Hot Cross Buns recipe
Recipe video above. Fluffy, perfectly spiced homemade Hot Cross Buns! Especially to see the dough before and after kneading, and how I roll the balls to get nice smooth golden tops. Also, see below for the NO KNEAD version of this recipe! Inactive time for this recipe: 1 - 2 hours.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time45 mins
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast (Note 1)
- 110g / ½ cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 1½ cups / 375ml milk, whole or low fat, lukewarm (Note 2)
- 637.5g/ 4¼ cups bread flour (Note 3) + 1/4 cup extra
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 tsp All Spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups / 210g sultanas (Note 4)
- 1 - 2 oranges, zest only (Note 4)
- 50g / 3.5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup flour (any white flour)
- 5 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp apricot jam
- 2 tsp water
Place the yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar in a large bowl, then pour in milk. Leave for 5 minutes until it froths.
Add remaining Buns ingredients, starting with 4 1/4 cups flour, including remaining sugar.
Use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to mix until a smooth elastic dough forms. Add extra flour if required. (Note 5) See video for how the dough should look.
Alternatively, dust a work surface with flour and knead by hand for 10 minutes or until smooth.
Forming Balls (watch video, it's helpful):
Line a 31.5 x 23.5 cm / 9 x 13" tray with baking paper with overhang.
Remove tea towel and punch dough to deflate.
Dust work surface with flour, place dough on work surface, knead lightly (to deflating air) and shape into a log. Cut into 12 equal pieces.
Take one piece and press down with palm, then use your fingers to gather into a ball, then roll the dough briefly to form a ball. This stretches the dough on one side and that's how I get a nice smooth surface.
Place the ball with the smooth side up on the tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Line them up 3 x 4.
Rise # 2:
Spray a piece of cling wrap lightly with oil (any), then place over the tray.
Return tray to warm place and leaver 30 - 45 minutes, until the dough has risen by about 75% (less than double in size).
Partway through Rise #2, preheat oven to 180C/350F (all oven types).
Mix flour and water until a runny paste forms - see video for thickness required.
Spoon into a round 3 mm piping bag or small ziplock bag then snip corner.
Remove the cling wrap and pipe crosses onto the buns. Go slow so it hugs the curves.
Bake for 20 minutes (fan / convection) or 23 minutes (standard), or until the surface is a deep golden brown. The surface colour is the best test for this recipe.
Meanwhile, place jam and water in a bowl, microwave for 30 seconds. Mix to combine.
Remove buns from oven. Brush with jam mixture while warm.
Use overhang to lift buns onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool to warm before serving.
1. 1 tbsp dry yeast = 9 grams
I use Lowan Dried Instant Yeast (red tube, sold at Woolies/Coles baking aisle) which technically doesn't need to be frothed before using but there's no harm in doing it, and I do it out of habit + also because then the same steps apply to any dried yeast. If you are using the packets, you can just use 2 x 7 g sachets, that is 4 1/2 tsp which is slightly more than 1 tablespoon but it works just fine. Doesn't taste yeasty and makes it rise a touch more. Otherwise, measure out 1 tablespoon.
If your yeast doesn't go frothy, sorry to say it's not active so your buns won't rise. :(
To use fresh yeast (comes in a block that crumbles, not powder like dry yeast), use 27g/ 0.9 oz. You don't actually need to dissolve it in liquid like I do with the dry, but there's no harm in doing it and so for the sake of consistency, crumble it in and let stand until it foams up, same as using dry yeast.
2. Scalding hot milk kills the yeast. I heat it for 45 seconds on high in the microwave. The test is this: stick your finger in. If it was a bath, would it be pleasant? Good. It's not too hot or too cold!
3. Breads are also fluffier and more tender if made with bread flour rather than normal flour. However, this recipe works great with normal white flour too.
4. SULTANAS: Some recipes say to add sultanas after the dough has been kneaded or risen. If you do this, you'll find it very hard to disperse them evenly throughout the dough. By adding them before kneading, some to get squished. But it's not noticeable in the end result.
Also, I personally don't like bitter pieces of citrus in my hot cross buns but you could add it if you like. Candied peel is nice but not sold at supermarkets. That's why I use orange zest instead. Use 2 oranges if you want a more prominent orange flavour.
5. Dough: Takes ~5 min, speed 2 with KitchenAide. Add the extra flour if required so the dough comes away from the bowl - the trick is to use the minimum so it's stuck on your fingers, but as soft as possible.
6. WARM PLACE for dough: This is what I do all year round - use my dryer. Laugh - but try it! Run the (empty) dryer for 1 - 2 minutes, then place the bowl inside. If you do that, the dough will rise in 40 minutes. Even if it's snowing outside!
7. STORING / MAKE AHEAD: As with all homemade bread, it is best served on the day it's made. For the day after, reheating makes all the difference to make them soft and moist again - 15 sec in the microwave! These freeze great, then just defrost. To reheat batches, I pop them on a tray and cover with foil (to avoid the surface getting too crisp), then reheat at 160C/320F for 8 minutes or so.
Serving: 80g | Calories: 217kcal