just take a couple of minutes for it to become runny. Then apply this glaze to each bun.
I like to eat my hot cross buns either as is or toasted cut in half with a slather of butter.