The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hot Cross Buns

dabrownman's picture

Baking with the 3 GMA’s again this week for Easter where hot cross buns and babka are on the list.  Good Friday is Hot Cross Bun Day and we decided to make an overnight poolish for the buns and a small 200 g YW dough for the crosses.  The crosses were only 12.5% whole grains trying to make them a shade lighter in color than the buns.


We did 2 sets of S&F’s over 40 minutes to incorporate the bourbon re-hydrated dried; apricots, cranberries and raisins and then let the dough ferment for 1 hour. 


For the crosses we mixed 100 g of YW with 100 g of AP and 25 G of WW with 20 g of sugar and let this ferment on the counter2 hours before the bun dough came together.  We later added 2 g of salt to the mix before final proof of the cross dough.


After the bulk ferment the dough was divided into (4) 150 g pieces and (6) roughly 70 pieces.  The larger pieces were further divided into 4 balls that were placed into ramekins to make clover leaf rolls and make natural seams for the crosses to be placed.  The 70 g rolls were placed into muffing tins where the crossed were laid on top.  


Final proofing of the rolls took 6 hours on the counter before the crosses were placed on top, egg wash applied and placed into the 450 F mini oven with one of Sylvia’s steaming cups.  We baked the muffin tins first followed by the ramekins as the 2nd batch.

After 8 minutes the steam came out and the mini oven was turned down to 425 F, convection this time.  The tins baked for 7 minutes more – 15 minutes total and the ramekins baked for an additional 3 minutes - 18 minutes total.

We juiced ¼ of a lemon onto ¼ C of powdered sugar, stirred and then micro waved the mix for 30 seconds to clarify the glaze.   The buns were un-molded onto a cooling rack as soon as they came out of the oven and then the glaze was brushed on the entire top of the buns while still hot.

These turned out well as a desert roll, warm with butter, and made fine French toast the next morning too.  They are worth the work to make them at least one day a year.



Build 1




Pinch of AD Yeast










Whole Wheat










Total Starter








































Levain % of Total










Dough Flour





Whole Wheat





Whole spelt










Dough Flour















Water Weight Only + 1/3 C NFDMP





Dough Hydration










Total Flour





Milk and water





T. Dough Hydration





Whole Grain %










Hydration w/ Adds





Total Weight










Add - Ins















Snockered Fruits



After Snockering Weight
















1/4 tsp each Cinnamon and Nutmeg





1/8 tsp each Ginger, Allspice





1/16 tsp Cloves










YW cross dough was 100 g of YW, 100 g of AP and 25 g of WW



with 20 g of sugar and 3 g of salt.





gmagmabaking2's picture

Hot Cross Buns! 3 gmas

March 29, 2013 - 9:53am -- gmagmabaking2

We 3 gmas baked Hot Cross Buns... for Good Friday, but baked early due to one of us traveling out of town on our regular baking day... Nothing spectacular to report on this bake, except the amazing taste of this recipe we got from the Home page on this site!!! Here are the pictures... we are actually pretty close to the same this time... Barb left off the glaze because of hubby's diabetes... other than that, you would think we baked in the same kitchen.  I am loving these sisterly bakes across the country, and thanking God for the gift of Easter morning.

HokeyPokey's picture

Easter came early in our house this year J

No, seriously, I wanted to re-jigg my Hot Cross buns recipe in time for Easter and decided to start practicing well in advance.

The result has exceeded all my expectations – deliciously fluffy buns, studded with a variety of spiced fruit – read the whole recipe on my blog here



scake's picture

waiting easter in Italy

April 9, 2012 - 5:02am -- scake

Happy Easter to everybody! Here in the North part of Italy we have cold but sunny days.

I've cooked for my family and friends these Hot Cross Buns e this sweet bread that seems Challah (jewish) but is Tsoureki (greek cristian-ortodox) 'cause i love butter in sweets but i also like the look of this six-arms string!!!

rossnroller's picture

Every Easter I make sourdough hot cross buns, then try one or two new recipes using dry yeast. My sourdough recipe I've tweaked over years now, so no surprise that the SD buns usually get the nod over the yeasted ones. Last year's were terrif, and I was not expecting to better them this year. I didn't. Pretty good, but not quite up to 2011's batch. I compromised on a couple of ingredients and left out another, rather than sticking to the tried and true that had worked so well in previous years. Baker's slackness then. If anyone is interested in the recipe, which virtually guarantees an outstanding bake if you don't get lazy and compromise on quality ingredients, here it is.

