How To Make The Perfect Hot Cross Bun Monday - 1st April 2019

Easter is just around the corner and we’re pretty excited! For those that love food like us, this is an excellent time of year. From the succulent roast lamb to the thick gravy poured over perfectly roasted potatoes, everything about Easter Sunday food is delicious.

One of our favourite Easter food icons is the humble hot cross bun and it doesn’t get better than when they’re homemade! So, whether you’re hosting an Easter event or just having a few friends around, we thought we’d show you how to make the perfect hot cross bun.

What Are Hot Cross Buns?

If you’re new to the idea of hot cross buns or aren’t too sure what they are, let us clear things up. Mostly, it’s a sweet, spiced bun, not unlike the consistency of soft bread, with currants and raisins. Lara Mason, in the Oxford Companion to Food, describes them as being made from "rich yeast dough of flour, milk, sugar, butter, eggs, currants and spices". All delicious stuff.

There’s plenty of different styles and recipes, Nigella’s traditional recipe combines moisture and softness to give a sweet finish. There are more varied editions, like Dan Lepard’s “spiced stout hot cross buns” – if you’re looking for a traditional bun with a little kick, these are for you.

A Rich Bun, for Festivities Only

A mixture of sweet and spice, the perfect hot cross bun deserves to be presented as a rich golden dough laden with fruit. Mouth-watering.

How to Make Hot Cross Buns

One of our favourite recipes comes from The Guardian’s, Felicity Cloake. Her mix of sweet and spice does create the perfect bun:

Makes 16 Buns

  • 200ml milk, plus a little more for glazing
  • 3 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 20g fresh yeast
  • 50g golden caster sugar, plus extra to glaze
  • 450g strong white flour
  • 100g butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g currants
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 3 tbsp plain flour

Now, Here’s the Recipe:

  1. Heat 200ml milk gently in a pan along with the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and saffron until just boiling, and then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Bring back up to 37 degrees and then mix the strained milk with the yeast and 1 tsp sugar.

  2. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and grate over the butter. Rub in with your fingertips, or in a food mixer, until well mixed, and then add the rest of the sugar and the salt and ginger. Beat together 2 of the eggs.

  3. Make a well in the middle, and add the beaten eggs and the yeast mixture. Stir in, adding enough milk to make a soft dough – it shouldn't look at all dry or tough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then lightly grease another bowl, and put the dough into it. Cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size – this will probably take a couple of hours.

  4. Tip it out on to a lightly greased work surface and knead for a minute or so, then flatten it out and scatter over the fruit and peel. Knead again to spread the fruit around evenly, then divide into 16 equal pieces and roll these into bun shapes. Put on lined baking trays and score a cross into the top of each, then cover and put in a warm place to prove until doubled in size.

  5. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and beat together the last egg with a little milk. Mix the plain flour with a pinch of salt and enough cold water to make a stiff paste. Paint the top of each bun with egg wash, and then, using a piping bag or teaspoon, draw a thick cross on the top of each. Put into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until golden.

  6. Meanwhile, mix 1 tbsp caster sugar with 1 tbsp boiling water. When the buns come out of the oven, brush them with this before transferring to a rack to cool. Eat with lots of butter.

Now you know how to make them, there’s no excuse! Your Easter will be full of delicious hot cross buns, no matter what you’re doing. If you are throwing an event this Easter, or any time this year, don’t hesitate to get in touch with The White Label for more tips, or to ask us to organise your event for you.