The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hot Non-denominational Buns's picture

Hot Non-denominational Buns

My Britalian wife cannot abide Easter without Hot Cross Buns.  She declared a batch we sourced locally from a national franchise bakery to be crimes against humanity.  Rather than hauling them up before the World Court, we thought our energy better spent baking some "our"selves.  So King Arthur's recipe was thrust before me, with orders to substitue 1 c AP with whole wheat.  Yes m'lady.  Also included were mixed peel from KA and rum-soaked currants (finally putting to use two mini-bar sized Appleton Rum samples we brought back from the Jamaican estate of the same name ~15 years ago -- probably a lesson there somewhere.).  When the buns were cool enough to pipe on the icing, they looked too good and we were too anxious to sample them and therefore elected to leave them non-denominational.

Before I devour this one with my Easter Monday lunch today, I thought I'd record it for posterity.  KA's recipe is highly recommended, even w/~25%WW.  Even non-denominational.

Happy Holidays and no April foolin'.



dabrownman's picture

believe you didn't throw some Toadies in there too.  Toad Buns have a special ring to them don't you think?.  Toadies are completely non-denominational if you ask me.   We just made such a huge batch of them,  I had to freeze them to make sure they stay at their flavor enhancement peak.  I asked my non-demonapprentical and she says Toadies can be kosher in a pinch too.

One of the great things about KA recipes are that they are so well tested by some of the best bakers around to make sure they work - even though those bakers are, sadly,  totally ignorant of Toadies.  There isn't much worse in the world for bread bakers  than to be Totally Toadless.   It's like a day without sunshine.  You have to feel for these poor souls who otherwise bake so well.   Sad really..... I'm thinking Toad Buns could have a real future.

Love your nondenominational buns and happy baking Tom's picture

I'll work on that Toad Bun proposal.  First it's time to toast up some more wheat germ and bran.  Big batch from god knows how long ago is finally gone.  btw, I've been planning to toast 'em with my steam apparat in place.  Maillard rxns reportedly require water and raw WG&bran are pretty dry.  Thought 325˚C + steam might be a plus.

Alway nice to hear from you dab -- thanks.  A sunny Apr 1 to you!


SylviaH's picture

I fully understand your wife's view about store bought HC buns.  I was agaste at what I saw at the farmer's market from a baker, what he called his Irish soda bread and the taste was even worse...there got that off my chest 'lol'  

Your HCB looks delicious.  We enjoy them year round.  Mom 'Mum' used to make them for our fishing picnic's.

Happy April 1st :)

Sylvia's picture

Thanks Sylvia,

Unfortunately, in her desire to extend the HCB season beyond the local disappointing bakery's schedule, my wife bought two of their batches, one of which is in our freezer and now destined to nourish the annual brood of raccoon pups peeping from their nursery cavity in one of our big old standard apples.  Better for them than us.

Fishing picnics.  Now there's a fetching vision.  Bring on summer!


Janetcook's picture


Love the buns and the idea of 'non-denominational'....I could never figure out how to do the piping in my kitchen with the ingredients I use so I never tried making them.  Now you have got me re-thinking that decision and, since they are non-d.  I can make them anytime and no one will know I am 'cheating'....

Thanks for sharing and tell you wife my rolls will be made with 100% whole grains just so she knows someone is using up all the good whole wheat and not tossing out the nutritional part....those are the parts that make up for the sugar and fat - gotta have balance :-)

Take Care,



I just checked out the recipe on KA.  Do you know why they add baking powder to these when they have IY in them too?  I usually think breads have one or the other but not the 2 combined so I am puzzled....mostly I think the baking powder would loose all of its leavening power during the rising time so that makes me think it is in there for another reason????'s picture

I too did a double-take on KA's call for IY and baking powder.  I'm not experienced enough in baking yeasted sweet breads to gauge just how unusual that combo is.  It seemed redundant to me as well.  But I'm the last person to second guess the Masters of Norwich, VT.  I assume the BP is there to play its usual role, in tuneful harmony with the IY.   The proof is in the buns:  They have a lovely light, moist and chewy texture, holding up nicely two days on.

My wife was surely channeling her food guru Rose Elliot, impossibly prolific doyen of vegetarian lifestyles for a generation of brits, when she ordered up the 25%WW substitute.  Ms Elliot, in her 100%WW version of HCBs, calls for crosses to be made of shortcrust pastry, linguine-like straps crossing the tops.  Maybe next time.  I'm instructed that this is the proper way to adorn HCBs and that piped icing crosses are a twinkiesque Amerikanization.  

Also rendering our version improper was the absence of Mixed Spice, a concoction ubiquitous on british shelves that we approximated but will surely smuggle back from the Motherland before HCB season next rolls 'round.



Janetcook's picture


Thanks for the response.  I have read that the traditional crosses were a simple flour and water combo too.  It is interesting to see how things do change as the people who bake them modify them to meet their wants...I know I am guilty of that one because I do it all the time :-)  I change almost all I bake into whole grain sd versions with honey or agave as sweetener.

Sounds like you have a definite plan for your visit to the Motherland.  I do hope you are allowed to bring the substance back across our border without fear of quarantine or worse...