Hot cross buns on a baking tray

Hot cross buns

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(149 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 20 mins Plus proving

More effort

Makes 15

Follow master baker Paul Hollywood's ultimate step-by-step guide to creating perfectly decorated fruit buns

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal226
  • fat4g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs41g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre2g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.5g
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    For the buns

    • 300ml full-fat milk, plus 2 tbsp more



      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

    • 50g butter



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 500g strong bread flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 75g caster sugar
    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

    • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast



      Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

    • 1 egg, beaten



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    • 75g sultanas
    • 50g mixed peel
    • zest 1 orange



      One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

    • 1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped



      Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…

    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

    For the cross

    • 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

    For the glaze

    • 3 tbsp apricot jam


    1. Bring 300ml full-fat milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add 50g butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put 500g strong bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 75g caster sugar and 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add 1 beaten egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.

    2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.

    3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in 75g sultanas, 50g mixed peel, zest of 1 orange, 1 finely chopped apple and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.

    4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.

    5. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix 75g plain flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.

    6. Gently heat 3 tbsp apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    5th Apr, 2015
    I've just made two batches and followed previous comments : added more spice, including Mixed Spice and Nutmeg, mixed the spices and fruit (only had sultanas in Spain, didn't bother with the zest and apple) into the flour before adding the liquid. Proved it, re-kneaded, shaped the buns then proved again. Having mixed everything at the start I didn't see much point in proving three times and sure enough, turned out fabulous! Keep a sharp eye on the baking times though, the 2nd batch took less than 15 minutes. I also used icing sugar as suggested for the cross (should have seen the mess when my piping bag burst!) and used my home made lemon and ginger marmalade as a glaze as that was all I had. Both batches turned out delicious and with all the tweaking of the recipe I give it 5 stars.
    5th Apr, 2015
    I just made these and very glad I read all the comments about the lack of flavour before I began. I made the following changes; increased the amount of cinnamon Added 1.5tsp mixed spice Grating of nutmeg Vanilla Orange essence More butter More flour as the milk made it like a cake texture. My electric whisk has a kneading attachment so used that I only proved once for 1 hour 15 mins under hot radiator in blankets. I turned the temperature down to 175C and left for the same 15 mins as they caught at 190C. I also added some icing sugar to the flour mix for the cross. I didn't have any apricot jam so I used orange marmalade. It does seem a lot of changes are made by everyone, but as any recipe it is a guide and just one person's taste. For my first try ever at HCB, it worked a treat!
    4th Apr, 2015
    Made these yesterday and they were absolutely delicious! Stuck exactly with the measurements and they turned out perfect, I will definitely be making them again very shortly!
    4th Apr, 2015
    Made these yesterday and they turned out great! I followed the suggestions to up the cinnamon, so I used 1 1/2 tsp which I though was just right after tasting one; after all, these aren't cinnamon buns. I also don't drink full fat milk and I'm not going to buy a litre just for this, so I used 200 ml of 33% cream and he rest with skim milk. I wasn't too worried about my ratio as this is an enriched dough, so the extra fat wasn't going to hurt. I also upped the sultanas a bit as well as the peel, as I like some bits in every bite. My complaint is the supermarket is always stingy with it, hence making my own, and with this recipe, from now on. When all was said and done I think each bun was around 80 g, which is big, but you only need one to toast! I too questioned not putting the cinnamon in with the flour to get an even mix, because it won't - at least for me it didn't - evenly distribute during the folding in with the fruit without over handling the dough. After cutting open and toasting a few, I rather like the unevenness, which isn't drastic if you have done a good job of working the fruit in. It suggests the complete opposite of a store bought bun. I did all three rises, as I felt it might give better flavour and I wasn't in a hurry, so perhaps next time I will try two to see if there's a difference. I also took the other suggestion to make the cross with 2/3 flour to 1/3 confectioners sugar - which is basically a two to one ratio - so 1/4 cup of flour and two tablespoons of confectioners sugar was the perfect amount to dress all the buns. Note that it will spread when baking, so a 1/4" piping will look just about right on these buns. Lastly, yes, keep an eye on these babies, as you don't want to over bake them, as they are abit of work, but so worth it.
    3rd Apr, 2015
    Love these. Just made them and they are gorgeous but agree with the cooking time comments. I had problems with the cross bit, so 6 of them are hot cross buns and the reat are just buns!
    3rd Apr, 2015
    Oops forgot to rate! Well worth 5 stars!
    3rd Apr, 2015
    First attempt at making hot cross buns. Read all the reviews before I started. Added mixed spice, nutmeg and more cinnamon and added it to the dry ingredients in the beginning. Used sultanas, dried cranberries and dried blueberries( left from previous recipes) together with the apple and orange peel. Didn't have jam or golden syrup so made a glaze from 45g caster sugar, 25ml boiling water and half a teaspoon of vanilla. Made 15 rolls and took 15 min to bake. Delicious and moist and very yummy!!!
    3rd Apr, 2015
    Quite disappointed in this recipe - definitely lacking a lot of spice!!! Wish I had read all the comments before I started. Also, I found it quite difficult to really mix in the fruit and cinnamon thoroughly so found the final result kind of "streaky".
    2nd Apr, 2015
    Wonderful! I would say that they need way more spice than 1tsp of cinnamon... perhaps some mixed spice too. More sultanas needed also, although these were really hard to mix in after the dough has risen the first time. But makes a fantastically light and tasty bun.
    2nd Apr, 2015
    A keeper of a recipe that makes really soft tasty buns! Made these last week and making them again today they were such a hit. I followed the recipe to proof three times but as suggested in other reviews I upped the spices and used 2 teaspoons cinnamon, half teaspoon ginger and a few gratings of nutmeg all of which I incorporated into the flour at the beginning. The smell that fills the house once they're baked is amazing. I made 12 instead of 15 buns as I wanted a bigger sized bun and even then like other reviewers I also found they needed a shorter baking time so I'd recommend you check them at 15 minutes. These are too good to have them ruined at the last minute!


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