Hot Cross Buns are made from a yeast dough and are incredibly soft. In many regions they are traditionally baked around Easter, more precisely on Good Friday, and contain spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. The buns are marked with a cross and baked until golden brown. After baking they are coated with a glaze.
This is the first time I tried them. By that, I do not only mean baking, but also eating. I have actually never had them before and I got to say that they taste really delicious to me.
Tools & Equipment
- Baking pan 22,9x33cm / 9×13-inch
- Bench scraper
- Large bowl
- Kitchen scale
- Kitchen towel
- Pastry brush
- Piping bag
- Plastic wrap
- Silicone spatula
- Stand mixer fitted with dough hook
Make in Advance: you can prepare the dough the day before. Follow the recipe until step 7 and cover the shaped buns tightly. Store in the fridge for up to 15 hours. Remove the buns from the fridge 2 hours before baking the next day, keep covered and let them rise on the counter.
Adding Extras: add whatever you like to the dough. Raisins, dried fruits like cranberries or apricots, some nuts or pieces of chocolate. Just make sure that the total amount of extras is not too much.
Flour: you can use regular flour or bread flour. By using bread flour your buns will be chewier. However, you can also use regular flour to make soft buns.
How to Make Hot Cross Buns
Line a 22,9x33cm / 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, grease with nonstick spray and set aside. Weigh all of the ingredients.
Prepare the Dough
Mix milk, yeast and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Cover and let the dough stand for 5 minutes.
Add brown sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and 1/3 of the flour. Beat on low speed, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour and beat on medium speed until the dough separates from the edges of the bowl.
You want to have a dough which is a bit sticky and soft. Add a little more flour in case your dough is too sticky and does not separate from the edges of the bowl. Knead for another 2 minutes on medium speed.
Grease a large bowl and pour the dough into the bowl. Turn it to distribute the oil evenly and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let it rise for 1-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. When ready, punch it down to release the air.
Divide the dough into 15 pieces, shape each piece into a smooth ball and transfer to the baking pan. Cover the pan and put in the fridge overnight or let the dough balls rise at room temperature until puffy, for about 1 hour.
Make the Cross & Bake the Buns
Preheat the oven to 177°C / 350°F.
Combine flour and water. You want a thick paste, which still runs easily. Too thick: add a little more water. Too thin: add a little more flour. Fill it into a piping bag and cut off a small corner.
Pipe a line through the center of each row and continue in the opposite direction to draw crosses.
Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cover the tops of the buns loosely with aluminium foil if they brown too quickly. They are done when golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let them cool a little.
Glaze & Enjoy
Combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Use a pastry brush to spread the glaze evenly on top of the warm buns.
Serve immediately, while the buns are still warm.
Storage: cover leftovers with aluminium foil and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
My Summary for Hot Cross Buns
Taste: sweet and delicious spice based on cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
Texture: the buns are very soft and chewy.
PROS: they are great for breakfast, but also perfect for dessert. Most of the work can be done a day before.
CONS: making these buns is a little more complex for those who, for example, have never worked with yeast before. The right dough texture is important.
For the Buns
- 180ml whole milk, 43°C / 110°F
- 7g instant yeast
- 5g granulated sugar
- 100g light or dark brown sugar
- 70g butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
- 2g vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 6g salt
- 3g ground cinnamon
- 1g ground nutmeg
- 1g ground cardamom
- 435g flour (550)
For the Flour Cross
- 60g flour (550)
- 70ml water
For the Glaze
- 60g powdered sugar
- 20ml milk
- 0,5g vanilla extract
- Line a 22,9x33cm / 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, grease with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Mix the warm milk, yeast and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Cover and let the dough stand for 5 minutes.
- Add brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and 1/3 of the flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula.
- Add the remaining flour and beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and separates from the edges of the bowl, for about 2 minutes.
- The dough should be a bit sticky and soft. In case it is too sticky and does not separate from the edges of the bowl, add additional flour (10g flour at a time). Knead the dough for another 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Grease a large bowl lightly with nonstick spray and transfer the dough to the bowl. Then turn it to distribute the oil all over the sides and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm environment for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
- As soon as the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces, about 60g each. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, pinch on the bottom to seal and place in the prepared baking pan.
- Cover the shaped rolls with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge overnight or let them rise at room temperature until puffy, for about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 177°C / 350°F.
- For the cross: mix flour and water together. You should get a thick paste that still runs easily. If it is too thick, add a little more water and if it is too thin, add a little more flour. Fill the paste into a piping bag (plastic bag) and cut off a small corner. Pipe a line through the center of each row of buns and continue in the opposite direction to draw crosses.
- Bake the buns for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. They are done when they are golden brown on top. In case the tops brown too quickly, cover them loosely with aluminium foil. Take the buns out of the oven and let them cool while you work on the glaze.
- For the Glaze: mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together and brush on top of the warm buns.
- Serve and enjoy immediately.
Recipe adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.