Secrets of Making Perfect Hot Cross Buns

We made our Hot Cross Buns this morning.  It’s part of our Easter tradition. And everyone loves them!

I thought I would give you my own personal recipe and include all my secrets and tips.  If you follow these instructions you will be sure that your Hot Cross Buns are delicious, light and healthy.  The instructions are detailed, but making Hot Cross Buns is a happy task, and it will probably take you longer to read the instructions than it will to make the buns.

Home Made Hot Cross Buns


  • 300mls warm water.  The water needs to be about blood heat – think about having it as warm as a baby’s bath.
  • 1 tablespoon of breadmaking yeast
  • 2 teaspoons  honey or molasses

Add the honey or molasses and stir to dissolve.  Then sprinkle the yeast on the surface of the water and set aside for five minutes.


  • 4 cups (500 gm) flour.  I usually use freshly ground 100% whole wheat flour, but if you are used to baking with white flour you might prefer to try a mixture of flours to begin with.  In this case I would recommend: 1½ cups (170gm) wholewheat flour and  3 cups (300gm) high grade flour.
  • 2 tablespoons (30gm) gluten flour. The gluten flour is important because it helps to make the buns light and non-stodgy.
  • 3 rounded tablespoons dried milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 1 cup (150gm)  dried fruit (say half currants,  half mixed glace peel)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 50gm butter
  • 1 egg

Put all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl or into the bowl of your Kenwood Chef.


Chop the butter roughly into the dry ingredients.

Beat the egg

By this time the yeast should have risen to a nice froth.  Add the yeast liquid and the beaten egg to the dry ingredients and start to mix, using the dough hook of you Kenwood Chef or a metal spoon until the mixture starts to come together and then use your hands to gather the dough and start kneading it.

Knead the dough for 3 minutes with the Kenwood or at least ten minutes by hand.  When the dough is smooth and not sticky then you will know it has been kneaded enough.  Leave it to rest for ten minutes.

After ten minutes you will notice that the dough has swelled in size.  Knead the bread to make it ‘fall’.  This is called ‘knocking down’

Divide the dough evenly into 15 or 20 pieces (according to whether you want large or smaller buns).  Shape each small piece into a round flat shape and place in a tidy way on your baking tray.  Leave a centimetre (about a finger width) between each bun.  This space is very important because you will use this gap to help decide when the buns are ready to go in the oven.

Leave the buns in a warm place with a clean teatowel covering them until the buns have doubled in size and are just about touching each other.  This will take between one and two hours.


  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons white flour
  • ¼  teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Put all these ingredients into a jug or cup and mix with a  spoon.  You should have a white sticky mixture which is a bit too thick to pour.
Pour the mixture into a small plastic bag and squash it into one of the corners of the bag.  Get yourself next to the risen buns and snip off a tiny corner of the bag so that you have a little hole about the size of a matchstick.  Pipe the crosses onto the buns, going across the whole row of buns in one movement (this is why it’s important to have the buns on the tray in a tidy way.)
Gently move the tray to a preheated oven and bake at 220°C for 5 mins plus 180°C for 10 mins.


Dissolve 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 tablespoon hot water.

When the buns come out of the oven leave them to cool for a couple of minutes then move them to a cooling tray and paint the tops with the glaze which will dry sticky and shiny.


From Stephanie

P.S. These buns will freeze well and can be defrosted in the microwave. They are also nice split, toasted and buttered. Also, I am interested to know how your buns turn out so please post a message below to let me know.  And if you have any questions – post a message below and I will respond there.

Home Made Hot Cross Buns

Print This Post Print This Post

If you like this article, feel free to share it with your homeschool support group, your homeschool newsletter or your own email list. You can forward it to a friend, post it on your site or on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it. As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. ©2002-2012 Homeschool Family Life.  All Rights Reserved.

Article written by Stephanie Walmsley.

Wouldn’t you love to stumble upon a secret library of homeschooling and parenting ideas? Find simple, yet practical ideas on homeschool lifestyle and enjoying your family, simple recipes, book recommendations, book reviews, stories of family life in a homeschool family. Go to and be inspired. Homeschooling is NOT hard and can be fun.


Secrets of Making Perfect Hot Cross Buns — 6 Comments

  1. Hi Steph – Oh what joy!!! A recipe for hot cross buns that “guarantees” success!

    I have tried to make these several times in the past but they always turn out like like minature round bricks. I will definitely try your recipe over the next day or two and let you know how they turn out. BTW – can you use dried yeast as you would for bread-making and what is gluten flour? Is this something only NZ has or can I get in the UK?
    LOL – Sheila

  2. Hi Sheila,
    Yes, you can use dried yeast. If you use the dried yeast with just the little balls of yeast and no extras you will only need a teaspoon of yeast, but you will also need to buy vitamin c tablets from the chemist and crush a tablet and add it to the flour or liquid. The vitamin c tablet does the work of the extra ‘floury powder’ in with the yeast. That is, it speeds up the bread-making process. The alternative is to leave the bread dough for an hour instead of for ten minutes.

    Gluten flour is a creamy yellow flour sold in a separate packet of about 500 gm or so and is in the baking section. Or you might find it in the health food section. The gluten is what makes the bread light. (I can give you a more technical explanation if you like. – I used to teach bread making classes)

    Now I went online and looked for gluten flour in UK supermarkets but I couldn’t find any! I wonder if you could ask at the supermarket and they might be able to get it in. You could maybe try a quality smaller supermarket like Booths, as well.

    Finally, if you can’t get gluten flour then I recommend you use a bit more white flour and make sure that you are using a high-gluten (strong, or high grade) white flour and leave the buns to rise for longer. Remember, it’s when the buns are touching each other that you can be very sure they are ready to bake.
    Hope this helps.
    Stephanie 🙂

  3. Hi Stephanie

    Thank you very much for sharing your recipe, we had wonderful light hot cross buns on Good Friday. My first success in making them I’ve always ended up with dense heavy ones.

    Also I used spelt flour and instead of the gluten flour, guar guam and bread improver with the dried yeast.
    Happy Easter

  4. Hi Kathryn,

    I am delighted to hear you had wonderful hot cross buns and made clever changes to the recipe – they are not hard to make, are they? And it feels so good to produce them. I like the way the house smells so good when you start making these, don’t you?
    Stephanie 🙂

  5. Pingback: Hot Cross Buns | Beth's Kitchen

  6. Pingback: Easter 2014 | Homeschool Family Life