Hot Cross Buns Recipe

My favourite thing to eat at Easter time is hot cross buns, soft and spicy,

moist and delicious, the perfect start to a good Friday!

In this recipe there are actually three recipes in one. I like to look after all the different dietary requirement and earth crisis's! Along with a standard delicious hot cross bun recipe there is one for sourdough hot cross buns and also a gluten free

version. All can be plant-based.

It is really nice to make your own, the kids will love to help measure out the ingredients and brush the honey on top at the end, plus the house smells fantastic and you can't beat

fresh hot cross buns straight out of the oven.

When I make breads with dried yeast I like to bloom the yeast with the

flour, water and sweetener for the first ferment to develop flavour. I also finds this helps with the general rise of the bread as the yeasts are nice and active when the come into contact with the spices, which can retard the dough if too much is added.

Included in this recipe I have added an option for using a sourdough starter instead of yeast, as there seems to be a lack of it because of the current covid 19 situation.

(Please find instructions for making your own sourdough starter at the bottom

of this recipe). You will need to start making your starter four days before making the buns and need to double the proving (rising) times.

This recipe is refined sugar free and the sweetener's used really give the buns a delicious flavour and improved texture. Maltexo is a barley based malt extract which some may remember from childhood, I love the flavour but there are other options within the recipe, you could also use golden syrup if that is what you have in the pantry. I utilise a mixer with a dough hook attachment, but you can use a bread and butter knife and your hands and kneed the dough if you don’t have one.

I use a damp tea towel instead of plastic wrap when proving but you might like to cover this with a bees wax wrap also to keep all the moisture that you can in, as this helps create the ideal environment for the yeast to thrive along with the ambient temperature being around 20-25°C. The temperature is essential for proving (rising) the bread too, especially with using a sourdough starter. If it's cooler it will take a lot longer, you may need to use the oven. To do this turn it on to the lowest setting for a couple of minutes, then turn it off, and put your covered buns in and close the door.

If you like soft hot cross buns like me, I recommend using a roasting tray with sides to bake the buns in.


~Updated Recipe~

Vegan | Gluten-free

Makes 12 buns

If utilising a sourdough starter miss out this first step (and add the sweetener to the second measurements). You will need 2 c (500ml) of active sourdough starter for this recipe, then rinse the jar out with 1/4 c hot water to give the dough some warmth. The proving (rising) time will need to be lengthened to 3 hours for the first prove and 4 hours after shaping.

Measure the following into a bowl:

1 tsp dried yeast

1 T Maltexo, coconut nectar or brown rice syrup

1 c white high grade flour

1 c lukewarm water or whey


1 c almond or soy milk for gluten-free

Mix together well and leave to prove (bloom), covered with a damp tea towel for 1 hour.

Remove the tea towel and add:

1 c white high grade flour or plain white flour with1 T gluten flour

1 c wholemeal or rye flour


1/2 c almond meal (flour)

1/2 c cornflour

1/3 c buckwheat flour

1 T physllium husk

1 T honey, coconut nectar or brown rice syrup

1 T molasses

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp salt

1 c (150 g) raisins and/or cranberries

50 g butter


1/4 c coconut oil

Mix well with a dough hook on a medium speed for 5 minutes. Prove until doubled in size covered with a damp tea towel for 1-2 hours for standard recipe. 3 hours for sourdough.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half, then each half into six. Shape into balls, tucking the ugly ends underneath so you have a nice smooth top. Butter a 20x30 cm roasting tray. Line buns up in lines of three across by four lengthways. Cover with a damp tea towel and prove (rise) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size. 4 hours for sourdough.


Mix together well and spoon into well greased muffing tins, cover with a damp tea towel and prove (rise) for 3-4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and make you cross mix. Measure the following into a bowl:

1 heaped T flour

1 heaped tsp cornflour or custard powder

1½ T water or milk

Mix together until smooth (steading pouring consistency). Use a teaspoon to carefully pour lines in one smooth motion from one end to the other lengthways. Then again width ways over each bun. You could also use a piping bag. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the buns from the oven & the tray onto a cooling rack and immediately brush the tops with runny honey, brown rice syrup or warmed jam.

Happy Bun Day!


To make your own sourdough from scratch, measure the following into a 600ml jar:

1/2 c water 1/2 c flour, plain, wholemeal

or rye

Mix together well, scrape down the sides and cover and secure with a muslin, tea towel or pantyhose (sterilise in boiling water first).

Leave in a moderate temperature, approximately 20°C, for best results. Every morning and night feed the dough with the following:

1/4 c flour

2 T water

Mix well, scraping down the sides then cover. When the jar is full of starter you can make the bread.


Wholemeal flour is more active as it has natural yeasts from the outer grain of the wheat.

Once your starter is active you can double the measurements for feeding if you need to make bread more frequently.

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