Soft & Fluffy Hot Cross Buns

I’ve found a lot of hot cross bun recipes can turn out denser and harder than what you find in the shops. I’ve used the Japanese bread technique, tangzhong, for perfectly fluffy buns.



I use the tanghzong method for super fluffy hot cross buns.

This is an enriched, spiced dough so it’s full of flavour 

You’ll need a piping bag and a small nozzle for neat crosses, although you can snip the corner of a freezer bag to pipe if that’s all you have!

An apricot glaze is traditional, I like to add a little butter and vanilla to mine.

If you need any help, or have any questions, you can message me on my Instagram @bonniedoesfood.



(Makes 15 buns)



25g white bread flour

120g whole milk



500g white bread flour

120ml whole milk, lukewarm

2 ½ tsp active dry yeast

100g caster sugar, set aside 1 tbsp to activate the yeast

55g unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs, large

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp mixed spice

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ginger

1 tsp salt

 Zest from one orange, finely grated

1 tsp vanilla extract



115g sultanas

60g mixed peel

60ml orange juice, warmed


Flour paste, for the cross:

85g plain flour

4-5 tbsp water



80g apricot jam

½ tsp vanilla extract

10g unsalted butter





Combine the sultanas, mixed peel and orange juice and let sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb the orange flavour. Pat dry so not totally soaked before adding to the dough.


Whisk the milk and flour in a small saucepan until combined.

Heat the flour and milk over a medium heat and whisk until it thickens dramatically.

Set aside to cool whilst you prepare the dough.


In a jug, whisk together the warm milk, 1 tbsp caster sugar and yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes until foamy and active.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, spices, orange zest with a whisk until combined.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract and yeast mixture. Whisk until incorporated.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, along with the tanghzong you set aside earlier, and mix until a scraggly dough is formed.

If using a stand mixer, knead for 5 minutes on a medium speed. If kneading with your hands, knead for about 10 minutes.

The dough should be smooth and shiny. Don’t be tempted to add too much more flour to it as it should be quite a wet dough. It should get easier to work with the more you knead it.

Add the prepared dried fruits. If using a stand mixer you can just add these and knead on a medium low speed for a couple of minutes. If using your hands, it’s easier to flatten the dough and sprinkle the fruit evenly over. Then knead for a further couple of minutes.

Shape the dough into a taught ball and place in an oiled mixing bowl, covered with oiled cling film. Leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

When the dough is proved, gently punch out the air.

Divide the dough into 15 equal portions by weighing the whole ball of dough and dividing by 15. Each piece should weigh around 75-85 grams.

Take each dough portion, and pinch in the edge into the middle, working around the portion until a ball is formed. Flip the ball so it’s seam side down and using your hand gently pull the ball towards you to shape the dough, keeping constant contact with the work surface. You can also use a cupped hand to gently shape the dough. We want taut, round balls.

Repeat the above with the other 14 portions of dough.

On lined baking sheets, place the buns about ½ – ¾ of an inch apart. I used two baking sheets for this.

Loosely cover the hot cross buns with a damp tea towel  and proof for a final time for about 90 minutes. You can test to see if these are proved by gently pressing on a bun, if it springs back it needs more time, if the finger dent remains, they’re sufficiently proved. Depending on how cool your kitchen is, this could take up to 2hrs. Be patient!

For the last half hour of proofing time, preheat your oven to 190c fan / 170c.

Whilst your oven preheats, prepare the paste for your crosses. In a small bowl, add the flour. 1 tbsp at a time, stir in the water. You may not need all the water. We’re looking for a thick, pipeable consistency. If this seems too runny, add a little more flour. We don’t want our crosses to run!

Either using a piping bag and a small nozzle, or a snipped freezer bag. Pipe the flour paste over the hot cross buns.

Place the buns in your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Once baked, leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Whilst the buns cool slightly, prepare the glaze. In a small microwavable bowl, combine the jam, butter and vanilla. Microwave for 20 seconds, and stir, give another 20 seconds if needed. You want this to be runny and warm.

Brush the warm glaze over the buns and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These are best eaten warm with lots of butter. I like to lightly toast mine under the grill. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: