Hot Cross Buns

It’s Easter, so it has to be Hot Cross Buns – and the answer lies in the yeast. The problem most people have is they try the fast active yeast, but it is best to use the type that needs gently rehydrating in hand hot water. It creates a frothy head like you would find on beer, and the smell of baking wafts through the house. Add the mixed spice, dried fruits and (on mine at least) shiny sugar glazing and the holiday celebration is here. I have put these on here early – I made some using this recipe some years ago and will make more this Friday but wanted to get the recipe out – so a picture will follow then. This makes 12, but don’t tell everyone and have some extra for yourself.


  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 30z (75g) currants
  • 2oz (50g) cut mixed peel
  • 1 level teaspoon of salt
  • 1lb (450g) plain flour
  • 1 level tablespoon of dried yeast
  • 5floz (150ml) hand hot water
  • 2oz (50g) caster sugar, (plus an extra 1 level teaspoon for the yeast mix)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2oz (50g) butter, gently melted
  • 1.5floz (40ml) hand hot milk.
  • 2 level tablespoons granulated sugar

Preparation Method

  1. Stir 1 teaspoon of caster sugar into 5fl oz (150ml) of tepid water, then add 1level tablespoon of dried yeast. A nice froth should form.
  2. Dry ingredients: Sift your flour into the mixing bowl, then to one side the  spices and to the other side the salt (keep it away from the coming yeast) and add the 2oz of sugar, the currants and mixed peel. Make a well in the centre of the mixture.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry: Pour in the frothy yeast liquid and 1.5floz (40ml) of hand-hot milk, the egg and melted butter and using a wooden spoon stir the lot together. when combined use your hands, and some more milk if it’s too dry.
  4. Now the dough goes onto a clean surface and knead it until the gluten makes it elastic – not long about 6 minutes and don’t batter it like someone you don’t like, take your time. This is what will give it structure and make it rise.
  5. Transfer it to a bowl and cover with a lightly oiled bag or clingfilm. Leave it somewhere warm so that it can rise – an hour and fifteen minutes should see this though.
  6. When that is done, turn it out and knock it back again so it is the original size. Divide the dough into about 12 rounds and leaving them room to expand put them on the greased baking sheet, mark them with the cross (use a sharp knife or a little bit of flour and water to make a paste and rolled out really thin) and put them on a tray covered with the oiled bag. Loose.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 425f/220c/GM 7 and after about 25 minutes the buns should have risen and (removing the bag) pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes.
  8. Mix the sugar with two tablespoons of water to make a glaze, and while the buns are still hot from the oven given them a brush.



About Cooking At Zero Degrees

This is a blog (it also works on an ipad and now has a Facebook page) about what we eat at home. Starters, mains, sauces, side dishes, cocktails and links to local shops. It’s all here. Food is fun, it should be fun to make and fun to eat. For some people making a meal is a chore. If it is then don’t do it; but please, it’s better to eat something, anything, that you make at home from scratch, because prepared, packaged supermarket dinners and food have about as much flavour as the plastic or cardboard package they come in. Food cultivation and husbandry is not just a moral argument. Eggs that don’t come from battery hens do taste better, cattle properly reared have more flavour - and just think about it: at its most simple, if they’re not being pumped full of chemicals then you’re not being pumped full of chemicals. How good is that? If you can buy local, use your neighbourhood shops, you will miss them when they are gone. Most of all, have fun making a meal of it! Oh, and why at zero degrees? Because that’s where we live – in Greenwich, London.
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