Traditional Hot Cross Buns

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I really love Easter. Spring lamb, chocolate eggs and HOT CROSS BUNS!

Oh baby, hot cross buns. Pillowy soft rolls with hints of spice and dotted with sweet little bursts of plump raisins and sultanas. *happy sigh*

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The way I love to eat them is toasted and slathered with butter while still piping hot. Give me that and a glass of milk and I'm a very happy girl!

I've had this recipe on my to-bake list for a while. When I first saw it I knew I'd be making it one day. Although, I'll admit, I had been putting it off. After all, it contains that dreaded ingredient that bakers all over avoid. Yeast. That supposedly temperamental ingredient that can make or break your baked goods.

Happily foaming yeast in warm milk

Happily foaming yeast in warm milk

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But, I took the plunge and had my first real dabble with yeast baking. And I'll tell you, it was easy! I'm not just saying that for the sake of this post, it trully was easy. 

Silky and smooth bread dough

Silky and smooth bread dough

Doubled in size after its first rising

Doubled in size after its first rising

The yeast foamed in the warm milk as it should. The dough doubled in size as it should. The buns had a second rise as they should. They baked as they should, resulting in gorgeous light and fluffy hot cross buns. All I did was follow the recipe. From this experience I think I might actually attempt bread baking soon!

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Formed buns, second rise and baked!

Formed buns, second rise and baked!

The hot cross buns were quick and easy to make and would be great to make for a brunch, fresh that morning. Aside from the bit of resting time, they're really quick to make and bake. In fact, I'm thinking of making them again next weekend. Anyone want to come over for brunch?! ;)

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The one downside is that these really don't stay fresh for long. They need to be eaten on the day (this for the person who won't wolf them all down in one sitting!). Although, a quick nuke in the microwave will soften them up and ready for their buttering. And of course, if you do happen to have any left over for the next day (really!?) you can always eat them my favourite way, toasted. Yum!

So, if you've been meaning to dabble in the dark art of baking with yeast, give these babies a try, a great way to start and get your confidence up, and of course, delicious :D

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I'm telling you, these rival, if not outright beat, store bought hot cross buns.



Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Makes 12, recipe easily halved to make 6

300ml 10.5fl oz Warm Milk
60g 2oz Caster Sugar
2x 7g pkts 2x pkts Dried Yeast
600g 21oz Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp 2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp 1 tsp Allspice
½ tsp ½ tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp 1 tsp Salt
60g 2oz Unsalted butter, softened
200g 7oz Raisins
200g 7oz Sultanas
2 2 Eggs, lightly beaten

To Finish Off
60g 2oz Plain Flour
50ml 2fl oz Water
3-4 Tbsp 3-4 Tbsp Apricot Jam



  • Whisk together the sugar, warm milk and yeast in a small bowl or jug until sugar has dissolved
  • Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until it becomes frothy, about 10 mins
  • Sift together the flour, salt and ground spices in a large bowl
  • Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until mixed and crumbly
  • Stir in the raisins and sultanas
  • Stir in the beaten eggs and yeast mixture
  • Tip: I used the dough hook on my KitchenAid
  • Turn dough out on to a floured surface and knead the bread dough for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic
  • Tip: If your dough is sticky, knead in small amounts of flour until it just loses its stickiness, you don't want to make the dough dry by adding too much flour
  • Lightly grease another large and clean bowl with oil
  • Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat the surface with grease
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm and draught-free place for 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap and punch down the dough with your fist
  • Give it a quick knead until smooth and divide into 12 peices
  • Form balls of dough and arrange buns into a greased 20 x 30cm baking tray
  • Tip: For a bit of fun I used foil baking containers so that it resembles bakery bought buns
  • Cover with plastic wrap and leave in warm place to rise for 20 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C Fan Assisted)
  • Meanwhile prepare the paste for the crosses by whisking together the plain flour and water to a smooth paste
  • Once the buns have risen, pipe crosses on top of the buns
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Reduce heat to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) and bake for a further 15 minutes
  • Tip: The hot cross buns are ready when they sounds hollow when you tap the tops
  • Heat up the apricot jam and pass through a sieve to remove lumps
  • Brush the tops of the hot cross buns with the warmed apricot jam while the buns are still warm
  • Serve!
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Recipe adapted from Citrus and Candy who adapted it from Fresh Living

Other Tips:

If your yeast and milk doesn't foam, your yeast might not be fresh enough. Always make sure your yeast is fresh and hasn't reached its expiry date

Try adding other fruit to the hot cross buns. I made a batch with finely chopped dried apricot and abolutely loved the slightly tangy flavour it gave in between the sweet of the raisins and sultanas. You can also add candied peel

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Hot Cross Buns
Posted on April 3, 2011 and filed under Baked, Easter.