Hot Cross Buns are a sweet yeast roll with a warm spiced flavor, raisins, and a sweet glaze on top. The top has a cross design that makes these buns unmistakeable.
What is a Hot Cross Bun?
Hot Cross Buns are a sweet bun (a yeast roll) that is spiced and usually made with dried fruit, and marked with a cross on the top.
These buns are traditionally served on Good Friday, eaten to mark the end of Lent, in the United Kingdom and many other parts of the world.
These are what we used to call Easter Rolls when we were little. Since Hot Cross Buns are also served on Easter in our home.
We like to eat these yummy buns warm, fresh from the oven. Slathered in butter, of course!
Making Hot Cross Buns is Easy!
When the dough is formed after mixing, cover the bowl and let it rise.
After the dough rises, punch it down and roll the dough into a log shape. This will help you get buns of equal size.
After rolling the dough into a log, you will cut it into 6 equal pieces.
Then cut those pieces in half (not pictured), and roll them into balls. Place the dough balls in a 9″x13″ baking dish lined with parchment. Cover and let rise.
Right before baking, pipe on the flour mixture for the crosses (if using icing, you can skip this step).
What does the Cross on the Bun Mean?
The cross represents Jesus’ crucifixion, and the warm spices symbolize the warming of the season, and those used to embalm Jesus at his burial.
The cross is piped on before baking. It is a flour & water mixture. Alternatively you can pipe on a thick icing after the buns have baked, as many people like that extra sweetness.
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Hot Cross Buns
- Stand Mixer
INGREDIENTS FOR DOUGH
- 1 Tablespoon Instant or Rapid Rise Yeast
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- 4 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Allspice
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 cup Raisins
- 1 ½ cups Whole Milk warm, full fat
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ cup Melted Butter, cooled, you don’t want it hot
- 1 lg Egg
INGREDIENTS FOR CROSSES
- ½ cup All Purpose Flour
- 5-6 Tablespoons Water
INGREDIENTS FOR GLAZE
- 1 ½ Tablespoon Apricot Preserve or Jam
- 2 ½ teaspoons Water
- DIRECTIONS FOR DOUGH
- Place all dry ingredients into your Stand mixer, and connect the dough hook. Turn on mixer for about 1-2 minutes on lowest setting to mix the ingredients.
- Add milk, vanilla, butter, egg, and raisins. Turn mixer on to level 2-3 until a nice dough ball forms. Once the dough ball forms, place your mixer to lowest level 1, and allow it to knead the dough for approximately 5 minutes. You want the dough to be smooth and elastic. If your dough is still a little tacky to the touch or the bowl, add a little flour. We want the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl without being too tacky.
- Remove bowl from mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm dry area for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Once dough has risen, remove plastic wrap and punch the dough in the middle to deflate. Dust a little flour onto your counter/table that you’re working on. Roll and shape dough into an oblong shape, like that of a log.
- Cut the log into 12 equal parts. Take each part and roll into individual dough balls. Place each dough ball on a parchment paper lined baking sheet that measures 9" x 13".
- Loosely cover dough balls with a piece of plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place and allow to rest and rise for 35-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Make flour mixture for the crosses: Mix water and flour together, as noted in the ingredients list. You want a consistency that’s slightly thicker than glue.
- Using either a plastic ziplock bag with a snipped corner, or a piping bag, slowly make your cross designs. Take your time so that you get the curves without any interruption of flour mixture.
- Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes (depending on type of oven and altitude). To truly know that your buns are done, they will turn a beautiful dark golden brown color.
- Once you pull your buns from the oven, mix the jam and water solution together. Place in microwave for about 20 seconds. This will help make it a little more loose in consistency. Brush across the tops of your buns and then allow your buns to completely cool.
- Ensure the milk is warm, and not hot. High heat will kill your yeast.
- You can hand knead the dough for 10 minutes, If you don’t have a Kitchen Aid® mixer, or just want to use your muscles and get a workout.
- Yes, you can freeze them. For up to 3 months.
- You can substitute bread flour in place of all purpose flour.
- The flour portion of the crosses are a bit more chewier than the rest, but that is the traditional way of doing them. You can always omit that part, and then create a thick icing to pipe the cross designs on the buns after baking.
- If you don’t want/have jam, you always make a light icing to glaze over the buns. Add a little orange zest to bring it to life.
- You can add a different variety of chopped nuts or dried fruits to the dough.
- Make sure your yeast is fresh and still active and alive. You can always do a yeast test to ensure this. Use 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 1/4 (1 envelope) of yeast, and 1/2 cup warm water. If it starts bubbling after about 10 minutes, and smelling yeasty, then your yeast is good!