Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Best Hot Cross Buns ever. Slightly non-traditional, these Hot Cross Buns have a deliciously spiced brioche style bun with vanilla soaked raisins, dried sour-cherries, cinnamon glaze & icing.

I think we should eat Hot Cross Buns throughout the year. We can get rid of the crosses altogether and just called them spiced buns if you want. My cousin, a baker from London, came to stay over easter. We ate many excellent baked things, one of the best were these Hot Cross Buns. We didn’t bother with the dough crosses, but piped icing at the end, on top of the sticky cinnamon glaze. We helped each of the kids ice their own design on a bun, a swirl, some dots. Some of their design requests got a bit out of hand, like a Brachiosaurus or something, but we managed to talk that one into a nice simple volcano.

This dough is based on a recipe from the Model Bakery Cookbook, then modified. You have to start this one the day before, to give the dough time to develop and have a nice relax in the fridge over night. I don’t have a worthy mixer, so this recipe is for hand kneading, using the ‘slap & fold’ method because its a pretty wet dough. The recipe makes 12 buns which will be gone straight away so if you need more, you might want to double it.


  • 75g unbleached all purpose flour
  • 60 ml water
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast


  • 165ml whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 435g bread flour, as needed
  • 50g sugar
  • 85g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 50g sultanas
  • 50g dried sour cherries, chopped
  • zest of an orange or lemon

Cinnamon Glaze

  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon


  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed


To make the sponge (start the day before baking)

  1. Combine flour water & yeast in a small bowl
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and leave somewhere warm until bubbles appear, (about 1.5 hours)

To make the dough:

  1. Put raisins and cherries in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 10 mins, then drain off the water, and stir in the vanilla paste, spices & citrus rind and set aside.
  2. Stir the sponge, milk, eggs yeast and salt in a large bowl until the sponge dissolves.
  3. Stir in 365g of the flour to make a shaggy dough, cover with a cloth and let stand for about 20 mins.
  4. Sprinkle 1 tbs of the sugar over the dough in the bowl, with floured hands, pull up about a third of the dough and stretch it over the dough, flip the dough over and repeat again and continue until the sugar is worked in.
  5. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as necessary, for about 8 mins until supple.
  6. Dot the dough with a tbs of the butter and continue kneading until the butter is absorbed. The dough will be sticky but don’t add too much of the flour. Repeat with the remaining butter, kneading until the dough is smooth and shiny.
  7. Work in the dried fruit, peel & spice mix. Keep folding the dough until its all incorporated.
  8. Shape the dough into a thick rectangle and cover well with plastic wrap, or put into a sealed container. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 24 hours before using. The dough will look puffy but not doubled.
  9. When ready to bake, remove from the fridge, shape into 12 buns, ensuring the fruit is tucked into the dough, and the tops are smooth. Place side by side in a greased baking dish, cover with a cloth and allow to prove for a further 1-2 hours. (they will grow and be lovely and soft).
  10. Preheat oven to 180.
  11.  Bake for 15-20 mins, then paint/pour the cinnamon glaze onto the hot buns when they come out of the oven.

To make the glaze:

  1. While the buns are cooking, prepare glaze by combining sugar, cinnamon and water in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar, set aside.

To make the icing (if using)

  1. Combine icing sugar with enough water to get the right consistency for piping or drizzling. Drizzle or pipe onto the cooled buns.