The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hot Cross Buns

honeymustard's picture

Hot Cross Buns

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.


tabasco's picture

Congratulations on baking a very nice batch of Hot Cross Buns!  I too am having a devil of a time finding a really good tradtional recipe for them~~maybe I'll run over to the library tomorrow and find that 'Better Homes & Gardens cookbook'! 

I have tried Hammelman's, Reinhardts, Hennsbergers, Nigella's and devised my own recipe and still haven't come up with a batch that I consider 'to die for', or even worth the calories! 

 By the way,  which spices did you use?  I always use cinnamon and sometimes add mace or cardamom, but I'm open to some new ideas!  (But not chocolat~~mine have to be 'traditional'!)  


honeymustard's picture

Hi Tabasco!

The spices I used include cinnamon, but also nutmeg and cloves! Very classic flavours but it comes together very nicely. I think having spices that weren't bark spices helped the rise of the buns, since cinnamon is toxic to yeast and might impede it a little. I was quite happy with these humble but delicious buns. They were gone almost instantly by all the visiting family I have around me lately.

I'd be happy to post the recipe when I'm home today if you can't find the cookbook at the library; I'm writing from work on my lunch break.


tabasco's picture

Thanks for the tip on the spices, hm.  I will try that spice combination next time.  Are you baking another batch for tomorrow?

I tried yet another recipe today from  Of course I could not resist making changes, so I can't say if that recipe is 'the one' or not!  But it was interesting because it used half bread flour and half AP.  And then I carried on with the theme and used half butter and half shortening to try to make them more fluffy.  Not sure if I succeeded or not!

My family thought they were great and also added that they thought I would never like any HCBs since I hadn't yet found a recipe the suited me! 

Happy Easter!  J.

honeymustard's picture

Sadly, I probably won't get to make another batch for tomorrow; I actually work Easter Sunday and go immediately from there to a relative's for supper. It will be good, but no time to make the buns. If I had, I might have given currants a go, I find them nice and tasty.

I know what you mean about not being sure if this is "the one" recipe, especially when you don't have anything to compare it to immediately. If you're looking to try a new recipe, I'll post mine here and you can give it a go. Apologies in advance for the imperial measurements if you're not used to them.


2 c. AP flour (I used organic, unbleached white)

1 pck. yeast

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves


3/4 c. milk

1/2 c. butter

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt


3 eggs

2-2 1/2 c. AP flour

2/3 c. raisins or currants


Combine all ingredients in "ONE." Heat ingredients in "TWO" in small saucepan until about 120-130 F. Add to stand mixer along with eggs and beat on high speed for three minutes or so. Stir in the rest of the flour and follow with the raisins with a wooden spoon. Knead for 3-5 minutes and let double, about 2 hours.

Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide into twenty pieces and form balls with smooth tops; place in pan and let rise for 1 hour. Score and bake in a 375 F oven for 15-20 minutes. Drizzle with powdered sugar icing or orange glaze, like I did.

Some notes: I didn't grease the pan like the recipe suggested; I found the butter in them is enough to keep them from sticking. Also, I added some vanilla along with the eggs because it just seemed appropriate.

Hurray for Hot Cross Buns! Hope this is helpful, and if not, maybe next year.

tabasco's picture

Even though officiallly the HCB season is over now, I will have to give yours a go this week and see if I can make it work.  I haven't used Imperial measures since we lived in England some years ago, but will give it a try!  (I wondered if you were British, or from the old Empire somewhere, having used the 'flavour' spelling in your first post...and then of course I was very interested in what you had to say since I think the Brits make the best HCBs!

Now I see today that you started something of a fad on TFL blogs because several others have posted their HCB quests for recipes on their blogs!

I hope you are having a lovely Easter!  J

honeymustard's picture

I am Canadian. :) Most Canadians do the giveaway "u" in certain words, and we are in an interesting position: we switched from Imperial to Metric only a generation or two ago, and I find that I flip flop with both measures constantly and confusingly. I would love to stick with one or the other, but I have Canadian, American, European, and British cookbooks in my collection, so there is no consistency. Ah well, not such a sad plight.

I hope you have a fun time with the recipe, as it is very easy. HCB are so good, they should be enjoyed any time of the year. Hope your Easter is going well too!