Hot Cross Buns


I try to resist buying Hot Cross Buns before Easter, I really do. But it gets really difficult at this time of year to maintain that resistance; the weather is getting cooler, and by late March, they have already been on sale in supermarkets for three months.

These are pretty easy to make at home and I find using a bread machine to knead the dough makes them pretty fail-safe.

This recipe is adapted from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics (Book 2)

Hot Cross Buns

  • Difficulty: moderate (multiple steps)
  • Print

Makes 12


For making the buns:

  • 600 g Plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) bread improver (optional)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 100 g caster sugar, plus ½ tablespoon (Tbs) for the yeast
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 1 ½ cups luke-warm full cream milk
  • 50 g melted butter (cooled slightly)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 180 g sultanas
  • 75 g currants
  • 60 g candied peel (orange and lemon)

For making the crosses:

  • 50 g plain four
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup water

For making the glaze:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs water
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatin


  • Sift the flour and spices together (and bread improver, if using), then stir through the caster sugar in a large bowl (or transfer to the bowl of a bread machine).
  • In a separate bowl, combine the yeast, milk and ½ tablespoon sugar and allow the yeast to activate (about 5 minutes – it will be slightly foamy).
  • Mix the butter and egg into the yeast mixture and add to the flour mixture in the bread machine and run on a ‘dough only’ setting (to knead and prove). Add the sultanas, currants and peel after the first five minutes of kneading (they will disintegrate if you add them too early).
  • If not using a bread machine, mix all ingredients together (including fruit) until they form a sticky dough, then transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and pliable (about ten minutes). Place in a bowl, cover and rest in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size.
  • Prepare a high-sided baking tray (I use a 20 cm x 30 cm slice tin) by greasing the surface and lining with baking paper.
  • Remove dough from bread-machine bowl and ‘knock back’ (re-knead for a minute or two to remove excess air), before dividing into 12 and shaping into balls.

HCB ready for oven

  • Place each ball in the tray so they are barely touching, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes until risen.
  • Pre-heat oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced).
  • Prepare the flour and water for the crosses by whisking together so there are no lumps and spoon into a ziplock sandwich bag (it should be a reasonably thick, but ‘pourable’ consistency and not clumpy).
  • Make the crosses by cutting a little hole in the corner of the bag and slowly piping across each row of buns from one end of the tray to the other in both directions.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 190°C (170°C fan forced) for a further 20 minutes until they turn a wonderful mid-caramel brown and the house smells like heaven!
  • Remove from oven and keep in tray while you make the glaze by heating the water and sugar on the stove top on a medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Mix the gelatine in a little hot water (about 1 tablespoon) and add to the syrup, mix well and cook for one to two minutes.
  • Use a pastry brush to glaze the buns while they are still hot (I lightly glaze the buns to avoid them becoming too sticky).
  • Allow to cool in tray for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Serve warm with lashings of butter.

HCB out of oven


  • I prefer to use a bread making machine for kneading and proving the dough. I find otherwise my buns end up too hard and dry. I also add a teaspoon of bread improver to the mix for extra light and fluffy buns.
  • Extras freeze well after they have cooled following baking and glazing (if they last that long!).




7 thoughts on “Hot Cross Buns

  1. Pingback: Potential | short and sweet

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