How to make hot cross buns

The UK is currently under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. But many Brits have taken to their kitchens in the current climate to take part in some good old fashioned baking. So if you’re looking for a freshly baked centrepiece for your Easter feast, look no further.

Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten by Christians on Easter to mark to end of Lent.

Many of the ingredients which go into a hot cross bun are dairy, food people traditionally gave up during the 40 days of Lent.

Different parts of the hot cross bun hold special meaning, with the cross on the bun representing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

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Some people believe the hot cross bun originates from centuries ago.

In St Albans in 1361, a monk developed the ‘Alban Bun’, which had a very similar recipe to the hot cross bun of today.

Brother Thomas Rocliffe is said to have delivered these buns to the local poor people on Good Friday.

Across the world, people still eat hot cross buns on Good Friday.

How to make hot cross buns

Ingredients (Serves 8-12 approximately):

  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 200-300ml milk (you may not need all the milk)
  • 50g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon
  • 200g mixed fruit such as sultanas or raisins
  • 7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
  • Plain flour (for the cross)
  • Golden syrup or honey, for glazing

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Method:

  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, and combine with the sugar and the spices.
  2. Add the yeast and the salt.
  3. In a saucepan warm the milk, then take it off the heat.
  4. Let it cool slightly before adding the butter and mixing until melted.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the two eggs and gradually add the milk mix to the bowl, combining until it forms a soft dough.
  6. Mix your fruit into the dough, and knead on a floured work station until elastic in texture (this will take around 10 minutes).
  7. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow it to rest for an hour and a half.
  8. Divide the dough into portions, roll into balls and place them on a lined baking tray.
  9. Cover the dough for around 20-30 minutes, and preheat the oven to gas 6, 200C, fan 180C.
  10. Mixing plain flour and water into a paste, drizzle it over the buns in a cross pattern.
  11. Bake for around 20 minutes, until the buns are golden brown.
  12. After leaving the buns to cool, glaze with the honey or syrup and serve!

Tips for your hot cross buns

While hot cross buns are usually filled with dried fruit like raisins, you don’t have to limit yourself to these options.

Try adding chocolate chips or small chunks of fudge to your mix, or other fruit like raspberries or apple.

And if you’re happy with a simple hot cross bun, you can always omit any additions altogether!

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