Hot cross buns

hot cross buns

I went on my second bread making course yesterday (the first one was back in November. See here) courtesy of my husband, who gave it to me as a Christmas present. (The clever man that he is! Although I suspect a bit of self interest here :-)) This time the level was advanced -I’ll have you know- and one of the things we made was hot cross buns. These are spiced sweet buns, made with dried fruit , which are traditionally eaten at Easter time here in England (hence the cross over the top, referring to the death of Jesus). They are finished off with a nice sweet, sticky glaze. You find them in all supermarkets at this time of the year but of course the home made ones are by far superior. And contain none of the rubbish (such as colourings, preservatives, etc.) of the bought variety. After being told by the master baker that one of the ingredients of pitta bread was a substance made from pig hairs or feathers I am less and less inclined to buy the packaged type of bread that lasts for weeks. God knows what’s in it! Anyway, I had never made hot cross buns before so I was glad to have the opportunity to have a go. The only “complicated” thing is that you need to soak the dried fruit in tea overnight (to make it soft and moist) so you can’t bake  them on the spur of the moment. At least not these ones. By the way, in case any of you is wondering, I have definitely honed my bread making techniques since I went on the first bread making course (which was worth every penny). And of course I plan to continue improving…:-)

INGREDIENTS (makes 5-6)

100gr. strong white flour

100 gr. plain flour

75 gr. wholemeal flour

5 gr. salt

5 gr. dried yeast

25 gr. butter

25 gr. sugar

1 medium egg

75 gr. tea soaked spiced fruit (traditionally this would be currants or raisins and mixed peel but you can use any combination you want: raisins, sultanas, figs, apricots, cranberries, etc.)

zest and juice of 1 orange

60 ml. buttermilk or milk

60 ml. water

For the cross: (75 gr. flour/plus water)

For the glaze: 2 tbspoons warm honey-1 tbspoon double cream


Presoak fruit in hot tea overnight. Drain well and add a teaspoon (or more, depending on taste) of mixed spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc.) plus the orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice. Let it soak for a bit more time. When you are ready to make the buns drain the fruit well.

Mix together flour, salt, butter, sugar and fruit.

Stir dried yeast into water, add buttermilk and mix then add the egg.

Combine all ingredients and knead for 10 minutes. The mixture will be quite sticky. Don’t worry. Keep kneading and if necessary add a little bit more flour at the end. You should end up with a soft dough ball.

Cover it and leave to ferment for 45 minutes to 1 hour until doubled in size.

Divide into 5-6 equal sizes and shape like balls.

Let them rest for 15 minutes.

Knock back and shape into rolls. Pat down so that you end up with something looking like a hamburger. For the cross: mix flour and water together (start with 3-4 tablespoons of water. Add more if necessary). You should end up with a thick mixture which has the consistence of mayonaise. Put in a piping bag and pipe a cross over each bun. Cover the buns and let them prove until doubled in size.

Bake at 240 degrees for approx 10 minutes.

Once cooled a little, glaze with the mixture made with two parts warm honey and 1 part double cream.

And now have a look at my bread output. Not bad,eh?



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