Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
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Hot cross  buns  made on  Good  Friday  are believed  to stay fresh for  the whole  year! Is it true, well I haven’t got  a  clue. You see these buns   never  last longer  than 2  days in our household.  We  love  this  lightly spiced   fruit  filled  bread . The  centuries  of  history ,  religion  and   superstition  attached  to these   are  intriguing as  well.  Whether you believe  the  stories  or  not  these are  perfect  with a  cup of  coffee / tea .

Traditionally these are  made   with   currants  or  raisins .   My personal favorite is  currants.  But  almost any dried  fruit  will work equally  well.  The   cross  on top is  made   with sugar  icing  or  pastry dough  or a   flour  and  water  paste.  The cross does not  alter  the  taste, unless  you choose  to  cover half  the  bun  with  sugar paste! But  that is  entirely up to you.
Coming to the  recipe, it is a  standard  enriched  sweet  dough   recipe.  We  start by  warming  half   the   required   quantity of   milk  to  110°F  or  just  warm  to  touch.   Mix   a little  sugar  and   yeast  let  it  sit  for  5  to 10 minutes .   In a large mixing  bowl mix   the flour,  spices, sugar  and  salt.  Make a  well in the  middle  of  the   flour  mix  and  pour  the  yeast  liquid in there .  Separate   one  egg  into   white  and  yolk,  reserve  the egg  white.  Add  the  yolk and  the   remaining  egg  to  the  yeast  mixture .  Gently mix  everything  together  with  a  spatula, or by hand  or  using a  mixer   set  on low . Once  the   egg  is  mixed in,  and  the  softened  butter  to the  flour and  knead  gently  while  adding  enough of  the  remaining  milk until  the   dough  comes  together  as a  soft  mass .  Knead  for  7 to  10 minutes  until  dough  feels  very soft  pliable .   Form into a  ball   and  transfer  to a lightly oiled  bowl .  Cover  and  let it  rise  in a  warm  place  for  1  to  1.5  hours  or  until  doubled .
 Add the  dried   fruit  to the   risen dough  ,  and  knead  a few  times  to  incorporate  the  fruits   evenly . Divide  the  dough  into  12  equal  sized  portions  and   form  into  balls.  Arrange them  side  by side  on a  baking  dish  . Leave a  little  space  between   the  balls   so they  can  expand   properly .   Cover  and  let  it   rise   till  almost  doubled –  about  30 minutes .  These buns  fit  perfectly in a  11 X 9   tin , but  use  any you have in hand .
Hot Cross Buns
 Mix  the  reserved  egg  white   with a  teaspoon  of  water  to  make  an  egg wash . Brush  the   tops of  the  buns   with the  egg wash. If making a  flour  cross , make a   thick  paste  with the ingredients  for  marking  the  cross.   Use a spoon to  to make a cross on top of  the  buns  using the  paste .   Transfer  to a  preheated  oven  and  bake  at  375  for 20 to 25  minutes. The buns  above are  made withe flour cross .
Hot Cross Buns
Cool in pan  for  10 minutes , transfer  to   wire  rack and  cool  completely.  If making icing sugar  cross , mix  the  icing sugar  , vanilla  essence  and   enough water/milk/lemon juice to form a  thick paste.  Pour the  icing into a piping  bag and pipe  the  crosses  over  the  cooled  buns.  The  crosses  above are  made  with icing  sugar.

Notes :

  •  For  an interesting  variation  add  chocolate  chips  instead of  currants .
  • The  volume  measurements  provided  are  only approximate .  If  possible  weigh  the  ingredients .

Hot Cross Buns

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 12 Buns

Hot Cross Buns


AP Flour/ Bread Flour - 350 gms (3 C)
Yeast - 8 gms (1 tbsp or I pkt )
Salt - 7 gms (11/4 Tsp)
Eggs - 2 (1 separated)
Milk - 180 gms (3/4 C)
Butter - 45 gms (3 Tbsp )
Sugar - 40 gms (3 Tbsp)
Cinnamon - 1/2 Tsp
Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
Cloves - 1/4 tsp
Ginger - 1/4 Tsp
Dried Fruit - 45 gms (1/2 C)
Mixed Peel - 2 Tbsp (optional)
For Flour Cross
Flour - 2 Tbsp
Sugar - 1 Tbsp
Water - 1 to 2 Tbsp
For Icing Cross
Icing Sugar - 1/2 C
Vanilla Extract- 1 to 2 drops
Water/Milk/Lemon Juice - 1 to 2 Tbsp


Warm 3/4 C milk to 110°F or just warm to touch . Mix half of the milk with 1 teaspoon sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top to activate . Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes .

Take the flour in a large mixing bowl add the spice powders, sugar and salt . Mix well. Make a well in the center and pour the activated yeast mix followed by one egg and and one yolk . Reserve the extra egg white .Using a wooden spoon break the egg into the yeast mixture.

Add the softened butter and stir everything together , slowly adding the enough of the remaining milk till all the flour comes together in a wet mass. Let it rest for 10 minutes .

Knead gently for 5 to 10 minutes till the dough becomes smooth and pliable .Form into a smooth ball. Transfer to an oiled bowl cover and let rise till doubled , about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Lightly oil a 11" X 9" tray or line the tin you are using with parchment paper.Punch down the dough . Add the dry fruits and citrus (if using) and knead gently for a few times to incorporate evenly .Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and form into balls .Arrange the balls in the tray leaving enough space (about 1/2") between them to expand .Cover and let rise till almost doubled - about 30 minutes .

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Keep the oven rack in the middle .Mix the reserved egg white with 1 tsp water to make egg wash .Dip a pastry brush in the egg wash and generously brush the tops of the buns.

If making a flour cross, mix the ingredients for the cross together into a thick paste .Make a cross on the top of the buns with the flour paste .

Transfer the buns to the oven and bake to 20 to 25 minutes until the tops are browned nicely .Cool in pan for 5 minutes .Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

If making the icing cross, Mix the the icing sugar and vanilla extract together. Add the chosen liquid little by little to the icing sugar to make a thick paste. Transfer the paste to a piping bag and pipe the crosses over the cooled buns.


The most common dry fruits used are raisins and currants. Other options are dried apricots, cherries, cranberries, blueberries or a combination of these.

For  a  whole wheat loaded  version  try  this recipe.

Hot Cross Buns

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