Nothing is better than hot cross buns straight out of your home oven. And, with this easy recipe you will be able to impress your family and friends with delicious home-baked buns next Easter!
The meaning of Hot Cross buns at Easter
Eating hot cross buns on Good Friday is a longstanding tradition in many parts of the world, including here at Tin Dragon Cottages. I guess this rich history in Christian tradition, means they are more than just a tasty treat! The cross on top of the bun symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices represent the spices used to embalm his body after his death.
Why you should bake Hot Cross buns at home
Easter is a time for family, friends, and delicious food, and one of the most popular Easter treats are hot cross buns with their iconic crosses on top. The aroma of buns baking at home is simply irrisistible! So, why not try out my easy traditional recipe? My recipe is made more convenient by using bread maker (Panasonic SD-2501). Of course we often bake these spicy buns (without the cross and glaze) – why wait for Easter?
Hot Cross Buns Recipe using a Bread Maker
My recipe was perfected after several not-so-good attempts. I hope my final version saves you the time and effort of trial and error!
In this recipe I use soft white bread-making flour from the Tasmanian Flour Mills and Australian dried fruits. I really like citrus peel in these buns, but for reasons I don’t understand, citrus peel is not always available in our local supermarkets – go figure? Fortunately I was able to source some bulk amounts through a Tasmanian food wholesaler. As a bonus, this meant I could also supply my home-baking friends with this key ingredient, too.
- 1 Tablespoon dried bread-making yeast
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 1/2 Cups white flour
- 1 Tablespoon mixed spices
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon ground corriander
- 1 cup water
- 1 egg
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- 1/2 Cup currants
- 1/2 Cup dried citrus peel
- 1/2 Cup sultanas
Adding ingredients into the bread maker
After mixing the three dried fruits together, I add the mix into the top of the bread-maker. See the image, above.
Most bread-makers will have instructions for adding the dry and wet ingredients into the baking tin. For the Panasonic I add the dried fruit mix into the top of the machine, then I add the ingredients in the following order into the baking pan: yeast, brown sugar, flour, spices, egg, water then oil. I premix the egg in the water.
Now I set the program on the bread maker (setting 17 for the Panasonic), and go away for about two hours.
Shaping the buns
It seems crazy now, but I struggled with getting this to work. But I won’t bore you with my less than aesthetic misshapen bun results.
The bun mixture weighs about 1200 g. So I remove the mixture from the bread maker, then divide it into 12 100g portions.
Next I grab each portion in my hand, pinching it underneath to form a rough ball shape and add them to a lined baking tin (~ 20cm square).
Using a pastry brush I lightly brush the top of the dough balls with water, then place them in a warm oven to rise. After about 1 hour at 30 – 40 deg C the buns have risen to the top of the baking tin.
Adding crosses to the hot cross buns
Before adding the white crosses, I brush each bun with a small amount of beaten egg. One egg is plenty! You can also use a milk wash. But for fancy hot cross buns, I prefer to use egg.
For the crosses you will also need a small plastic bag with a fine cut made in one corner of the the bottom of the bag. Or, you can use a fancy-pants piping bag and nozzle.
I add about 1/2 cup of plain flour to a bowl and gradually mix in water to make a paste. The paste needs to be liquid enough to squeeze it out of the bag, but not so liquid that it wants to drip out of the bag!
Baking the buns
The tray filled with buns is put into an oven pre-heated to about 200 deg C. The buns should be ready after 20 minutes. I test the buns by tapping the top of them. If they sound “hollow” then they are ready! However, if I feel uncertain, then I turn off the oven and allow the buns to sit a little longer (~ 5-10 mins).
Adding a fancy brandy glaze
While the buns are still baking in the oven, I cook up a small volume of lemon syrup in a saucepan by adding the juice of one lemon and at least 1/4 cup of white caster sugar. The syrup is brought to the simmer point till the sugar has dissolved and it looks syrupy. After removing the syrup from the heat I add a generous volume of brandy (about 2 tablespoons).
The glaze is then brushed on to the buns, immediatley after they are removed from the oven. Then the buns are returned to the still hot oven for a few minutes.
Once I take the tin out of the oven I let it cool down, then I remove the buns by lifting the baking paper. The buns are placed on a wire rack till they cool to room temperature.