Breads (Yeast) - Buns/Rolls

Hot Cross Buns

April 10, 2020 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

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Happy Ester!  

Irresistible Hot Cross Buns Recipe that you must try!

Get ready to delight your taste buds with these soft, fragrant, and utterly delicious hot cross buns. Whether enjoyed warm from the oven or toasted and slathered with butter, each bite is a heavenly experience that will leave you craving more. Don't wait for a special occasion – try this recipe today and treat your family and friends to a delicious homemade indulgence!

These Hot Cross Buns are delicious even without syrup glazing.   The traditional Hot Cross Buns usually has a syrup glazing but as usual, I try to make everything with less sugar.

I used pâte fermentée (pre-fermented dough in French) or sometimes called "old dough" to make this soft and flavourful bread.  Traditionally, bread makers take a portion of the bread dough made and save it overnight for next day baking.  I made it from scratch since I did not have any ready old dough. With this method, the bread is more flavourful and aromatic due to the higher acidity and fermentation gasses produced during the slow fermentation.

For Sourdough version, please click here "Sourdough Hot Cross Buns" 

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

How To Make Soft, Fluffy and Fragrant Hot Cross Buns 

Yields: 12 buns


Old Dough:
200g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
150g milk or 125g water
1/4 round tsp (1.2g) instant dry yeast 
1/4 round tsp sugar

Main Dough:
200g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All the old dough
1/2 round tsp (2g) instant dried yeast
25g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 1/4 tsp (7g) sea salt
1 round tsp ground cinnamon 
1 round tsp ground mixed spices OR 1/4 tsp ground allspice + 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
50g egg (1 egg), whisked
100g milk (reserve 10g and add in if needed.  I used all 100g milk)
45 salted butter, room temperature 
90g raisins, rinsed with hot water and drained
Zest of 1 1/2 orange

Egg Wash:
1 egg + 1 tbsp milk or cream (I used milk)

Flour Paste for The Cross:
50g plain flour
50g water 
1 tsp veg. oil

Chefmade 11" Oblong Non-stick Pan 11" X 9" X 2" (28.1 X 23.1 X 5.1 cm)  OR
9 square pan, lined with parchment paper
Pipping bag
Round Tip Nozzle no. 4 or Small Basketweave Piping Nozzle No. 44

  1. Old Dough
    1. Combine milk, yeast, sugar and bread flour in a bowl of stand mixer.  Then mix with paddle attachment. Roll into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with cling film and let it proof 1 hour in room temperature (28C – 30C).  After 1 hour, place into the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 36 hours.  However, 8 hours is fine too.  Take out the old dough from refrigerator to return to room temperature 30 minutes before using.
    2. You may also let it ferment for 12 - 16 hours in cool place or  air-conditioned room (22C - 23C).  
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter), including all the old dough (slightly tear the dough) into a bowl of stand mixer.
    2. Using the paddle attachment, mix for around 3 minutes or until the dough comes together and elastic.
    3. Change to hook attachment and add in butter.  
    4. Continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until reach window pane stage.   During the whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
    5. Add in rinsed raisins and continue kneading for about a minute until the raisins evenly mix in the dough.  Round up the dough and put back in the same bowl.
  3. 1st Proofing:
    1. Cover with lid and let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes or until double in size.
  4. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 12 equal portions (about 73g each).  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    2. Form each portion to a ball. 
    3. Place place bun onto the baking pans.
  5. Final Proofing:
    1. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or double the size.  Lightly press the the dough with your finger. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready.
  6. Flour Paste for The Cross:
    1. While waiting for the buns to proof, whisk flour, water and oil together until become a thick pipeable paste.  
    2. Transfer the paste to a pipping bag and snip the tip off or use the nozzle if you have. Set aside.  If you do not have a piping bag just used a clean plastic bag and snip the tip/corner off.
  7. To bake:
    1. Preheat oven at 180C (top & bottom heat) or 160C - 170C (fan-forced) for 15 minutes before baking.
    2. Brush with egg wash.
    3. Pipe a cross on each bun with the prepared paste. 
    4. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  If it is browning too quickly, cover the top loosely with aluminium foil.
    5. Remove hot cross buns from oven then remove from the pan.  Let it cool on rack completely before slicing.

Old Dough
Old Dough

Flour Paste

Main Dough
Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate and environment. The humidity and temperature at your place will influence how dough rises.  
If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. First Proofing:
    • Lightly flour or oil your finger or knuckle, gently poke in the centre of the dough then remove your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation then it needs more time.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back or if the dough collapses, then the it is over proved.  
    • If it bounces back just a little, then the dough is ready to be punched down and shaping.
  2. Second Proofing:
    • Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
    • If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
    • There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until it rises 80 - 90% in size or is slightly below the rim of the pan.

Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. I love your recipes... they are so innovative. Keep them coming :-).

    Best regards,

    1. Hi, thank you for trying this recipe and your kind comment. Your encouragement is much appreciated.

      Cheers :)

  2. Best ever hot cross buns!! THANK YOU

    1. Hi, You are most welcome. Thanks for trying and your kind feedback. Glad to hear that you like it.

      Cheers and have a wonderful day :)

  3. Thank you for the recipe with clear instruction and pictures.
    My very first hot cross buns came out as mentioned, soft, moist and fluffy. I put cranberries instead as no raisins in hand. It's super delicious and everyone loves it!

    1. Hi, thank you for trying this recipe and your kind feedback. Cranberries go well with the buns too. Your compliment mean a lot to me.

      Cheers and Happy Easter :)


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