The Fresh Loaf

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Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns! Hot Cross Buns!
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross Buns!
If you have no daughters,
Pray give them to your sons!
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

My recipe below.

Hot Cross Buns are a popular Lenten tradition which are believed to have originated in England 150 years ago, though perhaps they are originally of pagan origin. Most commonly they are eaten on Good Friday. They are not made after Easter.

This year I baked my buns with raisins because that is what I had in the house. In past years I've used currants, which are excellent.

If your raisins or currants are dried out, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes before mixing them into the dough.

Hot Cross Buns

Makes 1 dozen buns

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar
1 cup warm (90-100 degrees) milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons instant (bread machine) yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins, currants, or dried fruit
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Egg wash:
1 egg

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and spices. Add the warm milk and butter and mix until all ingredients are combined. Add a little flour or milk until you achieve the proper consistency, which is moist enough that all of the ingredients stick together but dry enough that you can knead the dough without it sticking to your hands. I had to add a couple of tablespoons of flour to get to this consistency, but depending on the humidity in your area and how tightly packed your cups of flour are, your may need to add more or less.

Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Flatten the dough and pour the raisins or currants on top and press them into the dough. Work the dough until the raisins are well mixed in. Return the dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the dough has doubled in size.

When it has risen, pour the dough out onto a cutting board and divide into 12 pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and place on a greased baking surface (I used a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan). Cover the pan and allow to rise until they double in size again, typically 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. When the buns are ready to bake, scramble the egg in a bowl and brush some over the top of the buns. Then put the buns in the oven and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes.

While the buns are cooling, make the glaze by combining the lemon juice with the powdered sugar (you can also use orange juice, milk, or water if you don't have lemon juice around). Use a pastry bag, a spoon, or a knife to paint the crosses on top of the buns. Eat while still hot.

Hot Cross Buns


Altaf's picture


crumbbum's picture

I have this dough set to rise right now, but as usual, I can't leave anything alone. Sometimes I'll use powdered milk in my bread recipes, and since I put in golden raisins and dried cranberries in this one, I decided to use a fresh orange.

I got my zester and added bits of orange to the fruits, then I microwaved the orange and squeezed the juice out. I used the orange juice plus the water from hydrating the cranberries and then additional tap water to fill out the cup of liquid.

I also added a couple of drops of orange extract for good measure and I've reserved some of the orange juice to make the glaze, too.

It smells wonderful, I have high hopes!

JMonkey's picture

Hot CROSS buns, that is. I doubled the recipe, shaped them last night, and popped them in the fridge. Pulled them out this morning, let them finish rising and put them in the oven. Took about 20 minutes to cook thoroughly and I had to be a little chintzy with the icing (only had 3/4 cup instead of a full cup of powdered sugar), but they made for a very tasty, traditional breakfast.

Brought the rest to work (my family only ate 5) where they were a huge Good Friday hit.

Thanks Floyd!

maggie664's picture

Although we have sons and daughters, Floyd, they are no longer living with us, so we will be eating these ourselves (with no objection!) They look beautifully soft and enticing. Thank you for the recipe.

strattor's picture

I am a huge fan of the hot cross buns from Jeffrey Hamelman's book, "Bread". Besides a really tasty, light bread, (and including candied citris peel, which I think is key), the crosses are quite a bit different. He uses paste made from just oil, water, and flour that goes on right before the buns go in the oven.

 The cool part is that when the buns rise from the oven spring, the crosses stay out, meaning that the buns rise around the crosses. That means that when the buns come out the crosses are now flush with the bun. It's very attractive, and is really easy to brush with simple syrup to give them that nice shine. Give it a shot.

maggie664's picture

Have just got our Hot Cross Buns to final proofing but used good quality small chocolate drops instead of currants and a speculaas spice mixture which included a little cardamom, also vanilla essence and cinnamon bark oil and an egg as extras. Even before baking the aroma is tantalising. The dough was soft but firm and easily rolled into-er- rolls by moving the palm of my right hand in a circular movement on a board while applying a little pressure.

pseudobaker's picture

Thank you for this recipe - I made a triple batch on Good Friday and a double batch on Easter Sunday, and they disappeared very quickly!

maxamilliankolbe's picture

Made these today for our choir after our Good Friday Veneration Service and they were delicious!  I used dried cherries as the fruit, and they were perfect, though next time I think I will chop them just a tad since they were a bit large.  I really like the flavor of icing made with lemon juice.  I'm not sure why I didn't think of that before, but I would only use milk.  Now I'm thinking that next time I'll put just a tad bit of anise in the dough as well and a tiny drop in the icing.  Thanks for a great recipe that can be adapted so many ways!!



summerbaker's picture

I live in Florida but right now I'm in Cheyenne and i'm not used cooking in such a dry climate.  I ended up adding another 1/4 cup milk and the rolls still came out dry.  I should have listened to my instincts and added even more milk but since I had never made them before I didn't want to stray too far from the recipe.  Back home I almost certainly would have had to add more flour because of the humidity.

