Hot cross buns

Home made hot cross buns on cooling rack.

The Easter weekend was a combination of brilliant sunshine and windy, grey days – the epitome of autumn weather in our part of Australia. It felt good to hunker down at home, binge watch a bit of television (Sky One’s Trollied on streaming channel Stan) and tuck into warm, comforting food. Hot cross buns are a favourite in our house in the lead-up to Easter but instead of buying them this year, Adam decided he wanted to bake them…

Adam’s quite confident when it comes to working with dough  and when we lived in England, he baked so much bread we hardly bought any loaves for a year. He loosely based his hot cross bun recipe on this Jaime Oliver one, making quite a few tweaks to suit his style of bread/bun making.

This recipe yielded 24 buns – enough for us and to make a few socially distant deliveries to friends and family- but you could easily halve this recipe for a much more manageable 12 buns.

Hot cross bun ingredients on a wooden table.

What you’ll need

  • 1 kilogram of baker’s flour
  • 550 millilitres of milk
  • 100 grams of caster sugar
  • 80 grams of unsalted butter
  • two teaspoons of dried yeast
  • two teaspoons of cinnamon
  • two teaspoons of mixed spice
  • one teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 350 grams of sultanas (Adam soaked his in this muscat for a touch of decadence)
  • one teaspoon of salt
  • extra flour + water for the crosses (about four tablespoons of each)
  • A few tablespoons of honey + water for glazing


Hot cross bun dough scattered with muscat soaked sultanas.

How to do it

  1.  Combine flour, sugar, yeast, spices and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir well.
  2. Add milk and butter to a small saucepan.  Heat slowly until butter has just melted.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until the dough forms into a large ball.
  4. Remove from bowl and knead for 10 minutes on flat surface.
  5. Return dough to mixing bowl and cover, leaving to prove for an hour and a half.
  6. Remove dough once more, stretching it out to form a large rectangle.  Add in sultanas and knead dough for a further two minutes.
  7. Divide dough into 24 pieces, roughly the same size, and loosely shape into buns on baking paper covered baking sheets.
  8. Cover and let rise for an hour.
  9. Combine extra flour and water in a piping bag (or in a plastic ziplock bag with one of the corners cut off) and pipe a cross onto each bun. (This was much harder than expected!)
  10. Cook in a 200ºc preheated fan forced oven for 20 minutes or until browned to your liking on top.
  11. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, making sure you cover the buns with a few tea towels (this ensures the buns don’t form too much of a crust).
  12. Remove tea towels and using a pastry brush glaze the tops of the buns with a combination of honey and water (you don’t want to water down the honey too much, it still needs to be sticky but easily spreadable).
  13. Cover glazed buns again and let them cool completely.


Hot cross buns ready to go into the oven.

Warm hot cross bun with butter underneath a vase of red and purple dahlias.

Hot cross buns certainly require a little labour, but I think they’re completely worth it.  My favourite way to eat them is split in half and toasted with a generous slick of butter.

Easter may be over for this year, but I’ve got a feeling Adam will be making these again soon… maybe just without the cross!

Happy Easter and have a wonderful week.

M. x

2 thoughts on “Hot cross buns

  1. My batch of hot cross buns was a complete failure.

    It was my first attempt at making them and I was trying to go sugar free but use stevia instead. The mixture tastes okay, but I wasn’t prepared for such a thick consistency. I should have been using dough hooks, not beaters, I think.

    I’ll have another attempt, but I might follow your recipe this time. And use dough hooks.


    1. Oh no Andrew! I trust you still had a nice Easter regardless. According to (our household expert) Adam if you’re using no or less sugar, you might have to let the dough prove for longer, as sugar affects yeast. Dough hooks are probably a good idea, as you’re wanting to knead rather than mix your ingredients. Alternatively you could knead by hand. Hope you have more success the second time round!


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