Standard Easter baking recipe post alert! I’ve tried a variety of Hot Cross Bun recipes in the last couple of years and I think this one tops them all. Hot Cross Buns are without a doubt the best Easter bake out there. They’re not too naughty, not too heavy or rich, you can eat a whole load of them and can eat them all day from breakfast, snack time, tea time to pudding – what’s not to love!
The problem at the moment is that it is so so easy to buy shop bought hot cross buns in supermarkets which are extremely cheap and it’s stopping many people from baking their own. But i’m telling you now, when you’ve tried homemade hot cross buns you’ll never want to go back! Ok so they don’t keep for as long but that’s because they’re not full of preservatives but these are so good you won’t have any leftover to be keeping anyway 😉 They also have a delicious sweet crispy outside that you just don’t get with shop bought ones.
This recipe does take time because what makes them that bit more special is that they’re given enough time to prove properly which makes them extra fluffy and have the perfect crumb texture. It’s a great excuse however to spend a day pottering in the kitchen preparing all your Easter bakes. Plus there’s plenty of time to be getting on with other things whilst the dough is proving. Give these buns the time they need, don’t take short cuts and you won’t be disappointed!
Makes 15 Hot Cross Buns
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 50g unsalted butter
- 300ml milk (full fat is best here)
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 7g sachet fast action yeast
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 100g sultanas
- 50g mixed peel
- 1.5 tsp cinammon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
For the cross and glaze:
- 75g plain flour
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
- Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil and then immediately take off the heat to cool slightly. Stir in the butter to the warm milk to melt it and then set aside.
- Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl (don’t let the yeast and salt touch at this point) and make a well in the centre.
- Pour in the warm milk and butter and add the egg.
- Using a wooden spoon bring the mixture together to form a sticky dough.
- Tip the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for a good 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
- Put the dough into a lightly oil bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour (it should approximately double in size).
- Mix together the sultanas, mixed peel and both spices and, once the dough is ready, tip the dried fruit mixture into the bowl with the dough in it.
- Knead everything together in the bowl or tip onto a floured surface to make sure everything has been evenly mixed in and then cover and leave for a further hour to prove.
- Tip the dough onto a flour surface and knead for just a few seconds. Using a sharp knife divide the mixture into 3 sections. Roll out each section into a sausage shape then divide each sausage into 5 even pieces so you have 15 all together.
- Roll each piece into a ball and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. I like to place them about 1.5cm apart so when they go into the oven they join together slightly so you get that nice broken edge look when you break one off.
- Leave them to prove again for 45 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C (200 fan).
- Make the paste for the crosses by adding just enough cold water to the the 75g plain flour until it forms a thick paste. Using a piping bag or sandwich bag pipe crosses across all the buns just before they go into the oven.
- Place into the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown – keep an eye on them!
- Whilst they’re still warm brush over some heated apricot jam and then leave to cool.
Ultimate Hot Cross Buns ready for Easter – I like mine toasted with a good blob of butter 🙂 Enjoy!