Hot Cross Buns

Whether you prepare these for Easter, or serve them throughout the year, Hot Cross Buns are best enjoyed with soft butter and your favourite jam.

Yield: Approx. 18 ○ Active Time: 80 minutes ○ Total Time: 4-5 hours



2 black tea bags

125g dried currants

80g unsalted butter

300ml whole milk

1 tsp salt

500g (approx. 3 cups) unbleached bread flour + more for pinches

80g white sugar

2 ¼ tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast

1 egg

zest of 1 medium orange

1 apple (peeled and finely diced)

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup all-purpose flour

4 tbsp. apricot jam



Step 1: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. In a medium size, microwave-safe bowl, pour the boiling water over the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and discard them. Add the dried currants to the steeped tea. Place the bowl of tea and currants in the microwave, and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave and set it aside to cool.


Step 2: In a small saucepan, bring the butter, milk, and salt to a gentle simmer over low heat. When the butter is half-melted, turn the heating element off. The butter will continue to melt while from the residual heat; then the mixture will come to room temperature. Set aside when the butter is fully melted.


Step 3: Into the bowl of your electric mixer, sift flour. Then add the sugar, and yeast. Attach the dough hook.


Step 4: When the milk mixture is just warm to the touch, not hot, turn the mixer to low-speed and stream the milk into the flour. Keep the mixer on low-speed. Add the egg before the milk and flour have fully blended together.


Bring dough together by slightly increasing the speed. The liquid in the centre will pull the dry ingredients in from the sides, until you have one cohesive dough.




If the dough is slack and resembles a ‘batter’ or thick paste, it needs more flour. Reduce the speed and continue adding large pinches of bread flour, increasing the speed after every addition, until flour is fully incorporated.


(When you increase the speed and notice the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, maintain that speed and wait to see if the dough pulls everything from the sides and bottom of the bowl. If it does, you don’t need to add more pinches of flour). The dough should be shiny, slightly sticky, but not slack. Knead for an additional 5 minutes on low-medium speed.


Step 5: Set the bowl with dough aside in a warm room, covered with a tea towel, to double in size (approx. 1 hr).


Step 6: Strain currants from the tea into a sieve and press to release as much liquid as possible (you want to add plump and juicy currants to the dough; not the liquid they were soaking in).


Step 7: After the hour rise, when the dough has doubled in size, add the drained currants, orange zest, apples, and cinnamon to the dough. Knead with the dough hook on low-medium speed until all ingredients have been incorporated (this happens quickly).



With the mixer running, add as many pinches of bread flour as necessary to get a nice dough consistency that no longer looks soggy (sticky is fine).  Again, you want a cohesive dough.


Once the desired consistency has been achieved, turn off the mixer and set the bowl of dough aside to rise an additional hour; covered with a tea towel.

Step 8: Arrange a baking rack to upper 1/3 of oven. Set the oven to 400 °F/200°C (10° less if convection). Prepare two baking trays by lining them with silicone baking mats, and set them aside. (I have an additional oven thermometer on the inside of my oven, in addition to the built in thermometer, that confirms the oven is indeed at the right temperature. As these buns can burn easily, especially on the undersides, it is important your oven be at the correct temperature).

Step 9: Ensure you have a clean dry work surface. Gently punch the dough in the mixing bowl down and transfer the dough to your clean work surface.

Step 10: Divide the dough into 50g portions using a scale.

Shape each portion into spheres. (Pick up portioned dough, place it on the work surface. Cup your dominant hand over the dough portion and start rapidly tracing an invisible circle by rotating your cupped hand clockwise; with dough trapped inside). This forms a perfect ball.

Step 11: Arrange the dough balls on to silicone lined baking sheets, with enough space for the balls to expand while baking. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rise 30 minutes.

Step 12: In small container, mix all-purpose flour with enough water to form a sticky paste you can pipe onto the buns. (Handheld electric blenders work very well for blending flour and water smoothly). When you have a smooth paste, set aside.

Step 13: In a small saucepan, bring the apricot jam to a gentle simmer with ¼ cup of water, over medium heat. Whisk to blend the water and jam. When the jam is nice and runny, turn off the heat.

Step 14: Prepare and bake trays one at a time! If you bake both trays at the same time, the lower tray is likely to burn.

Discard plastic film from one tray of buns. Using a piping bag with a fine tip, or a disposable piping bag with a tiny corner cut off; pipe crosses onto the surface of each bun on that tray.

Step 15: After piping the crosses, immediately transfer the tray of buns to the oven (on rack in upper 1/3). Set a timer for 8 minutes. At the 8 minute mark, rotate the baking tray so the back now faces the front.  Bake for an additional 4-6 minutes (12-14 minutes total baking time). Keep a close eye on the buns, and remove them when they are golden between the crosses. (See image below).

Step 16:  Immediately glaze the first tray with the still warm apricot jam mix, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Step 17: Discard the film from the second tray. Repeat the  piping and baking process with the second tray; followed by the glazing. Snip off any uneven edges when all the buns have cooled.

Step 18: Allow the buns to fully cool before serving. If you plan on freezing hot cross buns, allow them to cool to room temperature, before freezing them in a freezer bag. Re-heat them in the microwave for 30-60 seconds before serving.

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