Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
100ml milk
10g fresh yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
30g caster sugar
1 egg
250g strong plain flour, plus extra to dust
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoons ground mixed spice
40g butter, at room temperature
50g currants
1 tablespoon chopped mixed peel

For the crosses and glaze

Quantity Ingredient
50g plain flour
pinch baking powder
2 teaspoons oil
15-30ml milk
1 teaspoon caster sugar


  1. Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to scalding point over a medium heat, then remove from the heat and leave to cool to blood temperature, about 38°C.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the yeast with the water and ½ teaspoon of the sugar to create a loose paste. Beat the egg and add it to the yeast mixture.
  3. Put the flour, salt and mixed spice in a large bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the flour with your fingertips. Stir in the remaining sugar.
  4. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and three-quarters of the milk, making sure all the yeast is scraped into the well. Stir with a cutlery knife, then with your fingers, adding enough of the reserved milk to make a soft but not sticky dough.
  5. Tip the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for about 8–10 minutes until smooth and elastic, using as little extra flour on the work surface as possible.
  6. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled cling film or a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours until doubled in size.
  7. Transfer the risen dough to the work surface and knock it back, kneading for 2–3 minutes and adding in the currants and mixed peel (trying to ensure that the currants and peel stay in whole pieces).
  8. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, shape into buns and place about 2 cm apart on a large, oiled baking sheet. Flatten each slightly with the palm of your hand, then cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C.
  9. To make the crosses for the tops of the buns, sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in the oil and enough cold water to make a thick but pipeable paste. Once the buns have risen and doubled in size, mix the milk with the sugar and use to brush the buns lightly. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 5 mm nozzle with the paste. Using a sharp knife, cut a very shallow cross in the top of each bun, 1 mm deep, and pipe a cross on top.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes then brush the buns again with the sweetened milk and return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. They should feel light and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and serve fresh with butter, or split in half and toasted.


  • For extra shine, brush the cooked, cooled buns with an apricot glaze, or a light stock syrup, in place of the milk glaze.


  • Cranberry and orange buns: Replace the currants and mixed peel with 60 g dried cranberries and the mixed spice with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Add the finely grated zest of 1 orange when adding the sugar.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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