These hot cross buns are made using easy bake yeast which makes it simple to prepare this seasonal treat to share with family and friends. They are made with a soft bread dough, dried fruit and spices and are topped with decorative crosses and a sweet, sticky glaze. They are traditionally served with butter or toasted at Easter, but are just as enjoyable at other times of the year. The quantities below are sufficient to make around eight to twelve buns depending on size.
Ingredients to make hot cross buns
- 375g (13.2 oz) strong bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting
- 3 teaspoons easy bake yeast
- 50g (1.8 oz) sugar for the dough
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 100ml (3.4 fl oz) milk
- 80ml (2.7 fl oz) water
- 45g (1.6 oz) butter
- 100g (3.5 oz) mixed dried fruit or raisins
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice or pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons flour for the crosses
- About 1.5 tablespoons water for the crosses
- 2 tablespoons water for the glaze
- 20g (0.7 oz) sugar for the glaze
- A large bowl to mix the bread dough
- Large plate to place over the bowl while the dough is proving
- Kitchen scales
- Fork or spoon to stir the dry ingredients
- Measuring jug
- 2 teaspoons
- Knife to cut the butter
- Electric mixer with dough hooks
- Medium sized saucepan for the milk, water and butter
- Pastry board or other suitable work surface
- Small bowl to mix the flour and water for the crosses
- Tablespoon to measure the flour and water for the crosses
- Rolling pin to roll out the dough for the crosses
- Knife to cut the strips of dough for the crosses
- Small saucepan to prepare the glaze
- Tablespoon to stir the glaze
- Pastry brush
- Large baking sheet
- Non-stick lining paper
- Wire cooling rack
How to prepare the dough
Place 375 g (13.2 oz) strong bread flour, 3 teaspoons easy bake yeast, 50g (1.8 oz) sugar, 1 teaspoon mixed spice, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 100g (3.5 oz) dried fruit and 1 teaspoon salt into a large bowl and mix.
Pour 100ml (3.4 fl oz) milk and 80ml (2.7 fl oz) water into a saucepan. Add 45g (1.6 oz) butter and heat over a low heat until the butter melts, taking care not to overheat.
Add the melted butter/milk/water to the bowl with the dry ingredients while the butter mixture is still warm. Add the egg to the other ingredients and stir. Mix the dough for a few minutes using an electric mixer with dough hooks. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough and form into a single mass using your hands. If the dough is still sticky you may need to add a little extra flour to make it easier to handle.
Place a plate over the bowl of dough and leave in a warm place to prove for about an hour.
Take the dough from the bowl and place on a floured pastry board. Divide the dough into equal portions and place on a non stick lining sheet on a baking tray, leaving a space between each bread roll to allow room for expansion. The dough is sufficient to make around eight large buns or twelve medium sized hot cross buns.
Prepare the crosses by mixing 2 tablespoons flour with about 1.5 tablespoons water. Mix to form a ball of dough, adding more flour if needed. The dough should be a consistency which can be rolled out with a rolling pin, if it is too sticky then add a little more flour.
Roll out the flour and water dough on the pastry board and cut into narrow strips ready to form the crosses. Dab a small amount of water on each ball of dough where the crosses are to be positioned. Carefully form a cross on each ball of dough, trimming any overhanging parts.
Place the tray of buns in a warm place to prove for around 30 minutes.
Prepare the glaze by adding 20g (0.7 ounces) sugar in a small pan and adding 2 tablespoons water. Heat the sugar and water and boil for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
How to bake hot cross buns
Preheat the oven to 220oC, 425oF, gas mark 7. Bake the hot cross buns in the centre of the oven until they look ready. This should take around 10 to 15 minutes or so but check regularly as the cooking time will vary from one oven to another. Turn the baking tray around part way through the cooking time so they bake evenly.
As soon as the buns are baked and taken out of the oven, brush the glaze over the top of each bun. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool.
- Hot cross buns are at their best on the day they are baked. They can be frozen and defrosted and reheated as needed.
- The same bread dough can be used to bake fruit buns. Simply follow the instructions above but omit the crosses and glaze.
- Hot cross buns aren't just for Easter, they can be enjoyed all year round!
You may also like to try sticky mincemeat Chelsea buns, another delicious British baked treat.
Or you may wish to try apricot and cashew loaf a delicious fruit and nut loaf which is perfect toasted and served for breakfast.