What’s for Supper Easter special: Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns 

This recipe comes from our chef and artisan baker Clare Bermingham. Clare, like the rest of us here at the Cookery School, trained at Leiths but then also went on to train as a baker with Le Cordon Bleu.

If you have attended one of the bread classes run by Clare, either alone or with your child as part of our many popular Parent & Child classes, you will know what an amazing baker she is. Watching Clare knead, shape and touch dough tends to have a transfixing, and ultimately, life transforming effect on those who attend!

As we are aware that freezer space may be limited at the moment, Clare has offered a relatively small quantity, making 6 buns. Obviously if you would like to make a dozen, simply double the recipe!


For the dough

200g strong bread flour

50g wholemeal flour

5g salt

3.5g (1/2 sachet) quick action yeast, or 10g fresh yeast, if you have it

110g full fat milk, heated to just about lukewarm

25g mixed peel (or cranberries)

100g raisins or sultanas

1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg

1 medium egg

25g soft butter

20g runny honey, or golden syrup

For the crosses

Mix equal quantities flour and water, to form a fairly thick paste, then add a little caster sugar

For the glaze

Warmed and sieved apricot jam

  1. In a bowl, combine the flours, spices and salt.
  2. Dissolve the quick action yeast in the luke-warm milk, add the egg, butter and honey
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
  4. Mix to form a dough, then tip out onto your work surface and knead for about 10 minutes using the base of your palm, pushing dough away from you to stretch it, then fold it back on itself. Repeat. The stretching creates gluten, the folding helps to trap air for the yeast to work in.You will see how the dough changes from “ropey” and ragged, as above, to looking glossy and smooth. To find out if you have kneaded enough to create the gluten needed for good bread, do a “gluten window” test as shown in the little clip here. You should be able to stretch a thin membrane without the dough breaking. If it breaks up, knead for another 30-60 seconds – it can be that quick. Gluten is made by mixing flour and a liquid and then stretching and manipulating it and creating molecular gluten strands to give the buns their lovely texture.
  5. Leave to rise for an hour, covered by a clean tea towel and away from draughts.
  6. When the dough has doubled in size, add the raisins and mixed peel and re-knead.
  7. Divide into 6 equal parts, and shape into little buns. See Bread roll blog for shaping technique.
  8. Place on a baking tray, if you like, so close that they are lightly touching and will need to be gently prized apart once baked.
  9. Prove for at least one hour.
  10. Meanwhile, set the oven to 190C. Mix the flour, water and sugar. Spoon into a piping or plastic bag, and pipe out over all the buns, so they are all “crossed”.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. While still warm, brush liberally with the apricot glaze and leave to cool on the rack.