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The Best Hot Cross Buns

Updated: May 1

Basket of Hot Cross Buns

Check out our Hot (Cross) Buns!! Easter, for the Brits, is not the same without them, so I'm giving this @paulhollywood recipe a whirl! I kneaded the dough by hand because I enjoy the stress-relieving powers of doing so, but an electric mixer with dough hooks works beautifully as well.

Either way, these are really easy to make as far as bread goes. The dough does need to rise three times so don't disappear for the day, but the active time is only around 20 minutes.

This recipe is also very forgiving, making it a good one to try if you’re new to bread baking. I started this dough at 9am and only got around to baking them at 6pm. I let the dough rise at the different stages for much longer than the recipe called for, and still yielded stellar results.

We ate three of them straight off the cooling rack slathered with butter (salted, of course), the rest we’re toasting. The verdict is in: These are indeed the best hot cross buns we've ever made.

Enjoy! xoxo Kirsty

Hot Cross Buns

For the buns:

  • 1-1/4 cups (300 ml) whole milk

  • 3-1/2 tablespoons (50 g) butter

  • 4 cups (500 g) strong white bread flour

  • 1/3 cup (75 g) sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons (7 g sachet) fast-action yeast

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1/2 cup (75 g) sultanas, currants or raisins

  • 1/2 cup (80 g) mixed peel (or just add more currants)

  • 1 apple, chopped into small pieces

  • 1 orange, zest only

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl

For the cross:

  • 2/3 cup (75 g) flour

  • 4-5 tablespoons water

For the glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam

In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil, then remove from heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until lukewarm.

Add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast to a bowl, make a well in the center. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Use a wooden spoon to mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface. To knead, hold the dough with one hand and push it away from you with the heel of the other hand, then fold it back on itself. Repeat for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic, be patient and enjoy the process! Alternatively, you can knead this with an electric mixer using dough hooks.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Add the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead the ingredients into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Cover again with oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise for 1 more hour, or until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 15 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, leaving enough space between the buns for the dough to expand. Lightly cover with oiled cling film, then set aside to prove for 1 more hour.

Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).

To make the cross, mix the flour with about 4-5 tablespoons water to make a paste, adding the water 1 tablespoon at a time. You want the paste to be fluid enough to pipe, but not drippy.

Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle, or a plastic bag with the corner cut off. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for 18-20 minutes on the middle shelf, until golden brown.

Gently heat the apricot jam to melt it, then sieve it to get rid of any chunks. While the jam and the buns are still warm, brush the tops of the buns and leave to cool.

These are delicious served fresh from the oven, or sliced and toasted with a generous helping of salted butter.

Close-up of Hot Cross Buns

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