Hot Cross Buns

Easter is approaching so what's better to bake than homemade hot cross buns. I'd never attempted these before so went for a trusty Paul Hollywood recipe and it seems that he knows what he's doing. Although pretty time consuming - 3 separate hour long proves - the rustic-ness of these is worth it*.

Dough isn't really my forte in baking so I found it quite tricky to judge if things had had long enough to prove or whether I'd over worked the dough, but so far, so good. The first stage of dough making is pretty messy and I was doing it in a bit of a rush but once that was done, the next steps to hot cross bun completion were relatively easy - just requiring a lot of patience!

I wasn't too keen on adding apple to my hot cross buns so I cut that out of the recipe and stuck to the traditional sultanas and mixed peel.

Whilst they were baking in the oven I was worried that the 'cross' element had disappeared but once they had turned golden brown the piping became clear again. I don't think they'd get the Paul Holywood handshake as, annoyingly, they are slightly over baked but for a first attempt I'm quite impressed.


  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 50g butter
  • 500g bread flower
  • 7g (one sachet) fast action yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 100g mixed peel/sultanas combined
  • 75g plain flour (for the cross)
  • 2tbsp apricot jam (for the glaze)


  1. Begin by bringing the milk to the boil and adding the butter to the pan once removed from the heat. Allow this to cool to room temperature. 
  2. Whilst waiting for the milk to cool, weigh out your dry ingredients into a large bowl (aside from the mixed peel and sultanas) and create a well in the centre. 
  3. Once cooled, add the milk to the dry ingredients and now add in your beaten egg also. Mix until well combined and a sticky dough is formed. 
  4. Tip this out onto a well floured work surface and begin needing your dough with the heel of your hand, stretching it back and forth. Kneed for about 5 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth. Place this into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film - allow to rise in a warm room for an hour (It should double in size). 
  5. Once the first prove is over, add the sultanas and mixed peel and kneed until well distributed. Cover again and allow to rise for another hour. 
  6. Next, divide the dough into about 15 pieces (75g ish each) and roll into balls on a lightly floured work surface. Divide between two baking trays lined with greaseproof paper, leaving enough space for spreading during cooking. Cover again(!) with a clean tea towel and leave to rise again(!) for another hour. 
  7. Mix the plain flour with 5-6tbsp water (add a little at a time) to make a paste. Spoon this into a piping bag, cut a small hole in the bag and pipe a cross onto the top of each bun.
  8. Place the baking trays in an oven preheated to 200degreesC and bake for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them for the last few minutes as they can catch quite quickly. 
  9. Heat the apricot jam until it becomes runny and warm and then spread onto the top of each bun to give them a nice shiny glaze. 
  10. Leave to cool and then enjoy! 

Happy Easter!

*If you need a quick hot cross bun fix - I'd suggest buying some and saving the baking for when you've got more time! 

Update; I'm eating one for breakfast as I type, and I can confirm that toasted with a spread of butter, they are pretty damn good (if I do say so myself!).


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