And here are pics of the SD buns:


+ crumb shot


This year's yeasted buns, on the other hand, were a surprise - very good indeed! I adapted a prize-winning recipe published by a national online newspaper. Ingredient measures were in cups, which I weighed and recorded in grams as I worked through the recipe. I also needed to adjust the flour, and added spices and mixed peel to taste. I'm not sure whether this is a particularly good recipe (it seems pretty standard - similar to others I have tried), but it did work out very well. I'll type it out if anyone is interested in giving it a go.

yeasted buns


+ crumb shot


Cheers all!

tabasco's picture

Lenten Baking: paczki, hot cross buns, king cakes, Vastlakuklid, pretzels??

February 22, 2012 - 6:14am -- tabasco

Hi, TFLers,

Perhaps the Lenten baking enthusiasts among us can help me?

I am writing an article about Lenten baking traditions and I am hoping bakers on Fresh Loaf who bake anything in particular for the season might share your story, what is popular in your local,  perhaps your family tradition, a pic or/and a recipe?  Breads, cookies, pastries, etc., are what I have in mind.

Here in Cincinnati the bakeries advertise their 'paczkis', but I don't really know exactly what they are...they seem very popular though.

rossnroller's picture

As kids, my siblings and I were never permitted to eat a hot cross bun before Good Friday (or an Easter egg before Easter Sunday, or meat on Good Friday). While formalised religion and I have parted ways, I've continued to observe the Easter culinary traditions I was brought up with. I think it's no bad thing to delay gratification with treats like hot cross buns. The building anticipation enhances the experience, and I suspect you savour them all the more for holding off. Anyway...

All my adult life I've switched into Ultimate Hot Cross Bun Quest mode on the Thursday afternoon before Good Friday.  I used to search all over the city for the UHCB, then extended my forays to the suburbs. When the shops opened on Easter Saturday, the quest continued. Was always pretty hot cross bunned out by Sunday night!

5 years ago, I gave up my quest to find great hot cross buns in the shops. In the last decade or so, most of the bakeries and supermarkets here have dumbed down their hot cross buns in response to a mystifying public antipathy towards peel - hardly any commercial bakeries include peel in their doughs! What's a hot cross bun without peel? Huh?

What was I to do, then? Continue the quest in my kitchen, of course!  Sometimes it takes a long time to find the right path, no? So, I started plundering newspaper and magazine recipes, taking notes from TV cooks, googling etc. First couple of years, results were patchy due to inexperience on my part and some very ordinary recipes. Then 3 years ago, I 'discovered' home-baking of sourdough bread. Sounds like a prologue to an evangelical rant, or an MLM presentation. It very well could be the former, but I'm preaching to the converted here, so jump cut...

Most of my HCB recipes in the last 3 years have come from the generous online artisan bread community, and surprise surprise, my results have improved markedly. Being a sourdough nut, I usually include at least one SD recipe in my annual HCB bakes, and this year was no exception. I had highlighted 3 HCB recipes during the year that I just had to try when Easter finally arrived, and at this point I must make a confession. Due to extended fermentation periods in the recipes and a full fridge, I realised that I would not finish baking until after Easter Sunday unless I started before Good Friday - so I made my first batch earlier in the week without crosses! Is that cheating? I've convinced myself that it's not, since what makes a hot cross bun a hot cross bun is the cross.

As it happens, the first recipe I tried yielded the best hot (un)crossed buns I've made, and I ended up making some small tweaks and doing it again, this time crossed (on Good Friday morning)! So, this year, I've only managed to do one recipe twice, and one more yeasted recipe. Still, Easter is not over yet, so that third recipe may yet get a run.

Here are a couple of pics of the SD buns and the yeasted ones I baked the next day (in that order). The SD buns were far superior in every way. While they look a bit rustic (I'm not big on aesthetic finessing), I'd have to rate them as amongst the best I've sampled in all my years of questing after the Ultimate HCB. I'm excited by the prospect of elevating them to another level with a little more tweaking... I'm out of time right now, but will post the recipe (current tweaked version) a little later.

Sourdough hot cross buns...

...and crumb shot



...and on the way to Judgment Day.

Safe and happy Easter Sunday, folks.

OK, back. Here's the recipe for the SD HCBs. I've changed hydration and made other tweaks to the point that it now departs significantly from the recipe on which it was based, which was in turn based on another on Den Lepard's site. The original link is now 'broken'. This is how it goes in the baking community - everything is in a state of flux, with the possibilities always wide open to tweak in line with your own preferences.  Goes without saying that anyone trying this recipe should feel free to continue this tradition.

SD Hot Cross Buns (makes 6 large buns)

My ambient temp was 24C.

Pour boiling water over fruit, cover and leave overnight

Mix up 75gm of white SD starter (80% hydration) + 87g organic baker's flour + 137gm soy milk (yes! - doubtless cow's milk would be fine, but I suspect the soy lends a slight sweetness and creaminess that cow's milk wouldn't). Leave overnight to ripen - 8 hours was sufficient for mine.

