Hot Cross Buns

There are loads of Hot Cross Buns recipes out there, and we’ve tried a few over the years with mixed success. Last year we made some using homemade yoghurt as the leavening agent (much like our Lemon Yoghurt Cake) because during the first pandemic lockdown we couldn’t get access to yeast, and we hadn’t yet started baking with sourdough. They were pretty good, but these ones… these ones are magic.

Light, fluffy, jubey, full of flavour and not too sweet, this recipe uses yeast so it can be made from start to finish in an hour and a half. And we’ve listed dairy alternatives so they can be made vegan as well. It’s going on the list as a regular for us from now on!


1tbsp dry yeast

1 cup milk (cow, goat, almond, oat)

4 cups plain flour (use baker’s flour for super-dooper fluffy buns)

2tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp ground allspice

1tsp ground cardamon

1/2tsp ground cloves

1/2tsp grate orange zest or 1/4tsp dried citrus dust

1/2tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar

80g butter/Nuttlex, softened

1 egg/egg replacement or 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup warm water

1/2 cup sultanas/fruit peel/choc chips- your choice. Or leave them out entirely.


1-2tbsp plain flour

1-2tbsp water

2tbsp smooth jam or jelly (apricot or quince work really well)


  1. Heat milk to body temperature, then mix in yeast and set aside somewhere warm for 15 minutes until bubbly.
  2. Mix all dry dough ingredients together.
  3. Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add milk & yeast, egg and water. Mix until combined well.
  5. Put dough in an oiled, covered bowl and let rise somewhere warm for 30 minutes/until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven. 200C fan forced, 220C convection
  7. Tip dough onto a floured surface & knead for 5 minutes until elastic.
  8. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a smooth ball.
  9. Line a baking tray with baking paper, or grease with a bit of butter/oil.
  10. Place dough balls 1cm apart on tray, then cover & let rise in a warm spot for 15 minutes.
  11. Make a thick runny paste with flour & water to paint crosses. Either use a piping bag, or score a cross & then dribble paste along the lines with a knife to paint on crosses.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes in the middle of the oven, or until buns sound hollow when tapped.
  13. Mix jam/jelly with a dash of boiling water to form a runny liquid. Brush over the still-hot buns.
  14. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Once cooled, store your buns in a bag, tin or tub. Eat within a few days, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Permaculture Principle 2: Catch & store energy; 3: Obtain a yield; 6: Produce no waste

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