James knows I would totally live in a house made out of hot cross buns if I could. I wish people would just give me hot cross buns instead of chocolate eggs for Easter. I mean, who doesn’t love indulging in a gloriously soft, sticky, spice-laden sweet bread studded with juicy raisins and sultanas? I do occasionally enjoy the chocolate chip version of this Good Friday treat, but the traditional spiced version is also fantastic.
We baked these pillowy buns today, piped lovely crosses over the tops and slathered them with a sugared glaze for that lovely sheen. This is our first attempt at homemade hot cross buns. I adapted a triple-tested recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly (they call it their “Best Ever Hot Cross Buns”), cut down the quantities (the original recipe makes 16, which is bit too many for our household), and added a few small touches of my own.
I’d say this first attempt was a success – the tops browned beautifully, the buns came out super fluffy and ridiculously soft, the crosses were perfect, the glaze worked a treat. The only thing I’d do different next time would be to add a lot more raisins/sultanas and more spice. The recipe could definitely do with a bit more of a flavour hit. But other than that, I think this was a job well done. Check out the recipe below!
Soft & Fluffy Hot Cross Buns
A spiced sweet bread traditionally eaten on Good Friday.
1/2 cup full cream milk
1 tablespoon honey*
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
30 grams butter, cubed
2 2/3 cups bread flour (strong flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup apple juice
1 1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
2/3 cup dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, etc)
* I used Ogilvie & Co.’s Traditional Range Spiced Orange Honey in this recipe. Flavoured with a hint of cinnamon and orange liqueur, this honey seriously smells amaaaaazing.
for the flour paste:
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/3 cup filtered water
for the glaze:
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon powdered gelatine
2 tablespoons hot water
- In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and stir in the honey and butter until combined. Leave to cool slightly.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine bread flour, spices and salt. Mix well.
- In a separate larger bowl, whisk dried yeast with apple juice until dissolved, then add the egg and orange zest. Mix well. Stir in dried fruit.
- Add the flour mixture to the apple juice mixture and lightly mix together with a fork, then pour in the warm milk mixture and thoroughly combine, scraping down the bowl as needed, until a dough forms. Knead the dough for a few moments. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
- Loosely cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave dough to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Lightly knead the dough with oiled hands on a lightly greased surface for a couple of minutes. Return dough to bowl, cover and leave to rise a second time in warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.
- Divide dough into 8 equal parts, shape into balls and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cover and stand in a warm place for an additional 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C and prepare the flour paste to make the crosses.
- To make the flour paste, combine 1/2 cup plain flour and 1 tablespoon sugar in small bowl. Gradually mix in enough water to form a smooth paste. Spoon mixture into a small piping bag and pipe crosses over buns.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until the tops are an even golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool in tray.
- To make the glaze, combine 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon powdered gelatine and 2 tablespoons hot water in a small bowl and stir until the sugar and gelatine granules dissolve. Brush the tops of the buns with the glaze and serve warm. Best eaten fresh the day they are made.