Each spring, thousands of you visit bbcgoodfood.com for our hot cross bun recipes, so we can comfortably claim these sweet fruit buns are the ultimate Easter bake. But they can be tricky to get right when making them from scratch. As Paul Hollywood is responsible for our phenomenally popular classic hot cross bun recipe, we went straight to the man himself to pick his brain for the tips and tricks to achieve the fluffy hot cross bun of your dreams...


Paul's seven expert tricks for making perfect hot cross buns...

1) Mixing the dough

Kneading dough

"The first thing you do is make your base dough. You knead it until you can pull a bit off and you can see it’s quite elastic. It needs to stretch. One trick is, if you get tired of kneading it, leave it in a bowl for a bit to rise for 20 minutes. That'll help the process along."

2) Texture

Balls of dough

"The best thing to do is hold your stretched dough towards the light – you should be able to read the newspaper through it. You also need to look for the webbing – that’s the gluten strands bonding together. If you’ve got webbing in the dough you know it’s right. The thinner you can get that the better."

3) By hand vs machine mixed

Kneading dough

"A dough hook on a mixer will be quicker, but mixing the dough by hand will give you a good feel for what the dough’s like. Then, if you’re ever caught short and you haven’t got a mixer, you’ll still be able to make them. Plus, if you mix it by hand, you’ll get to remember what the dough should feel like when it's ready."

4) Spices

Dried fruit in bowl

"Cinnamon works really well, and a bit of nutmeg to an extent. I always use fresh fruit in mine. The original recipes used fresh fruit, it’s only quite recently we’ve started using dried fruit. Apples, oranges, tangerines, zest of lemon and orange and cinnamon works really well together.

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5) Non-traditional

Chocolate buns

"Morello cherries and chocolate is a great combination for a non-traditional twist."

Try our chocolate & spice hot cross buns.

6) Leftovers

Bun pudding

"You can make a great summer pudding with hot cross buns. Alternatively, you can bake with them and make a delicious bread and butter pudding. What I’d do is put some white chocolate chips in there as well, then slice up some hot cross buns and add the zest of an orange."

Try our bun & butter pudding.

7) Topping

Icing buns

"Marzipan makes a nice cross for a bit of decoration, or you can use sweet paste or just the traditional flour and water."

More Easter recipes and tips...

Paul's tips for decorating Easter bakes
How to make a hot cross bun video
8 things you've never done with a hot cross bun
Visit our Easter page

Do you have any handy hot cross bun hints that never fail? Let us know in the comments section below...


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