Not So Hot This Time Hot Cross Buns

Let me just say this…sometimes the kitchen wins. This bake was one disaster after another. I couldn’t get the dough to rise properly, I blew up and burned apricot jam in the microwave, and I burned off more than one fingerprint on the baking tray.  This was a first-time bake. I don’t know if the weather was against me or the universe in general, but things got ugly. I wanted to do something for a friend of ours that’s going through a rough time right now. I’m not sure these buns will help. LOL. I think I’ll scratch these and make scones in the morning. Gift baking should have some dignity, class, and be filled with love. These have none of those things.  I think these are just filled with frustration, confusion and embarrassment. Deep breath. As Scarlett O’Hara would say, “Tomorrow is another day”.

Hot Cross Buns

Makes 12/Bake at 425 F for 20 min/ Paul Hollywood recipe with different fruit


  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 40g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 120ml warm full-fat milk
  • 120ml cool water
  • 150g sultanas (I used cranberries)
  • 80g chopped mixed peel (I didn’t use)
  • Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 dessert apple, cored and diced (I didn’t use)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • For the crosses:
  • 75g plain flour
  • 75ml water
  • For the glaze:
  • 75g apricot jam


  1. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter, eggs, milk and half the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add the water, a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more – you want dough that is soft, but not soggy. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.
  2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 5-10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.
  3. When your dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – at least 1 hour, but it’s fine to leave it for 2 or even 3 hours.
  4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and scatter the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon on top. Knead in until evenly incorporated. Cover and leave to rise for a further hour.
  5. Fold the dough inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out. Divide into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Place, fairly close together, on 1 or 2 baking trays lined with baking parchment or silicone paper.
  6. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to rest for 1 hour, or until the dough is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 425F.
  7. For the crosses, mix the flour and water to a paste. Using a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle, pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Warm the apricot jam with a splash of water, sieve and brush over the tops of the warm buns to glaze. Cool on a wire rack.