Hot Cross Buns

Wednesday, 18th March 2020Tyler
Hot Cross Buns, Traditional, Simple, Delicious

Prep time: 2 hours

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 12 Buns

Hot cross buns are by far some of the most delicious and easy snacks that I make all times of year. (Though I do make them more often during Easter. After all, it is an easter treat!)

I had heard about hot cross buns for a long time, ever since I was a kid. Though I’d never had a chance to see them until I moved to England. Until then, I had thought that they were just part of that beloved nursery rhyme:

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons.
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

Brief Background On These Buns

Hot cross buns are as rich with history as they are with spices. Dating back to the 12th century these yeasted sweet buns are filled with spices and various fruits ranging from currants and raisins to candied citrus. They are decorated with a white cross which is made out of a water and flour paste. I never found a single bun in England that had an icing. Remember that in Europe, sweets have delicate flavors (unlike the US).

While these buns are an Easter food, you’ll find people eating them all-year long. Though, if you ask an Englishman (when it isn’t Easter) where you can find them they’ll tell you that you’ll have to wait. (That’s actually based on a real experience.)

Actually, I once found a tear and share pack of buns in a Tesco’s in London in September. I didn’t think much of it until I remarked to a friend that I could bring some for our get together. She was appalled and surprised that I even found any outside of the Easter season!

Hot Cross Buns, Easter Recipe, Traditional, Delicious

Brief Aside (We’ll get back to the)

I didn’t know what tear and share was until I moved to England. Tear and share are meant for groups of people to share at once. So if we bake a bunch of rolls for a party, instead of baking them individually we decrease the distance between them so that they bake together. That’s it, pretty simple.

Now, back to these mouthwateringly delicious whole wheat and sugar free buns!  Oh, just so you know, my family doesn’t often eat sugar and recently we’ve been diving into whole wheat so we’ve been manipulating the classic recipe to get the traditional. After all, white flour wasn’t widely used until the mid 1800s. So, I figured it’s time to share my family’s more traditional rendition of the classic white flour buns!

Hot Cross Buns

Mmmmm… I can’t wait to make these again. Ripping apart these soft tempting buns is a hard thing to miss! I think I’ll make some more… right after this post! We better hurry up so that I can get back into the kitchen!! 🙂 🙂

Buns

  • 300 milliliters (1 ¼ cup) of whole milk
  • 375 grams (3 ⅓ cup) of whole wheat flour
  • 75 grams (6 tablespoons) of coconut sugar
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 7 grams (2 teaspoons) of dry-active yeast
  • 50 grams (10.5 tablespoons) of butter
  • 1 free-range large egg, beaten
  • 150 grams (5.3 ounces) of sultanas
  • 80 grams (3 ounces) of mixed peel
  • 1 medium apple, cored and diced
  • 2 medium oranges, zest only
  • 1 small lemon, zest only
  • 5 grams (2 teaspoons) of ground cinnamon
  • Oil, to grease the bowl

Cross

  • 75 grams (2.5 ounces) of plain flour
  • 74 milliliters (5 tablespoons) of water

Glaze

  • 3 grams (3 tablespoons) of apricot jam, optional

Now, if you choose to include mixed peel then go ahead! I didn’t here (didn’t have any nor the time to make my own and didn’t ). If you’d like to make your own mixed peel, I like fromthelarder.co.uk’s tips! However, note that you will be using cane sugar thus rendering this dish sugared rather the sugar-free. SO, if you want to make a sugar-free mixed peel please follow pintsizedbaker’s tips! Maybe some day I’ll include my own in that list!

Hot Cross Buns, A Budget Worthy Easter Recipe

How to make hot cross buns

We begin by warming the milk. Warm the milk until it reaches room temperature. This will give the yeast a little kick to get going! Though, we’re not adding the yeast just yet!

Now, mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together until they are combined. Be careful not to place the salt on top of the yeast (or vice versa). Instead, if, mixing them at the same time, place the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl

Then add butter and egg together into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Once those are combined, gradually add the warmed milk until a soft, sticky dough forms.

Lightly flour your work surface and pour the sultanas, mixed peel, apple, orange and lemon zest, and cinnamon onto the surface. Tip the dough out of the bowl. Then knead the dough until smooth and elastic this will take at least five minutes.

With everything combined, let’s get ready to let the dough prove! Do so by placing the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Then leave to rise for 1-2 hours, or  our gorgeous dough doubles in size.

With that, we make our buns! We’ll start by punching down the dough. Give it your all! Let all the air out! Next, divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Feel free to use a scale or just eyeball it. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a smooth ball. Then place each bun on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave enough space between the buns that they can rise without touching. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to prove for another hour.

