The perfect hot cross bun really does exist if you follow this recipe! Our delicious buns are super fluffy, incredibly flavoursome and acquire the most flawless golden tops from a gentle golden syrup glaze…it really is the ultimate treat for your Easter Sunday feast!
What is a Hot Cross Bun?
A hot cross bun is a sweet, yeasted bun packed full of warming spices and fruits including currants and raisins. It is believed that the iconic bun first appeared in 12th Century, where English Monks would decorate the freshly baked treat with a piped dough cross on Good Friday to commemorate the Day of the Cross.
The bun itself is symbolic within the Christian Faith. The white cross on top of the bun symbolises the crucifix in which Christ died upon, with the various spices and fruits used to represent the spices that were used to embalm Christ after death.
Why Add Maldon Salt To Hot Cross Buns?
Adding a pinch of Maldon Salt will reduce the bitterness of the cinnamon and grated lemon, and enhance the sweeter notes to come forward within the bake, causing the buns to become elevated and balanced in flavour.
Not only does it aid in producing a more well-rounded in flavour, but sprinkling a final pinch of Maldon Salt also gives texture! It will allow you to experience that satisfying, gentle crunch you crave as you take your first bite into the soft, fluffy bun…delicious!
How to Make Our Fluffy Hot Cross Buns
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon and lemon zest.
- Mix in the yeast and a Pinch of Maldon Salt.
- In a saucepan add the butter and milk and allow it to melt over a gentle heat, you want the butter to melt and the mixture to be lukewarm in temperature.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and slowly pour half the butter and milk mixture. Mix this together and then add the beaten egg. Mix this again, followed by the remaining butter and milk mixture. Mix with your hands to form a soft dough.
- Either tip this onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand or you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth, soft and elastic.
- Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough into it. Cover with clingfilm and allow it to prove for 1 hour in a warm place, or until it has doubled in size.
- After an hour, remove the clingfilm and knock the air out of the dough. Tip it onto a lightly floured surface and add the sultanas and citrus peel by stretching and folding the dough to incorporate, making sure the fruit is evenly distributed throughout.
- Now divide the dough into 12 equal size balls. Shape them by rolling between your palm and the surface so they are smooth and even.
- Place the balls onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and space them with roughly 2 – 3cm gap between them.
- Loosely cover the tray with clingfilm and leave again in a warm place for 45 – 60 minutes until they have doubled in size again. They should be puffed up and just touching.
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Make the flour mixture by mixing together the plain flour, olive oil and water. Beat together until it forms a smooth paste and then transfer into a piping bag.
- Once the buns have proved and risen, carefully remove the clingfilm. Pipe the crosses across the top. Then place into the middle of the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and brush the tops with golden syrup so they are glistening. Then set aside to cool slightly before serving.
- These buns are best served toasted with some butter spread on and a sprinkling of Maldon Salt.
How To Get Fluffy Hot Cross Buns?
It’s all about the dough. The smoother the dough means the better the gluten structure. This is because there is more trapped air within the mixture, meaning once your buns are baked, they come out super fluffy in texture!
To get a fluffy result, we recommend either adding the dried fruits/spices after kneading the dough until smooth, or adding them in after the first proof and folding them in until they are evenly mixed.
How To Get Your Hot Cross Buns to Rise?
Make sure you check the temperature of the room. The reason the dough may not be rising is because it needs to be rested in a warm place. If your worried your room temperature is cold, we recommend setting your oven to a low temperature, around 30-40 C and place inside.
If not the room temperature, it could be that the yeast you are using has expired! Make sure to check the expiry date on the yeast packet before using. You should know it is still in date as a bubble will form in the milk before being dded to the dough mixture.
Can You Add Anything Other Than Dried Fruits and Peels?
If you want to step away from the classic, we offer a variety of different flavourings to add to your hot cross buns!
Our delicious Chocolate Hot Cross Buns provide the perfect balance of dark chocolate and a kick of warmth through the use of mixed spices.
If you want something even more delectable, we also show you how to make our tantalizingly good Salted Caramel Hot Cross Buns with Dark Chocolate Chips! Be warned, you will definitely be going in for seconds when you bake these.