Hot Cross buns

I like any spicy and fruity sweet bread and buns. Since it is Easter I have the excuse to make a batch of hot cross buns.

I like this Dan Lepard recipe - day bake with Mumsnet. I like the use of glace ginger, I am sure will be very nice. I am not one to follow any recipes exactly as written. I always add my own tweaks. I like to use this Dan's recipe together with water roux.

My tweaks:

1. make a water roux using 60g of flour and 300ml water and add this to the bread mix.

2. Here is the change to Dan's recipe ingredients:
  • 175ml warm water (replaced by water roux)
  • 1 sachet dry instant yeast (5 g or 1.5 tsp)
  • 550g plain flour (changed to 250g plain flour and 250g bread flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g sugar, any sort (reduced to 50g)
  • 4 tsp mixed spice
  • 75ml milk
  • 75g butter, cut into smallish pieces
  • 150g raisins or 100g currants (100g sultanas and 50g mixed peel)
  • 150g chopped glacĂ© ginger, or mixed peel (150 glacĂ© ginger)
  • Finely grated zest of an orange or lemon (lemon)
  • 1 large egg
  • Sunflower oil or extra flour for kneading (only flour for dusting)
Water paste for the crosses : about 3 tbsp of plain flour mix with about 3 tbsp water.

Glaze: a little honey

Changes to the method:
  1. Make the water roux. Mix flour and water together then sieve. Gently heat and stir the mixture till just thicken like custard. Put the cold butter in to melt. Stir in sugar and salt. Then finally add in beaten egg. If it is still very warm leave to cool down. If lukewarm or cooler then ready to use.
  2. Lightly warm the milk and stir in yeast. Leave for about 15 minutes.
  3. Put all dried fruits and lemon zest together in a bowl.
  4. Put dry flour and mixed together in bread machine. Mix.
  5. Add remaining ingredients to the dry flour and spice. Turn on bread machine and mix till dough is evenly mixed together.
  6. Leave the dough to rise in a warm area to rest and proof for about 1 hour. I leave it in the oven which has been preheated to around 50deg C.
  7. Then take the dough out. The dough is quite soft and a bit sticky. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces around 95g each.
  8. Lightly dust hands with flour and lightly fold and shape each small piece of dough into a ball and tucking most of dried fruits inside. Put on greased baking tray and leave in a warm area to rise till double in size.
  9. Preheat oven to 200deg C (390 deg F)
  10. Make water paste and pour into a plastic bag, cut off corner and pipe on the buns.
  11. Bake for about 20 minutes till golden brown. If the buns are getting brown too quickly after 15 minutes can turn the oven down to about 190 deg C (375 deg F)
  12. Brush the buns with honey.
  13. Serve warm best with butter.
Review on moisture content:

Dan's recipe: 175ml water + 75ml milk + 50ml egg = 300ml total liquid.
Hydration : 300ml liquid /550g flour = 54.5%

My adjustment using water roux: 300ml water from the water roux + 75ml milk + 50ml egg = 425ml total liquid.
Hydration : 425ml liquid / (60g flour from water roux + 250g plain flour + 250g bread flour) = 75.9%

Increase of moisture compared to original recipe = (425 - 300)/ 300 = 41.7%

Buns shaped and put on baking tray

Buns risen ready for oven

Pipe on crosses

Baked and brushed with honey

Buns texture is quite fluffy, soft and moist.

Spread with butter and enjoy


  1. Sunflower,
    Do you know the spices in the mixed spice? I've been curious to know because my mixture of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger did not produce the spice aroma that I was looking for. I'd appreciate your feedback and I may try your recipe soon.

  2. Hi Sunflower.
    Your HXB look wonderful.

    Were the crosses soft too. I added a little butter to mine, and it made them pliable.

  3. Hi Gill
    The crosses were ok. I over stirred the paste it was glutinous a bit difficult to pipe.

    Next time I think I will use S R flour with a bit of oil too.

  4. The crosses are rather crude, but overall they are definitely the best looking homemade hot cross buns I've seen this year, Sunflower. Mine this year were dreadful, using my usual Delia recipe I used all bread flour instead of all plain flour, and they came out really tough.

  5. Tell me about it! I botched the water paste, over-stirred and it was stringy and very hard to pipe. Wish I threw it out and make another batch.


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