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.