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My Hot Cross Bun Recipe

albacore's picture

My Hot Cross Bun Recipe

My Hot Cross Bun Recipe

Here is a hot cross bun recipe I worked on last year, as I felt many recipes I looked at had room for improvement.

It combines elements from two classic commercial breadmaking books (Manna by Walter Banfield published 1938 and Kirkland's The Modern Baker published 1908). Other sources of inspiration were Rossnroller's TFL recipes and a few of my own ideas.

Key points are:

use of a true flying sponge to get the yeast nice and active
careful selection of flour for soft crumb and good flavour - ideally an 11% protein (UK measurement) bread flour plus a bit of high extraction spelt for flavour (optional, of course). Suitable bread flour is T500 (eg German or Polish) or Italian 0 or 00 low W pizza flour at 11% protein
use of egg yolk without egg white, panettone style
replacement of the sugar syrup glaze with an egg yolk wash - I really have no time for the glaze; it makes the buns very messy to eat and to store.
use of a plain flour/rice flour piping paste for the crosses to give good texture and low gluten for "pipeability"

Here we go:


62g currants
21g sultanas
10g peel

Pour boiling water over fruit (minimum to cover), cover container and leave for an hour or two

Flying sponge

79g milk
79g water
8g sugar
5.6g idy (SAF Gold osmotolerant if available, but standard also works)
19g bread flour

Mix in a Kenwood or KA with balloon whisk to get plenty of air in. Aim for a 28C sponge (you will need to prewarm the bowl and whisk).
Store at 28C for approx. 25mins. Ready when head begins to break.

Main Dough

250g bread flour 11%
50g mockmill spelt fine kitchen sieved
2g diastatic malt flour
2g salt
47g white sugar
40g egg yolk
24g soft cubed butter
20g olive oil
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground green cardamom
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


Mix flours, salt, sugar and spices in a bowl.
Sponge in Kenwood bowl fitted with dough hook
Add egg yolk
Add flour mix
Mix slow then faster until mixture leaves sides of bowl. Check for good windowpane
Slowly add in cubed butter bit by bit till mixed then oil bit by bit till mixed.
Add in drained fruit on slow.
Turn out, stretch and fold and shape into a round.

Bulk proof approx. 1hr 28C – should be well risen.
Divide into 7 x 92g buns. Best to weigh them out, so you get uniform buns. Shape into balls, pin to 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.
Final proof approx. 1hr 28C – buns should be doubled in volume.
Preheat oven to 210C (T&B heat, no fan, no steam, no baking stone, but close vent if poss). While preheating, make mix for crosses.

Cross mix to pipe (combine and mix well):

32g plain (cake/pastry) flour 9%
13g rice flour
13g canola oil
32g water
1 heaped teaspoon sugar
Pinch cinnamon

Brush egg wash on buns – 1 egg yolk, pinch salt and 1 tspn icing sugar dropped directly onto yolk, mix with a spoon, then add about 10 ml water and mix all together.
Then pipe on the crosses


Top and bottom heat
Bake buns on double sheet:
Preheat 210C
210C for 7m, bottom heat only
190C for 7m, top and bottom heat
175C for 7m, top and bottom heat

As soon as possible, get buns off baking tray and on to cooling rack.




Benito's picture

Awesome buns Lance, they good really good.  I’ve never made buns let alone hot cross buns, this might be a fun project for Easter.  Thanks for sharing your detailed formula with us.


albacore's picture

Thanks Benny; I hope you get a chance to make them.



mwilson's picture

That's a nice fluffy interior you got there Lance!

And a good hit of spices, I bet they were tasty!

Nice work!

albacore's picture

Thank you, Michael. I have to give credit to Rossnroller for the spice mix - it was his (very tasty) blend.