Traditional Hot Cross Buns

I already have Hot Cross Bun recipes on my blog. But these versions are made in muffin tins and they are delicious. However, I have always wanted to make them the traditional way, rolling the dough into balls and having them bake together. So like with my bread recipe, I have been working on this recipe since last year and have had limited success…until now!

The buns are moist and the texture is soft and fluffy. They aren’t overly sweet and have the perfect amount of spices. The sugar-spiced glaze compliments them so well and adds another layer of flavour. You can eat these just as they are or gently heated through in the microwave the next day.

Here are a few tips to make hot cross buns.

  • 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 the weather is still quite warm, and I know from when making bread rolls, I do have different results in winter 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 consistent results by using my oven to prove the bread. I always put a bowl of water on the bottom shelf of the oven, as this creates a warm but humid environment, which is perfect for bread proving.
  • In regards to the ground psyllium husks in the ingredients list, I use my spice grinder to process them into a fine powder.
  • Although you can use your bare hands to roll and shape the dough, I highly recommend you wear disposable gloves, as it makes this process so much quicker and easier. You will still need to lightly oil the disposable gloves before you handle the dough.
  • The paste mixture for the crosses 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 too much water, all it will mean is the crosses will bake up thinner and flatter, instead of having a defined ridge.

For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.

Update: I’m currently using the Bob’s Red Mill brand of xanthan gum, as I’m no longer able to buy the Nu-vit brand. I have found by using this brand, I’ve needed to add ½ teaspoon of ground psyllium husk to the dry ingredients. The psyllium husk helps with the structure of the buns. I have also increased the superfine white rice flour from 44g to 64g.

Makes 15 buns 

310ml (1¼ cups) warm dairy free milk of choice
1 tablespoon (15ml) maple syrup
1 tablespoon (15ml) instant dried yeast
64g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) superfine white rice flour
64g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) tapioca starch
60g (2.2 ounces or ⅓ cup) potato starch
56g (2.0 ounces or ½ cup) almond meal/flour
50g (1.8 jounces or ⅓ cup) superfine brown rice flour
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) sorghum flour
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) millet flour
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour)
36g (1.3 ounces or 3 tablespoons) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
33g (1.2 ounces or 3 tablespoons) light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
3 teaspoons (15ml) ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons (15ml) mixed spice
1 tablespoon (15ml) xanthan gum
1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) ground psyllium husks
3 large eggs, at room temperature
60ml (¼ cup) light olive oil (I use this brand)
1 teaspoon (5ml) apple cider vinegar
Stir Through
132g (4.7 ounces or a scant 1 cup) sultanas
Approximately 30ml (2 tablespoons) of extra olive oil for rolling the dough into balls
Paste For Crosses
36g (1.3 ounces or 3 tablespoons) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
18g (0.6 ounces or 2 tablespoons) sorghum flour
16g (0.6 ounces or 2 tablespoons) white rice flour
8g (0.3 ounces or 1 tablespoon) tapioca starch
8g (0.3 ounces or 1 tablespoon) sweet rice flour
A large pinch of xanthan gum
Approximately 30-32.5ml (2 tablespoons – 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon) room temperature water, you may need more
60ml (¼ cup) dairy free milk of choice
12g (0.4 ounces or 1 tablespoon) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) mixed spice

To plump up the sultanas, cover them with boiling water for about 10 minutes and then drain well.

Preheat the oven to 75C (167F) and pour about 2 cups of warm water into an ovenproof bowl and place on the bottom shelf of your oven. Once the temperature has been reached, turn the oven off.

Line a large baking pan, mine measured 33 X 23 X 5½cm (13 X 9 X 2¼ inches) with baking paper/parchment, which should line the base and sides with a little over hanging. I then use this excess baking paper/parchment to lift the buns out once cooked.

The temperature of the milk needs to be between 41C-46C (105F-114F). Add the maple syrup and yeast and give it a stir to combine. Allow it to stand for no longer than 7 minutes, so please set a timer! The yeast will be frothy and bubbly.

Step 1

While you’re waiting for the yeast to prove, measure out the dry ingredients and sift them together, before setting aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the wet ingredients to the bowl and pour in the yeast when it has finished proofing. Mix on a low speed to combine.Continuing on a low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and keep mixing until well combined, the dough will look quite thick.

Step 2

Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula, before turning the speed up to medium and beating for 4 minutes.

Step 3

I use a piece of kitchen paper to gently pat the raisins to remove any excess water, before using a spatula to stir them evenly through the bread dough.

Step 4

Pour the extra oil into a small bowl. You will need to use a kitchen scale to achieve equal sized balls of dough. It is important that you lightly oil the surface of your scale otherwise the dough will stick. Although the dough is slightly sticky, it is still pretty easy to work with, as long as your hands are lightly oiled. As I mentioned previously, wearing disposable gloves makes this task a lot easier, although you can use your bare hands to roll and shape the dough. I find it’s easier to use an ice cream scoop, but you can also use a spoon to measure out the dough, with each bun being approximately 78g (2.8 ounces or a slightly heaped ice cream scoop).

Now, lightly oil your hands before picking up the ball of dough. Roll it into smooth round ball and place it into the prepared pan. Leave a small gap between each ball of dough, so that it has space to rise. Repeat with the remaining dough, there will be 5 buns going across and 3 going down.

Step 5

Place the pan in the oven and allow the buns to prove for 25 minutes. Remove the pan and the bowl of water from the oven and turn the oven to 160C.

Step 6.

About 3 minutes before the buns have finished proofing, make the paste for the crosses. Add the dry ingredients to a small bowl and add the water, stirring until well combined. Now spoon the paste into a piping bag (I used a plain round nozzle which was ½cm in width). Using an even amount of pressure on the piping bag, pipe across the buns in one continuous line and then pipe down to make the crosses.

Step 7

Once the oven has reached 160C place the buns back in the oven and bake for approximately 27-30 minutes. They will be lovely and golden.

A few 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. Now keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved, before removing from the heat.

As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush the glaze over the buns.

Step 8

Then allow them to cool in the pan for couple of minutes, before using the baking paper/parchment to carefully transfer them to a wire rack and sliding the paper out from underneath them. Brush the glaze over the buns again and allow them to cool slightly before slicing.

Step 9


Step 10

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 = 320F = 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

3 responses to “Traditional Hot Cross Buns

  1. Pingback: Double Chocolate Hot Cross Buns | The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse·

  2. Pingback: Top 20 Best Gluten-Free Hot Cross Bun Recipes·

  3. Pingback: Hot Cross Buns | The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse·

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