Jenm's picture

First time making Hot Cross Buns.  Didn't have all-purpose white flour so I used Eagle Mills Ultragrain.  Needed additional liquid.  Very Yum!  My family loved them!  Thank you for the recipe, Floyd.

punainenkettu's picture

I'd like to know how to make the mixture for dough crosses if anyone could share.  I love these and I think I will just have to make some YUM!!! Oh and crumbum you make me smile. I also am incapable of leaving ANYTHING alone and love how you add flavor by utilizing the juice and leftover liquid from the rasins!  My husband always gives me a hard time when I do things like that but why should I throw out FLAVOR!!!  :)

And kudos to you abfab for jumping in and trying something new!  Keep it up and you'll be a whiz in no time! Just keep asking questions, everyone here is really helpful.


cynthia dew's picture
cynthia dew

Just made these buns, minus good with butter. I also added lots of fine orange peel/zest.

Will try to attach photo....could not do it...exceeded size..will try again...

Thanks for the recipe....


Salilah's picture

Anyone got a good recipe for HCB using sourdough / wild yeast only?  Mine all appear to also use dried yeast - is it necessary due to the amount of butter, fruit etc?


bread_house's picture

They look amazing! I will be travelling to see family over the Easter Weekend who have already put in a request for Hot Cross Buns ... Is it possible to make the dough and shape the buns ahead of time, place them in the fridge overnight and the next moring cart the uncooked buns home and cook them there?  Its a 8 hr drive .... Any thoughts?

StuartG's picture

I dont have a specific answer for you but they will retard overnight in a fridge just fine.  I made them yesterday for the first time and put them in the fridge before bulk ferment.  Overnight they had risen about 1½ times and then I shaped the individual rolls while cold in the morning before they proofed for about 3 hours (its pretty cool here - about 20C).

I expect you can mix them and keep them on ice in an esky/chilly-bin and they'll travel fine.

As they only take about 15 mins to throw together you dont have much to lose by trying :)

Fresh hot cross buns are divine!

rolls's picture

Made these recently. My third time using this recipe. It's pretty fail-proof. I was really impatient this time wiv d rising and they still turned out amazing. I always soak d raisins and use the liquid :) 

For d icing, I never measure jus sprinkle some icing sugar in a tiny bowl, add a drop of vanilla extract and a drop of boiling water and mix with a fork and then use the same fork to drizzle over the buns. 

rolls's picture

Just converted this recipe to no knead. Let's see how they turn out :)

Skibum's picture

I made a batch of these this afternoon.  The dough went together and developed quickly and I LOVE the subtle flavour.  I need work on my shaping and I will wait a little longer before painting the crosses next time, but this was a wow first bake at this recipe.  This was a fun and tasty bake!  My problem now is that I can't stay away from these.  I had planned to gift my neighbours a half dozen as an Easter gift, but I am afraid I will have to do another batch or two for that.

I used half currants and raisins for the fruit, soaked in water, then drained.  I will add some home made candied orange and lemon zest next bake and soak the fruit in brandy or sherry, which may have to start as soon a tomorrow . . .  Yes I made a full batch and this recipe definitely goes into my full baking rotation.

Outstanding!  Thanks again for sharing, Brian

mini_maggie's picture

Made these for the first time this year, two batches and both turned out great, just like Floyd's picture.  Used the bread machine to knead, used 1 tbsp white and 1 tbsp brown sugar, put half the egg wash in the dough because I knew it would be leftover, and brushed with egg wash after shaping before final proof and again before going in the oven, and they were lovely.  Got lots of compliments on the texture and crumb - people said they preferred them to other HCB's texture.  Added in a total 1/2 cup of sultanas and chopped dried sweet cherries.  Awesome.

Floyd - I've yet to try one of your recipes that hasn't turned out awesome - for things far more impressive than I ever thought I would be able to bake.  Thanks so much.