Hot cross buns: the recipe


Here we are, with the last recipe of the series “Easter’s baking” :)

Hot cross buns are Easter’s traditional sweet breads. They typical of the Anglo-Saxon Easter and, thus, widely diffused in all Commonwealth’s countries. Definitely lighter than the Italian colomba, these buns are traditionally served on Good Friday for breakfast.

I discovered hot cross buns in the far 2007, on Sigrid’s food blog. I lived in Finland at that time and, given my great passion for brioche, they immediately caught my attention. I then moved to Brussels and almost forgot about the hot cross buns. It was during the Easter week of 2015 that, meanwhile walking on Bank Street, I recognized some hot cross buns, exposed in a bakery. I rushed to buy the last two left and, on my way home, I thought about the wonderful breakfast awaiting for me the day after.

However, all my fantasies on hot cross buns had created in my mind a bit different product from the real one.

First of all, the glaze of the cross wasn’t made out of sugar and albumen, but rather of water and flour. The expectation of a soft and sweet glaze, making the dough underneath a bit moist, vanished with the first bite.

Second revelation, which became vivid as soon as my teeth sank into the dough, was the presence of spices. Hot cross buns are very aromatic. The presence of cinnamon and, in certain recipes, of cloves and candied ginger is what makes hot cross buns so special.

Nowadays, hot cross buns are a classic, together with the Italian colomba, on my Easter table. I religiously bake them every year and they are a must for Good Friday’s breakfast :)

The recipe that follows is by Paul Hollywood and comes from the BBC Food website. I did a few modifications to the original version: for example, I have used candied ginger (I ran out of candied orange peel after baking colomba) and omitted the apple and the grated orange peel. I then added a table spoon of maple syrup to the cross glaze (an idea from Cavoletto :)).


Hot Cross Buns (recipe by Paul Hollywood with my modifications)

(For 8-12 buns)

  • 500 g of bread flour
  • 300 mL of milk
  • 50 g of butter
  • 75 g of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tea spoon of salt
  • 2 tea spoons of cinnamon
  • 150 g of sultan raisin
  • 50 g of candied ginger
  • 4 g of dehydrated yeast

For the cross

  • 4-5 table spoons of flour
  • 10-11 table spoons of water
  • 1 table spoon of maple syrup

For the glaze

  • 2-3 tea spoons of apricot jam
  • 2-3 tea spoons of water

Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk. Place all the other ingredients in the bowl of a kneading machine and stir a few minutes with the leaf hook, at low speed. Add the milk, keeping stirring. As soon as the dough torques, stop the machine and change the leaf with the regular hook. Keep kneading till the dough torques. Cover the dough with a kitchen cloth and let it rise for 1 h.

After this time, take the dough and make small buns that you will put in a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. I obtained 8 large buns, but you can reduce dimensions and get 10-12 buns out of the same dough. Arrange the buns close to each other and let them rise for 30 min, covered with a kitchen cloth.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze for the crosses: mix the water with the flour, in order to obtain a smooth batter. Add, finally, the maple syrup and stir gently.

Draw a cross on each bun with the batter. Bake the buns in convected pre-heated oven at 200 ˚C (Paul, says 220 ˚C, but I didn’t trust my oven) for about 20 min (baking time might vary, the surface of the buns should turn golden-brown).

Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool down. Mix the apricot jam with water and glaze the surface of the buns.

Let me know how your buns turned out :)

p.s. the cross on my buns is almost invisible...probably, my batter was too liquid :P