How to Make the Ultimate Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are an Easter classic.

There are many versions out there. Normally the cross is made out of a flour paste. I decided to make the crosses out of actual bread dough, which kind of makes it simpler because you will not have to make a separate paste to pipe on top of the buns. They are super soft, well spiced, and deliciously sticky. This recipe makes 12 decently sized buns.

This dough can also be used to make Chelsea buns or tea cakes. Or you could make a large loaf out of it. That is the beauty of bread making. Once you know how the dough works, you can customize it to your liking.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the dough

500g (1.1lb) strong white bread flour

7g (0.25oz) dry yeast or 3x the amount of fresh yeast

10g (0.35oz) salt

100g (3.5oz) soft butter

75g (2.6oz) sugar

15g (0.5oz) mixed spice

140g (5oz) currants

40g (1.4oz) mixed peel

270g (9.5oz) cold milk, around 5C (40F)

To learn more about dough temperature control click here.


For the syrup

50g (1.75oz) sugar

25g (0.9oz) water


  1. In a bowl combine the milk, yeast, salt & sugar. Mix well. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
  2. Knead for 3 minutes. Cut off a 70g (2.5oz) piece and leave it on the side. This will be used for the crossing. Spread the larger piece of dough out, add the butter and the mixed spice. Tear the ingredients into the dough. Keep kneading for another 5 minutes. *Desired dough temperature 26C (79F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
  3. Cover both dough balls and let them rest for 20 minutes.
    4. Stretch the larger piece of dough out and spread over the currants and mixed peel in an even layer. Fold the dough up. Knead it a couple of times until the currants just start popping through the surface. Shape the dough into a ball.
  4. Place back into the bowl and ferment for 1 hour.
  1. Fold both the large and the small dough balls.
  2. Ferment for 1 more hour.
  3. Divide the large dough into 12 equal pieces and divide the small piece of dough into 7 equal pieces. Preshape all into balls.
  4. Let them rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Final shaping. Shape the 12 buns and place them on a parchment paper lined tray with gaps in between. Roll out the smaller dough pieces to around 30cm (1ft) long and lay them across the buns. Cut off the excess and tuck the ends underneath.
  6. Cover and ferment for 2 – 2.5 hours or until visibly puffed up. During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on.
  7. Bake the buns for 30 – 35 minutes or until the inner temperature reads above 94C (200F).
  8. Make the sugar syrup as soon as the buns come out the oven. Brush them all over. Use all the syrup.

Watch the video here

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