Next morning, add 30gm ripe white starter (80% hydration) to preferment, or whatever is required to bring its useable weight to 300gm.

150gm organic baker's flour
20gm wholewheat organic flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
40gm white sugar
5gm whole cream milk powder
40 gm melted butter
300gm preferment

1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground green cardomom (just the seeds, not the pods)
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

75gm soaked sultanas
25gm soaked peel

Mix dry ingredients, except fruit. Add melted butter, mix in, then add preferment.

Knead briefly in bowl twice, 10 minutes apart. Fold in fruit.

Bulk proof 3.5 hours (adjust according to your ambient temperature), with hourly stretch and folds.

Divide into 6 (or more if you prefer smaller buns). Best to weigh them out, so you get uniform buns. Shape into balls, flatten slightly, and arrange on a greased baking tray. The buns should be close together but not quite touching each other or the sides of the baking tray. Cover well, and put in fridge overnight.

Next morning, preheat oven to 200C/390F (no fan, no steam). While preheating, make mix for crosses (can do this the previous night if preferred; store covered in fridge).

Cross mix (combine and mix well):
35gm flour
10gm canola oil
25gm water
1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon sugar

This mix can be piped on to the buns, but for such a small quantity I prefer to lay it out on a lightly oiled bench, roll it out thinly, and lay the crosses on the buns by hand.

Bake buns @ 200C/390F for about 25 minutes. (The second time I baked these, to get a better browning, I started @ 215C/420F for first 7 minutes or so, then dropped to 190C/375F, then dropped to 175 - all depends on the finish you are after. You might need to reduce baking time, also - you just need to watch the buns during the bake and use your intuition).

While buns are baking, make sugar syrup glaze:
15gm caster sugar
15gm water
Bring to boil, stir until sugar dissolved.

When bake is complete, remove buns and with silicon or bristle pastry brush apply hot glaze (reheat if necessary) to tops of buns. As soon as possible, get buns off baking tray and on to cooling rack.

Best to wait a while before splitting and eating with bounteous spread of fresh unsalted butter. I actually prefer these a couple of hours later, cold. The flavour and structure seems to develop during that time. Gorgeous toasted up to 2 days after bake, also.





jennyloh's picture


Here's my version of Hot Cross Buns, adapted from Ananda's Hot Cross Buns recipe ,  changed it to a chocolate version.  made with white and dark chocolates.

This was an interesting bake,  as I read the recipe wrongly and had to correct it,  at least it turned out to something edible and actually a soft bun that rose really nicely.

Here's my write up in my blog:


honeymustard's picture

I have had a lot of difficulty lately with hot cross buns. What an insane notion. A simple sweet bread, which I never normally have issues with, was driving me insane. I don't have a solution as to how or why. The yeast I'm using is completely fine in other recipes, and I'm quite a meticulous and careful baker most of time. And now it is Good Friday, and if there's any time in which I should make them properly, it's now.

The success was in the timing.

Hot Cross Buns

I chose an orange glaze instead of the traditional powdered sugar icing. The tops aren't as nicely browned as I'd like, but still browned. The rise was exactly as I'd like it to be. And wouldn't you know? It was from a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. Sometimes the easiest recipes are the best ones.

Next time I'd do it by hand instead of the stand mixer. The recipe calls for using the stand mixer, and since I've failed with hot cross buns twice this spring, I didn't dare stray from the recipe for fear of a third time. But as much as I love my KA, it pulls and tears the dough in a way I don't like, especially for forming rolls later. Maybe this upcoming Easter sunday would be a good time. And also, I'll be using currants instead.

But for now, I'm just glad they (finally) turned out.

MadAboutB8's picture

This might not be the traditional Hot Cross Bun but my Easter won’t feel like one without Chocolate Hot Cross Buns.

I based the recipe largely on the traditional Hot Cross bun I made last week. I included sourdough starter in the recipe for extra flavour. The starter didn’t help much with the rising, if at all. I also couldn’t taste any acidity from the starter.

Inspired by The Flavour Thesaurus book (the book about flavour pairing), I included crushed cardamom and cinnamon in the bread dough instead of mixed spices (sorry, the Hot Cross bun hard-core). The book suggested that cardamom, when paired with chocolate, makes chocolate taste rather expensive. That was interesting and I was curious to find out.

The cardamom does make the chocolate aroma nicer, lovely. The bread smells fantastic. I don’t want to sound too overly excited...I totally love this bun. It was the best chocolate hot cross bun I ever had, still drooling thinking about it. I can't tell which buns I love more, traditional or chocolate...they're both equally nice. I'll let my family decide when they have these two on Easter Friday.

Full post and recipe is here.



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