Hot Cross Buns, A Delicious, Easy, Simple, and Fast Recipe

Let’s get ready to put these bad boys in the oven! Begin by preheating the oven to 220 ℃ or 425℉. In the mean time, we’ll prepare the cross. We do this by mixing the flour with one tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Then add another tablespoon, mix and repeat. Keep adding tablespoons of water, one at a time, until a thick paste is formed. Mind you, we don’t want this past to be too thick or thin. If it’s too thin it’ll run all over the bun. If it’s too thick, the bun will have a hard cross on it when it comes out of the oven. I’m not quite sure how to best describe it! Aim for something a little thicker than honey.

Ok! Almost there! We’ll have our hot cross buns on your table ready to eat in no time!

With the flour paste made, pour or spoon it into a piping bag. Make sure the bag has a small nozzle. (You can see what it will look like it the nozzle is both too wide and paste to runny on one or two of my buns in the picture!) Then pipe a line along each row of buns. Then repeat in the other direction to create the crosses.

Bake! Cook! Eat!

Place the baking sheet onto the middle rack of the oven. Allow the buns to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and while the hot cross buns cool, we’ll prepare the jam glaze. We want a seedless and chunk less jam. So, heat the apricot jam until it begins to melt. (Be careful not to heat the jam too quickly!) Then pour the jam through a sieve. While the jam is still warm, brush it over the top of the still-warm buns. Then leave the buns to cool. Serve when the jam has solidified.

Whew! That was a LOT! I love hot cross buns. These spiced soft buns will make you want to ask for more! In fact, now that I’ve finished typing all of this I’m going back to the kitchen to make some more! Cheers!

Oh, one last thought! If you want more Easter food, check out my page on what you can make here!

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Hot Cross Buns

  • Prep time: 2 hours
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Serves: 12 Buns

Learn how to make perfect sugar-free, whole wheat hot cross buns using this deliciously spiced yeast dough. Raisins, citrus zest, apples, and spices are just a few of those ingredients which will bring back to remembering Mom's hot cross buns of yester-year!

Ingredients

Buns

  • 300 milliliters (1 ¼ cup) whole milk
  • 375 grams (3 ⅓ cup) whole wheat flour
  • 75 grams (6 tablespoons) coconut sugar
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 7 grams (2 teaspoons) dry-active yeast
  • 50 grams (10.5 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 large egg, free-range, beaten
  • 150 grams (5.3 ounces) sultanas
  • 80 grams (3 ounces) mixed peel, optional
  • 1 medium apple, cored and diced
  • 2 medium oranges, zest only
  • 1 small lemon, zest only
  • 5 grams (2 teaspoons) ground cinnamon
  • oil, to grease the bowl
  • flour, for dusting

Cross

  • 75 grams (2.5 ounces) plain flour
  • 74 milliliters (5 tablespoons) water

Glaze

  • 3 grams (3 tablespoons) apricot jam, optional

Method

  • 1)

    Warm the milk: Heat the milk to just below the boiling point, when tiny bubbles form at the edge. Then remove from the heat and leave to cool until it reaches room temperature.

  • 2)

    Combine ingredients: Begin by mixing the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast until they are thoroughly combined.

  • 3)

    Mix in wet ingredients to form dough: Slowly add butter and egg together into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Once those are combined, gradually add the warmed milk until a soft, sticky dough forms.

  • 4)

    Add fruit and spices: Gently fold the sultanas, mixed peel, apple, orange and lemon zest, and cinnamon into the dough.

  • 5)

    Knead the dough until smooth and elastic: Lightly flour a work surface. Tip the dough out of the bowl. Knead for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

  • 6)

    Let the dough rise: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

  • 7)

    Make 12 buns and let rise: Punch down the dough. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a smooth ball. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, place each bun. Leave enough space between the buns that they can rise without touching. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to prove for another hour.

  • 8)

    Preheat oven to 220 ℃ or 425℉.

  • 9)

    Prepare the cross: To make the cross, mix the flour with one tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Then keep adding tablespoons of water, one at a time, until a thick paste is formed.

  • 10)

    Make the cross: Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Then pipe a line along each row of buns. Then repeat in the other direction to create the crosses.

  • 11)

    Bake: Place the baking sheet onto the middle rack of the oven. Allow the buns to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Then remove from the oven.

  • 12)

    Pass jam through a sieve: Gently heat the apricot jam until it begins to melt. Then pour the jam through a sieve to get rid of any chunks.

  • 13)

    Spread and serve: While the jam is still warm, brush it over the top of the still-warm buns. Then leave the buns to cool. Serve when the jam has solidified.

Notes

  • When mixing the dry ingredients, be careful not to place the salt on top of the yeast (or vice versa). Instead, if, mixing them at the same time, place the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl.
  • Rather than mixing the sultanas, mixed peel, and zest into the dough, try placing them on the surface that the dough will be kneaded on.
  • Knead the dough by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heel of the other hand. Then twist the dough while folding it back on itself.
  • If you oil the plastic wrap (cling film) then the dough won’t stick to it when it rises.
  • If using white flour instead of wheat, the rise times will change and use 500 grams (4.5 cups) of white flour.

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