Hot Cross Buns are a tradition my husband and I grew up with in Australia. The buns are sold by the dozen in Australian supermarkets leading up to Easter, and eating them at Easter was a part of our childhood culture. Hot cross buns are delicious and I wanted them to be a part of our daughters Easter traditions even though we are not in Australia anymore. When we moved to America I had to search to find them and so started baking them myself. I have noticed that Wholefoods are now selling a sweet cross buns, but not the sort we are used to with the crosses baked into them. I really like the traditional bun and I have been making them once a week since lent. It is said that a hot cross bun baked on good Friday will last the whole year without going bad…hot cross buns baked on good friday bring good luck.
I searched high and low for a recipe that looked just right. I found one in the most obvious place – from the (Australian) Country Women’s Association. For the past three years I have been using the CWA Hot Cross Bun recipe. I am really happy with it. The smell of them baking is heartwarming, and to eat them hot out of the oven with butter and honey is delicious!
I follow the recipe exactly, except for the gelatin glaze – I omit the gelatin because we are vegetarian and make the glaze from just boiled sugar and water and it works perfectly. I also use raisin/sultanas if I do not have currents. I seem to let mine cook a little longer too. About 18 minutes. They take time to make and rise, and then shape and rise again, and then bake, so don’t expect to eat them for breakfast unless you want to be up kneading dough by 6am. I generally bake ours mid morning and then they are ready for afternoon tea. Be sure to involve little helpers, baking bread is so much fun! Wishing you all a peaceful Good Friday.
The official CWA approved recipe and ingredients.
2 tsp dry yeast
1/3 cup of raw sugar or honey
1 cup warm milk
4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup currants
1 egg beaten lightly
1/4 cup warm milk
Flour Paste For The Crosses
1/4 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons cold water approx
The Glaze (gelatin free varriation)
2 tbs apricot jam
1tbs boiling water
Combine the yeast, sugar and warm milk into a bowl and whisk until yeast is dissolved.
Cover and stand in a warm place.
About 10 mins.
Sift flour, spices and salt into large bowl and rub in the butter.
Then stir in the fruit, beaten egg, yeast mix and warm milk.
Combine to make a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place large bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap and stand in warm place for approx 1 hour or until dough doubles its size.
Knead lightly and divide into portions – quickly, then form into balls and placed onto a greased lined tray.
They should be almost touching. Stand in a warm place for 20 minutes or until double the size. Preheat the oven to 220c (200c fan forced).
Flour Paste – put all ingredients onto a small bowl and stir enough water to make a smooth paste and then put into a piping bag and pipe the cross over the buns.
Bake the buns for 12-15 minutes. Golden brown is what you are aiming for. Tap them and they’ll sound hollow when they are ready.
Glaze – combine all ingredients into small saucepan, stir without boiling until dissolved.
When the buns are cooked, put on to a wire rack and brush with glaze and then open the oven door and sit buns for about 10 seconds (this last little trick allows the glaze to set).