Hot Cross buns are a staple in our house in the lead up to Easter. I enjoy making them and I love the amazing aroma, which wafts through the house while they’re baking. I already have a different version of a Hot Cross Bun recipe on my blog, although that one is not nut free. However, it is also a bit more fiddly to make as that one is made the traditional way, by rolling the dough into balls and baking them together in a single pan. This variation isn’t difficult at all, as you simply use an ice cream scoop to dollop the bread dough into the muffin wrap.
These lightly sweet buns are perfectly spiced and have a wonderful soft ‘bread like’ texture. Depending on the milk you choose to use, this recipe can also be nut free. The sugar-spiced glaze compliments them so well and adds another layer of flavour. You can eat these just as they are, lightly toasted under the grill or gently heated through in the microwave or oven. The buns also freeze and reheat very well. However, the glaze does become slightly syrupy once thawed.
Recipe Update: I’ve been going through and updating my older recipes to include ounce and cup measurements. As I’ve been going through the recipes, there have been a few that I’ve decided to rework and improve on their texture. I have learnt some valuable lessons about flour combinations over the years. This has mainly been through my many failures, but I’ve also had plenty of triumphs along the way too. Compared to how I used to do things nearly 4 years ago, I now blend my flour combinations and ratios differently.
Not only have I changed the flour combination, I have also changed the method as well. In the original recipe I used a bread machine to prove the dough, but now I simply use my oven. In the revised version of this recipe, I also decided to use muffin wraps instead of greasing the muffin pan. The wraps make for easy removal and there’s no elbow grease required to scrub out the pan after baking, we all know how much gluten free baking loves to stick to the pan!
Just a quick note, on the paste for the crosses. The mixture needs to be thick, but not too thick otherwise you will have difficulty being able to pipe it. Once piped it should hold its shape well. If you do add a little to much water, all that it will mean is the crosses will bake up thinner and flatter, instead of having a defined ridge.
There are a few things to keep in mind when making bread. Your oven, altitude and climate, whether it’s dry or humid, can influence your results. At the moment it is autumn here in Australia and I know, from when making bread and bread rolls, I do have different results in the cooler months compared to making them in summer.
Make sure you have all the ingredients at room temperature before you start making the bread. It’s really important to have your milk at the right temperature 41C-46C (105F-114F). If your milk is too hot it can kill the yeast, and if it’s not hot enough your yeast will not activate. I’ve found I have more constant results by using my oven to prove the bread. I always put a bowl of warm water in the bottom of the oven, as this creates a warm but humid environment, which is perfect for bread proving.
For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.
310ml (1¼ cups) dairy free milk of choice
12g (0.4 ounces or 1 tablespoon) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
2½ teaspoons (12.5ml) instant yeast
192g (6.8 ounces or 1½ cups) superfine white rice flour
72g (2.6 ounces or ½ cup) superfine brown rice flour
72g (2.6 ounces or ½ cup) sorghum flour
64g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) tapioca starch
60g (2.2 ounces or ⅓ cup) potato starch
24g (0.8 ounces or 3 tablespoons) sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour)
21g (0.7 ounces or 3 tablespoons) corn starch
48g (1.7 ounces or ¼ cup) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
44g (1.6 ounces or ¼ cup) light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15ml) xanthan gum
4 teaspoons (20ml) mixed spice
4 teaspoons (20ml) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder
1¼ teaspoons (6.25ml) salt
90ml (6 tablespoons) warm water
105ml (7 tablespoons) light olive oil, or another neutral flavoured oil of choice (I use this brand)
1 teaspoon (5ml) apple cider vinegar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
160g (5.6 ounces or 1 heaped cup) Muscat raisins
Paste for the Crosses
72g (2.5 ounces or ⅓ cup plus ½ tablespoon) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
36g (1.3 ounces or ¼ cup) sorghum flour
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) superfine white rice flour
16g (0.6 ounces or 2 tablespoons) tapioca starch
16g (0.6 ounces or 2 tablespoons) sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour)
⅛ teaspoon (0.625ml) xanthan gum
52.5ml-60ml (3½-4 tablespoons) water
80ml (⅓ cup) dairy free milk of choice
18g (0.6 ounces or 1½ tablespoons) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) mixed spice
First, you will need to plump up the raisins. So cover them with boiling water for about 10 minutes and then drain well.
In order to activate the yeast, the temperature of the milk needs to be between 41C-46C (105F-114F). Add this to a jug, then pour in the caster sugar and yeast before giving it a stir or a light whisk to combine. Allow it to stand for no longer than 7 minutes, so please set a timer! When it’s done, the yeast will be frothy and bubbly.
While you’re waiting for the yeast to activate, measure out the dry ingredients and sift them together, before setting aside.
Once the yeast has finished activating, preheat the oven to 75C (167F) and pour about 2 cups of warm water in a bowl and place it at the bottom of your oven. Once the temperature has been reached, turn the oven off.
Line 2 muffin pans with muffin wraps.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the wet ingredients and the yeast to the mixing bowl, and then mix at a low speed to combine.
Continuing on a low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and keep mixing until well combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula,
before turning the speed up to medium and beating for 4 minutes.
Use a spatula to evenly mix the raisins through the dough.
Using an ice cream scoop, place one level scoop full of the mixture in to each muffin wrap.
Next, have a small bowl of water nearby so you can lightly dampen your fingers and flatten the dough evenly into the muffin wraps.
Place the muffin pans in to the warm oven and allow the buns to prove for 20 minutes.
About 3 minutes before the buns have finished proofing, make the paste for the crosses. Sift the dry ingredients together into a small bowl, then add just enough water to form a thick, but pipeable paste. Spoon the paste into a piping bag (I used a plain round nozzle which was ½cm in width).
Remove the muffin pans, and the bowl of water, from the oven and turn the temperature on to 160C.
Using an even amount of pressure on the piping bag, pipe a cross onto each bun.
Once the oven has reached 160C place the pans back in the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
A couple of minutes before the buns have finished baking you can make a start on the glaze. Add the milk, sugar and mixed spice to a small saucepan on a medium heat, keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved, before removing from the heat.
As soon as the buns come out of the oven, lightly brush the glaze over each one and then remove them from the muffin pan. Transfer them to a wire rack, lightly brush the glaze over each bun again and then allow them to cool slightly before eating.
Store any leftover buns in an airtight container in the pantry or the freezer.
To reheat the buns, warm them through in the microwave or oven.
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 325F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8