Light and fluffy homemade Hot Cross Buns made from scratch.
Hot cross buns
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) warm water
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoon instant dried yeast
- 490 grams (3 and 1/2 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 180 grams (1 cup) dried fruit (see notes)
- Zest of 2 oranges, finely grated
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) storebought orange or apple juice
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) full fat or whole milk
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 65 grams (1/3 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 45 grams (1/3 cup) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
- To start
Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan or oven tray with baking or parchment paper and set aside.
- Add warm water to a small bowl and sprinkle yeast over the top and leave for a few minutes to react.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
- Soak fruit
In a heatproof bowl, add dried fruit, orange zest, juice and stir. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute and then stir. Cover the bowl of fruit with a large plate and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Fruit will soak up the juice and become plump.
- Discard any juice in the bottom of the bowl. Place dried fruit on a paper towel and pat dry. Leave to cool.
- Melt milk and butter
Add milk and butter to a small saucepan and place on a low heat, stirring, while the milk warms and the butter melts.
- Once the butter is melted, remove the milk mixture from the heat. If it is hot to the touch, leave to cool for a minute or two. You want the milk to be warm but not hot. Also, check your yeast has reacted and started to bubble a little on the edges.
- Make dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add sugar, salt and eggs. Add milk and butter mixture and flour and spices. Add dried fruit. Start to beat on medium speed.
- Add yeast mixture, water and all, and continue to mix until a nice soft dough forms. Once the dough comes together, remove it from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured bench.
- Lightly flour your hands and knead the dough by hand for a few minutes or until it is soft and smooth. Add a little extra flour to the bench and/or your hands if it gets a little too sticky to work with – but add it sparingly as we want the dough to be nice and light.
- Let dough rise
Bring your dough into a ball and place in a large mixing bowl that has been lightly greased with butter or oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it to rise for approximately 1 hour or until it’s doubled in size.
- Shape dough
Next, gently push the air out of your dough using your fist. Then take the dough out of the bowl and knead gently for a minute before cutting it into 12 even-sized balls of dough.
- Gently shape into balls and then place on prepared pan in four rows of three. Leave space in between each roll. Once they rise again, they should be touching.
- Let dough rest
Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise for at least 30 minutes. Or until they have all joined together and almost doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F) standard / 180 C (355 F) fan-forced.
- Make flour paste
Sift your flour into a small bowl. Add water and stir until smooth. Transfer your flour mixture to a piping bag fitted with a small tip and pipe a straight line over the buns, horizontally and then again, vertically to form a cross on each one.
- Bake buns
Bake buns for approximately 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Make sugar glaze
Just before the buns are ready, start making the sugar glaze. Add your sugar and water to a small saucepan and place on a medium heat until sugar has completely dissolved. As soon as the buns are ready, remove them from the oven and then immediately brush them with the sugar glaze.
Instant yeast: I tested this recipe using instant yeast. It does not need blooming and can be added straight into the dough. However, I prefer to add it to warm water as instructed in step 1 to double check it’s fresh and alive before continuing. If you want to use a different type of yeast, check online for a reliable conversion.
Dried fruit: You can use sultanas, raisins or mixed dried fruit of your choosing, as long as it adds up to 1 cup total.
Soaking fruit: This step is optional. If you do not want to soak the fruit first, you can simply add your dried fruit to the dough when you add the flour and spices.
By hand: I’ve included instructions for making these Hot Cross Buns using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, but you can absolutely make these by hand if you don’t have one. Follow the recipe as written and simply stir the dough using a spatula until it comes together enough for you to knead it gently by hand.
Shaping the dough: The easiest way to shape the dough evenly into 12 balls is by weighing the dough and diving it by 12. I usually find that each bun will need to be around 85-90 grams of dough.
Storage: Hot cross buns are best eaten on the day they are made. Keep leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or cover in plastic wrap and freeze. To defrost, heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until warm.