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Sourdough hot cross buns

March 9, 2010

We love hot cross buns. You know how people complain that Christmas decorations are out in the shops too early? And that hot cross buns hit the shops on boxing day? Well, we secretly go home and celebrate. Bring them on earlier we say! Except for something rather strange this year. I have been buying up big on the HCBs, but they have been going to waste. The dogs and chooks are not complaining, but I have been finding it all a bit strange. Lately I have even resorted to hunting down different versions from different bakeries, thinking that the supermarket ones must be dodgy this year. And then it finally dawned on me. We have become so spoiled from eating the lovely sourdough bread I have been making for the last few months, that we can no  longer enjoy ‘normal’ bread. So I did a bit of google research for sourdough HCB recipes. They all sounded very complicated. Not my thing at all. Then I decided that I would just make some, much like I did when I experimented with sourdough apple buns in the very early days of my sourdough baking when I didn’t know anything about the why and why nots of baking (still don’t know much more today either). I was so excited when these popped out of the oven this morning. They are sensational (even if I say so myself!). That nice chewiness that sourdough bread has (does not turn into a lump of glue that sticks in your mouth like the commercial ones). I made them only slightly sweet, and with sultanas and cranberries (for a little sour burst). I didn’t use much spice (scared off by the complicated recipes I read that said that cinnamon etc impedes the sourdough rising – no problems rising that I observed so next time I will use a lot more).

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

500g sourdough starter
1kg flour
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 tbs treacle
300ml milk
200ml water
1.5 cups dried fruit (I used sultanas and cranberries soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and then drained)
2 tbs caster sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder
zest of one large orange
zest of one small lemon
50g soft unsalted butter
1 tsp salt

Flour, water and olive oil for the ‘crosses’

Honey for glazing

Mix the eggs with the treacle, milk and water. Add to the sourdough starter, flour, zests, caster sugar and spices and mix until it is all combined. Set aside for 20 minutes. Now add the fruit and the salt and knead as you would for a wet dough (note that this is a rather wet dough, but surprisingly not too sticky). When the dough has just about been kneaded to the right amount (it starts to get less wet and looks smooth and shiny), start adding in little cubes of the very soft butter. The kneading action will help it all get incorporated.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Take the dough out onto your lightly floured bench and fold over a few times. Put it back in the bowl and after a further hour repeat the folding process. Now place the dough back in the bowl and in the fridge overnight. The  next morning shape into small rolls and place in a tin lined with baking paper. Leave at room temperature for about 60-90 minutes.

Mix the flour, water and olive oil together to form a fairly stiff paste. Using a disposable piping bag, pipe crosses onto the buns. Bake in a hot oven (200 C fan forced in my case) for 20 minutes. Heat the honey for a few seconds in the microwave just before taking the rolls out of the oven. Brush the rolls with the warm honey as soon as you take them out of the oven.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2010 5:10 AM

    GORGEOUS! They look so delicious, Spice Girl! Know how you feel – after you’ve baked your own bread for a while, it’s hard to pay money to buy any – even the fancy artisan stuff doesn’t taste quite right. I use a similar method (although I haven’t made any HXB this year yet) – the only thing I really do differently is that I rub the butter into the flour/sugar/spice/zest at the beginning, before adding the liquids. Hey, do you find you get dried fruit flying all over the kitchen when you slap and fold the dough? 😀

    • spice and more permalink
      March 10, 2010 8:06 AM

      I cheated and added the fruit at the end of the kneading – so not too much flying fruit for me. And yes, I definitely don’t like paying $7 for a loaf of artisan sourdough bread anymore!

  2. March 10, 2010 8:47 PM

    I get annoyed when I see the Christmas decorations but hot cross buns are another matter! I wish they made them all year round!

  3. March 11, 2010 6:40 PM

    Waw,…another GRAND recipe of yours!!

    What’s not to love????

  4. Craig permalink
    March 15, 2010 7:53 PM

    Wow, they looks fantastic – wonderful colour. Thanks for sharing. When doing a fruit loaf I also prefer to knead the fruit in later as the gluten is developed abit, although ususally put the soaker water in the mix to keep the flavours.
    Is is easy to shape the cold dough of the fridge?

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      March 17, 2010 3:29 PM

      I actually make pretty wet doughs and I find that the rest in the fridge overnight seems to firm them up a bit – making it easier to shape. When I do try to shape it without the few hours in the fridge, I find that it tends to flop all over the place and spread sideways and I end up with very flat bread! Good idea re using the soaking water from the fruit in the bread. I will try that next time – thanks!

  5. Rachel permalink
    April 3, 2010 9:38 AM

    We have just enjoyed sharing these delicious hot cross buns with friends in Samoa, they are the best i have ever made, and so we’re going to make a second batch today!

    Thank you for the recipe and great instructions too.

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      April 6, 2010 12:04 PM

      I was so excited to read that you enjoyed the hot cross buns! As mentioned in the email I sent off to you (in case you were planning on an Easter batch) – I now leave out the butter and milk from my recipe (just use water instead of the milk) and the results are just as good if not better. And I can feel less guilty about eating two…or five of these!

  6. April 6, 2010 6:44 AM

    I really want to try a sourdough hot cross bun. They look great!

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      April 6, 2010 12:00 PM

      The sourdough gives them a really nice chewy texture – way nicer than a standard yeasted hot cross bun. And much healthier too if you leave out the butter and milk like I have been doing. Just eggs and currants added to a standard sort of sourdough bread mix makes for something that tastes really decadent, but is actually pretty innocent!

  7. April 22, 2011 11:55 PM

    Absolutely fabulous, thank you, had them for elevenses today, perfect. And there are some left for tea! And I might get a chance to glaze them by then- got gobbled too quickly this morning!


    • spiceandmore permalink*
      May 2, 2011 9:29 AM

      I was really thrilled to read your comment. Glad you enjoyed them. I have made quite a few batches this year too and they are well loved by my family. The last batch made for a family get together on Easter monday were well fought over!

  8. March 7, 2012 7:51 PM

    I have been reading all the recipes and really like the look of this and will try. My children love hot cross buns and as are now eating sourdough will love these I’m sure.

    • spiceandmore permalink*
      March 8, 2012 9:44 AM

      The sourdough hot cross buns are really worth making. The only danger is that you will never be able to eat/buy a hot cross bun from a shop again!

      • March 9, 2012 1:01 AM

        I made them and they were a success. I adapted the recipe a bit I added golden syrup allspice cinnamon and ginger.

  9. March 13, 2013 7:38 AM

    Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one
    and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks?
    If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything
    you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  10. Anne-Marie permalink
    March 21, 2013 7:02 PM

    Just checking you really mean 500 grams of sourdough starter? Seems way too much?

  11. Erica permalink
    April 1, 2015 11:10 AM

    Hi, I made these yesterday and they are wonderful. Your recipe is so easy to follow compared to the others I looked at. I made 20 buns and they are by far the most successful I have ever cooked. Thank you so much for posting this great recipe.


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