Hot Cross Buns
Hot cross buns hold special memories for me. Every year as a child, I’d walk with my grandfather to his local bakery, pick up fresh hot cross buns, and quickly run back home to devour them with cold salted butter. This recipe uses the tangzhong method, which relies on making a thickened paste of flour and water to create a very tender bun. (see also Chilli Crisp Cream Cheese Stuffed Rose Buns and Perfect Cinnamon Rolls). I like to infuse the fruit with St. Germain or whiskey, but if you prefer a non-alcoholic alternative or want to skip this step, see the Notes below).
- Yield: 16
For the Dried Fruit (See The Notes for alternatives)
7 to 8/70 g dried apricots, chopped
1 oz/30 g candied orange peel, diced
3/4 oz/20 g dried currants, cherries, raisins, or sweetened cranberries
3/4 cup/180 ml St. Germain, brandy, or whisky
1/2 cup/120 ml boiling water
For the Tangzhong
1/2 cup/120 ml whole milk
1/4 cup/35 g all-purpose flour
For the Dough
2 oz/60 g unsalted butter, cubed and warmed to room temperature, plus extra to grease the pan
1 1/2 cups/360 ml whole milk, warmed to 80F/27C
1/4 cup/50 g sugar
4 tsp active dry yeast
4 cups/560 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground green cardamom
1 large egg, lightly whisked
For the Crosses/Flour Paste
1/2 cup/70 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup/80 ml water
For the Glaze
1/4 cup/60 ml golden syrup
or mix together
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp boiling water
1 tsp lemon juice
- Fold the fruit with St. Germain and boiling water in a heat-proof bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid before using.
- While the fruit sits, prepare the tangzhong. Whisk the flour and milk in a small saucepan until there are no visible lumps of flour.
- Heat over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens to a paste. Remove from the heat.
- Add the butter, milk, sugar, and yeast to the warm tangzhong. Fold to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
- In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk the flour, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom.
- Make a well in the center and add the egg. Pour the tangzhong mixture with the yeast. Fold with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until combined.
- Add the drained fruit and knead by hand to form a smooth dough. It will be slightly sticky. Cover with a kitchen towel or cling wrap and leave in a warm place to double in size, about 1 hour.
- Lightly grease a 9 in/23 cm square baking dish with a little butter and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 1 in/2.5 cm overhang on two opposite sides. The overhang will help lift the buns out of the pan after baking.
- Unwrap the dough and knock it back to deflate. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, knead for 5 mins, and shape to form a ball. Divide the dough by weight into sixteen pieces. Shape each into a ball and place them in the prepared pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to double in size for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- 5 minutes before baking prepare the flour paste. Whisk the flour, sugar, and water in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small plain piping tube. (I skip the piping tube and nip the tip of the bag). Pipe the mixture over the buns to form a cross pattern.
- Bake the buns in the preheated oven until golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through during baking to ensure even cooking. The internal temperature of the buns should be 200F/93C.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Run a butter knife along the edges to help release the buns from the sides of the pan. Lift the buns out from the pan using the parchment paper overhang, transfer top side up to a wire rack to cool, and remove and discard the parchment paper.
- While the buns are hot, glaze the tops with the golden syrup or honey mixture. Serve the buns warm or at room temperature. These buns are best eaten the day they’re made but can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- For the dried fruit – I prefer soaking them in alcohol, so they taste more tender in the buns. If you want to skip the alcohol, replace it with fresh orange or apple juice. You can skip soaking the dried fruit and add them directly to the dough.
- For the Glaze – I use Lyle’s golden syrup but you can also use the honey alternative mentioned in the recipe.
Can you share the (simplest!) mechanics of dividing this dough by weight? Do you start with an empty bowl, subtract the weight on the scale, then weigh your dough, divide total weight by 16 and weigh each piece at 1/16 of the total? I usually eyeball my dough but often end up with loaves of bread, for example, that are not close in size! 😂
I zero/tare the weight of an empty bowl on the scale and then add the dough. Divide that total weight by 16 and then weigh each piece.
Do you think it would be possible to put them in the fridge overnight at the end of step 9? Then let them come to room temp & bake the next day…
I think that should work. Let us know how it turns out.
Can we use tangzhonh method for burger buns, dinner rolls, bagels etc?
Absolutely! They’ll make them extra soft.
Oh my!! So delish! I used warmed apricot jam for the glaze and cream cheese frosting (1/2 block cream cheese, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, pinch of salt, 1 tsp vanilla. Mix all, pipe on AFTER glazing buns). Highly reccomend this amazing recipe
Oh my!! So delish! I used warmed apricot jam for the glaze and cream cheese frosting (1/2 block cream cheese, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, pinch of salt, 1 tsp vanilla. Mix all, pipe on AFTER glazing buns). Highly reccomend
Yay! That apricot glaze sounds perfect.
I made these and they were delicious.
Thank you for making them, I’m so happy they turned out great.