Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Buns/Rolls

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

March 12, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

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Easter is less than a month away and we are starting to see a lot of Hot Cross Buns being baked.  I have shared a yeast version last year (2020).   Please click "Hot Cross Buns" If you are interested.  For this year, I thought I would do a "Sourdough Hot Cross Buns" version using the Yudane Method too.  

This Sourdough Hot Cross Buns are so soft and fluffy.  It stays fresh longer due to Yudane Method.  My family love it so much. They disappeared from the counter so fast.

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 Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Yields:  16 small buns 


Yudane Dough:
90g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
90g boiling water

Sweet Stiff Starter:
80g active sourdough starter (100% Hydration), at its peak 
240g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
100g water or 120g milk
40g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
80g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All stiff starter (above)
All the yudane dough (above)
25g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar, add more if you prefer sweeter)
1 1/4 tsp salt
35g milk powder (omit if sweet stiff starter is fed with milk)
40g butter, room temperature
55g egg, whisked (from 1 medium egg)
20g water (Don't add all at one time)
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
zest of 2 oranges
85g raisins, rinsed with hot water and drained

Egg Wash: 
1 egg + 1 tbsp water, whisked

Flour Paste for The Cross:
40g plain flour
40g water 
1 tsp veg. oil

Sugar Glaze (I omitted)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp boiling water

9" square pan, lined with parchment paper
Pipping bag 
No. 6 round nozzle (optional)

  1. Yudane Dough:
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  I prepared the night before.
    3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. Dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and mix in bread flour to become a dough.  I usually mix with plastic scrapper then mix with hand to make into a ball.  Please use stand mixer with paddle attachment to mix if you find hard to mix with hand.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. 
    3. However, if you feed your starter with milk, the starter will take longer time to proof and very much depend on your stater.  Mine took about 9 - 10 hours to proof overnight.  And the starter did not rise until triple somtimes in size compared feeding with water.  It rose almost 2.5 to 3 in size.  
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter and raisins), including all the stiff starter and yudane dough into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually torn the stiff starter and yudane dough into pieces first.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until reach window pane stage.  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.
    4. Add in rinsed raisins and continue kneading for about a minute until the raisins evenly mix in the dough.  
  4. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 15 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 45 minutes and the dough rose slightly in 45 minutes. 
  5. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 16 equal portions or 9 equal portions (if you prefer bigger buns).  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Please watch the video here "How to shape bun"
    3. Place place bun onto the baking pans lined with non-stick baking paper. 
  6. Final Proofing:
    1. Let the buns proof at a warm place until the dough rise double in size. This one took approximately 3 1/2 hours at at room temperature of 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and the starter.
  7. Flour Paste for The Cross:
    1. Whisk flour, water and oil together until become a thick pipeable paste.  Transfer the paste to a pipping bag and snip the tip off or use round 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.
  8. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash.
    3. Pipe a cross on each bun with the prepared paste. 
    4. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  For my oven, I make sure I did not bake more than 20 minutes as the buns will become dry easily by the next day even though yudane method is used. 
    5. Remove buns from oven and let them cool on rack.  Brush buns with sugar glaze if you like once out from oven.
Yudane Dough

Sweet Stiff Starter

Main Dough



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


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.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

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, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. 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.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. 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 the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


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. Thank you for this recipe it tasted so good!!!!

    1. Hi, thanks for trying and your kind feedback. I am glad that you like it.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

  2. If the yudane already more than 24 hrs in the fridge, can I still use it? Thanks in advance

    1. Hi, yes it is fine. It can be kept for 2 -3 days in the fridge. Thanks :)

    2. Thanks for the info :)

  3. Thank you for the recipe. My very first hot cross buns came out beautifully, so moist, soft and fluffy just like mentioned. I put cranberries instead as no sultanas in hand and glazed with butter after all. The taste is just right.
    Thank you for the clear instructions and pictures.

    1. Hi, thank you for trying and your kind feedback. You know what, I am going to bake this recipe tomorrow. My family love it.

      You are most welcome and happy easter in advance.

      Cheers :)

  4. Hello. Please may I ask what you mean by active sourdough starter at hundred percent hydration. I usually feed my starter 1:4:4 is that ok or you mean to feed at 1:1:1 ?

    1. Hi, Thanks for your interest in this recipe. Active starter means the starter at its peak when reach triple. 1:4:4 is fine just use it when reach triple and you can see very active with a lot of bubbles.

      100% hydration means same equal part of flour and water.

      Cheers :)

  5. I have been trying to find yudane method sourdough and I am so glad to find yours but noted that the starter (80+240+120) is much bigger than the actual dough of 80g, which I have never seen before. can you explain the logic please.

    1. Hi, thank you for your interest in this recipe.

      I created a recipe using a high percentage of sweet stiff starter that help to cut down proofing times and make the bread rise faster on the baking day.

      If you can see all my Sourdough Shokupan and Sourdough Soft bread recipes are using this method.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers :)


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