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Delicious Hot Cross Buns - thrifty and tasty!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

I decided to try out yet another variation of my Hot Cross Bun recipe as I wanted a rich and flavoursome bun packed with fruit which was inexpensive and easy to make.  Basically I wanted a Hot Cross Bun that would give the supermarket premium brand buns a run for their money but cost much less than posh store bought buns.  These buns cost £1.47 for ingredients to bake a dozen, energy costs to bake them would of course be extra.  Asda and Sainsbury's sell their premium Hot Cross Buns for £1.35 per 4 pack, Tesco Finest are on offer for £1.20 (was £1.70) for a 4 pack and Waitrose Richly Fruited Hot Cross Buns are £1.59 for a 4 pack.

This means that the cost of baking this batch of 12 Hot Cross Buns is about the same as buying only 4 buns from a supermarket premium range.  You don't have to be a master baker to make them either, just make sure the milk isn't hotter than 38C and that you knead the dough well until it is springy and elastic. That's all there is to it! You don't need a stand mixer, you can make them by hand.  Kids love kneading and shaping the dough, great for keeping them amused in the holidays.

You could add some peeled and finely chopped eating apple for extra fruit content or use a mixture of sultanas and dried apricots for a slightly different flavour.  My kids aren't fans of mixed peel so I normally leave it out and add some orange or lemon zest instead.

Delicious Hot Cross Buns

180ml milk, lukewarm 10p
4 tsp instant dry yeast 20p
75g sugar 6p
3 medium free range eggs 48p
125ml vegetable oil 15p
560g plain flour 18p
finely grated zest of an orange (optional)
3/4 tsp salt 1p
1 tsp mixed spice 1p
160g sultanas or raisins 18p

If you're using a stand mixer: Measure all of the dough ingredients, except the dried fruit, into the bowl of your mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Mix the dough on a low speed until it comes together, then increase the speed a little.  Knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.  

If making by hand: Measure the ingredients, except for the dried fruit, into a large bowl.  Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead  until smooth and elastic.  Don't be tempted to add too much flour to the work surface or it will dry the dough out too much.  

Once your dough is smooth and elastic, knead through the dried fruit, either in the mixer or by hand.  Transfer the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave for rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a minute to knock the dough back.  Divide the dough evenly into 12 pieces, ours weighed about 100g each.  Shape each piece into a ball and put onto a lined baking tray, leave a little space between them as they will be left to rise again.  Cover the baking tray with greased cling film and leave the buns to rise for another 45 minutes.

3 Tblsp plain flour 1p
2 Tblsp cold water

Mix together the flour and water until a smooth paste forms then transfer to a piping bag, If you don't have a piping bag don't worry, just use a plastic sandwich bag and snip a small piece off one corner.  Pipe crosses on the buns.

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan.  Uncover the buns and pipe on the crosses.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until they are are cooked through and a dark caramel colour on top.  Quickly make the glaze whilst the buns are still hot from the oven.

110g sugar 9p
50ml water

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat.  Heat gently, stirring constantly, until all the sugar has dissolved and a thin syrup has formed.  Brush this mixture over the buns, until it has all been used. Let the buns cool completely so the glaze can set.


  1. What a great idea Michelle - i'd much rather have one of your buns than a factory created one any day of the week! It just shows that with a little effort you can eat so much better than relying on the supermarkets for everything.

    1. Thanks Katie :) They are lots of fun for kids to make too. I'm baking another couple of batches today as they all disappeared rather rapidly yesterday.

  2. Midway through yesterday's supermarket hot X buns I realised I could just as easily have popped to B&Q for some insulation board. Quite revolting. Then I finished the packet. Yours look lovely. I do wish they were at arms length to me now so that I could take a bite. Also appreciate your clear instruction steps. I'm going to have a go, then pop to the supermarket to insulate my loft ready for the winter.

  3. Hi made these today in my bread maker, dough setting then finished off as per recipe, very easy and they taste realy good

    1. That's great, thanks for letting me know :) So glad you liked them x

  4. Lovely, we made out own Hot Cross Buns for the first time this year, such a treat and way better and cheaper than shop bought. Have a lovely Easter, hope you get a rest.

  5. I just made some of these and they are amazing! Easy to make and taste way better than the shop-bought kind. Especially straight out of the oven with a smothering of butter. Mmmmmmm.

  6. Thanks for your recipe, just made these and they worked out perfectly & tasted amazing x


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