There was always a lot of excitement around Easter…the anticipation of the long weekend, our annual visit to the Temple on Good Friday, visits from my sisters ,'The Story of Christ' movie on TV and off course Amma’s Hot Cross buns. Amma would usually make the buns while we were at school. She was fond of 'hiding' her baked treats until we had eaten ‘our food’...then she would reveal one of her famous treats.
Amma's Hot Cross Buns recipe was an adaptation of her soft bread roll recipe.She usually added raisins and/or mixed fruit and a combination of cinnamon and mixed spice. My version of the recipe uses the same ingredients with a few 'improved' techniques including - 'perhaps' a good way to test if the yeast is functional. Instead of combining the yeast with the dry ingredients I have instead combined the yeast with warm milk and sugar. This makes a good test to see if the yeast is alive or not- saving you the trouble of flopped buns!
How to make hot cross buns at home....
- Rising times may vary depending on the yeast product you are using. I recommend using Anchor Yeast in South Africa. Or you can use a brand of yeast that you have tried and tested before.
- This recipe instructs a method of dissolving the yeast in milk and sugar.If you prefer the conventional method of using dry yeast then you can also try that method instead.
- Similarly types of flour may vary...more dense flours like bread flour may require additional liquid +/- 10ml.
- If you are using cake flour or pastry flour (U.S) the dough may appear too weak don't add any additional flour this make the dough hard. Dust the work surface with a little flour so that the dough does not stick to the surface.Continue kneading until it is more manageable.
- Knead the dough continuously for 10 minutes to achieve a soft dough.
- Don't forget to preheat the oven.If cooked under low temperatures - the buns will be hard.
- To get the soft finish when cooked brush the buns with milk...after 10 minutes in the oven. Brush again 5 minutes before you remove from the oven.
Hot Cross Buns Recipe
Prep time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook time: 30
Total time: 2 hours
Yield: 9 hot cross buns
- 250g strong flour
- 7g dry yeast (or 1 sachet)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 125g sultanas and citrus peel
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
- 1 tablespoon mixed spice
- 25g butter or margarine
- 75ml warm milk
- 1 egg
- half teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the Cross
- 50g flour
- 50ml water
Additional Ingredients (optional for glaze)
- 3 tablespoons apricot jam or honey to be melted
- 2 tablespoons milk for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Combine the yeast, sugar and milk. Stir then cover and set aside for 10 minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients. Rising times may vary...if the yeast has not risen after 10 minutes then leave aside for more time until it has risen. If the yeast does not rise after 40 minutes then it could potentially not work.It may be best to try another yeast.
- Sift the flour, cinnamon and mixed spice. Add the sultans and citrus peel. Add the margarine.Combine to form a crumb like texture.Add the egg.
4. Add the milk/yeast mixture to the flour mixture.Combine until a soft dough forms.
5. Don't add any additional flour as this will render the dough too tough to work.Continue kneading the dough continuously for 10 minutes then cover and place in a warm spot for 1 hour.
- Press the dough flat then knead for 2-3 minutes. Break the dough into 4cm diameter buns.
- Place the buns about 1cm apart in a lined baking tray. Cover and allow to rise a further 15 minutes while you prepare the mixture for the cross.
- Combine the water and flour then place in a piping bag.Pipe across the buns then bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
9. After 10 minutes in the oven brush the buns (not the cross) with milk-this helps give the buns the soft texture.
10. Brush with milk once more 5 minutes before removing from the oven.