Enjoy fresh-baked hot cross buns early in the morning by preparing the dough the night before and leaving it to prove in the fridge overnight. This recipe doesn't require the usual kneading so you can mix the dough with just a wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease.
1 cup milk, warm
3 tsp dried yeast
450g plain flour
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup raisins
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp boiling water
- Place the warm milk in a bowl and stir in the dried yeast with a teaspoon of the sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Place the flour, sugar, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon together in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook attached. (You can mix by hand with a wooden spoon if you don't have a mixer).
- Turn the mixer on to the slowest setting and pour in the yeast mixture (which should now be bubbling nicely), the melted butter and the eggs.
- Mix until smooth, then add the raisins and keep mixing until they are evenly distributed through the dough.
- Cover the mixing bowl with a clean damp tea towel and place a heavy plate on top as a lid. Place in the fridge to proof overnight. It should rise to twice the original size.
- Next morning: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it lightly until it becomes pliable. Divide it into 16 portions (you can do this by weight if you want to be extra-neat with your presentation, about 60g each), and shape them into balls.
- Arrange the buns snugly on a baking tray (leave 1-2cm gap between each one). Cover loosely with cling film and allow the buns to rise for a second time (30-40 minutes).
- Heat the oven to 200C.
- To make the crosses, stir the flour and water together and place the mixture in a piping bag (or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off, or just dribble it on with a spoon).
- Pipe crosses on the tops of the dough.
- Place in the hot oven and bake for around 25 minutes (check after 20), until golden.
- Mix the sugar and boiling water together to make a glaze and brush it onto the tops of the hot cross buns for a glossy, sticky finish.
A few tips
- Make sure your yeast is not past its use-by date.
- The milk needs to be warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Just above blood temperature is perfect.
- Don't have raisins? Use any other dried fruit or leave it out altogether.
- You can let your dough rise for a while on the benchtop if you like, or put it straight in the fridge if you don't have time for that.
- Make sure the dough is tightly covered before placing it in the fridge, otherwise the top will dry out and prevent the dough rising.
- The dough will be very firm when you first turn it out. It will soften as you work with it.
- Make sure your oven is up to temperature before you put the buns in.
- You can glaze with sugar water as per recipe, or try honey or warm jam.