Traditional Hot Cross Buns
These traditional hot cross buns are easy to make and delicious warm served with lashings of butter!
This recipe is also great for adapting, you can try different additions or take them to a whole new level with my delicious chocolate flavour bun with chocolate chunks. Check out my variations section for suggestions. And if you love hot cross buns like me you might want to try other flavours like my Orange, Date & Cardamom Hot Cross Buns recipe. It is always a real treat when we get to enjoy some of these delicious sticky buns because Easter is the only time, I bake them.
WHAT IS A HOT CROSS BUN ?
Traditional hot cross buns, date back to the 12th century and are traditionally enjoyed on Good Friday at Easter representing the end of Lent. They are recognisable by the white cross on top, signifying the crucifixion of Jesus, sometimes etched into the dough or piped on with icing.
They are made from an enriched yeasted dough of eggs and butter, filled with spices and various fruits such as currants, raisins, and/or candied citrus fruit peel. The spices are also significant in that they represent the spices used to embalm Jesus at his burial.
If you decide to give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment below and rate it – it’s really helpful to me and the other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #thegourmetlarder on Instagram. I love seeing what you come up with! 🙂
- EASE: easy, just a little time consuming like all bread recipes.
- GREAT FOR: Easter, Treat, Picnics, or Friends and family visiting.
- TASTE & TEXTURE: soft, buttery with a deliciously spiced flavour from cinnamon and nutmeg.
- SERVING: best served straight form the oven or split in half and toasted with lashings of butter and jam!
- QUANTITY: 12 buns
- TIME: 55 minutes plus 2 hours proving.
For this classic hot cross bun recipe all you need are these ingredients:
- Strong white bread flour (BL80)
- Brown soft sugar
- Fresh or fast-action dried yeast
- Sultanas, currants or raisins
Using fresh or dried yeast, click here for further guidance!
TIP: I highly recommend adding salt to your doughs and pastry. Salt helps balance out the sweetness and richness. It also elevates the other ingredients, bring out the best characteristics of any recipe. I recommend Maldon Sea salt flakes or Cornish sea salt.
WHAT VARIATIONS CAN I MAKE?
- Fruit: Try replacing (or in addition to) the sultanas, try using mixed peel, dried cranberries, chopped apricots, pecans or walnuts. You can also try adding a citrus kick using a little lemon or orange zest in the dough.
- Spices: You can play with the spices, try a little cardamom or all spice in the dough.
- Flavours: I like to soak the dried fruit, so that they don’t dry out further during the baking. Another advantage is that they release steam during the baking process which keeps the bun, soft and light. If you fancy adding an additional flavour you can try soaking the dried fruit in tea, (earl grey, breakfast of matcha). Even fruit juices, for example apple or orange. And finally, alcohol can also be used such as brandy or rum.
- Chocolate version: Take your hot cross buns to a whole new level with a delicious chocolate flavour and studded with chocolate pieces.
Replace 50g of the flour with dutch cocoa powder and add 150g chocolate chips or chop a chocolate bar into chunks and add it to the dough in place of the sultanas.
If you experiment, I would love to know how you get on and share it with the other readers.
WHAT TOOL’S DO I NEED
Here is some kitchen equipment that I use and recommend for this recipe.
TIP: I highly recommend using metric measurements and a digital kitchen scale, rather than cup measurements. If you have ever ended up with dry, dense or crumbly baked goods, it might be because of inaccurate volume measurements, not all measuring cups are made equally. All my recipes on this blog are carefully developed so that you can easily recreate them in your own kitchen with success, using metric measurements. It is also a lot easier, less messy and you will get far better, consistent results. 🙂
If you are interested in understanding conversions, here you will find the best conversion chart.
Serving: one classic hot cross bun
Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on factors such as precision of measurements, brands, ingredient freshness, or the source of nutrition data.
I strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but make no warranties regarding its accuracy.
I encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
These classic hot cross buns will stay fresh for 24 hours at room temperature in an airtight container. Do not place them in the fridge, as they will dry up. If I don’t eat them the same day, I love to spit them in half and toast them.
Freezing: They also freeze well for up to 1 month. To defrost simple leave on the kitchen worktop for half an hour.
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Classic Hot Cross Buns
- 200 g sultanas (currants or raisins)
- 300 ml milk
- 60 g butter
- 500 g white bread flour (BL80)
- 80 g light brown sugar (or golden caster sugar)
- 23 g fresh yeast (7g dried yeast or 2 tsp)
- 1 medium egg (50g total)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 60 g plain flour (all-purpose) (BL55)
- 60-70 ml water
Glaze (optional, makes the buns shiny and fresher for longer)
- 3 tbsp honey (runny)
- Soaking fruit: Cover the sultanas or raisins in water and leave to soak for 10 minutes
- Prepare the dough: Pour the milk and butter into a small saucepan and gently heat until it is just about body temperature 37 °C.
- Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, spices and egg together in a bowl, then slowly add the warmed milk/butter mixture until it forms a soft sticky dough. If your dough is too sticky and not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add an additional tablespoon of flour at a time. (This stage can also be done in a stand mixer)
- Drain the sultanas/rasins well and add them to the dough and then tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heel of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat until you have a smooth and elastic dough.
- First prove: Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for approximately one hour in a warm environment, or until doubled in size.
- Shaping: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. (It doesn’t need to be perfect!) Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured surface.
- Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving enough space between the buns so they just touch when they rise and expand.
- Second prove: Set aside to prove for another hour.
- 15 minutes before the end of the proofing time preheat the oven to 200 °C fan / 425 °F / Gas 7.
- The cross: Mix the flour with the water one tablespoon at a time, you want a thick paste that will pipe easily. Add remaining water if needed. Spoon the paste into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
- Baking: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown on top.
- Glazing: Warm the honey a little to loosen, then gently brush over the buns to glaze. Brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT FOR YOU!
If you tried these Traditional Hot Cross Buns or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you got on in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you’re there!
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