Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Buns/Rolls

Vegan Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

April 03, 2022 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Vegan Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Vegan Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

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Last year, I shared a Sourdough Hot Cross Buns recipe in this blog that many tried and enjoyed.  This year, I modified the recipe a little for a dairy free version.  I am trying to cut down on my intake of dairy for health reasons.

The taste is quite similar though of course it is missing some of that milky and buttery aroma.  However, it is still tastes very nice.  It may not look as attractive as the dairy version because without egg wash I couldn't achieve that glistening shiny brown crust. Nevertheless, my husband prefers this version that he says tastes clean and guiltless!

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 Vegan Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Yields:  12 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
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)
20g - 25g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 1/2 tsp (8g)  salt
65 water/almond milk/soy milk, cold (reserve 10g and add in if too dry, I used total 65g water) *
35g extra virgin olive oil or any vegetable oil (I used 50% EV olive oil + 50% EV coconut oil)
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 1/4 tsp mixed spices OR 1/4 tsp allspice powder + 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
Zest of 2 oranges 
85g raisins, rinsed with hot water and drained

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

Sugar Glaze 
1 tbsp brown sugar or orange marmalate
1 tbsp boiling water

Ikea baking pan (12.5 x 7.75 inches  or 30 x 20 cm), lined with parchment paper  or
9" square pan  - arrange 4 x 4 buns = 16 buns
Pipping bag
No. 6 round nozzle (optional)

* Depends on your flour, because each flour absorbs liquid and hydrates differently. You may also add 1 teaspoon of water at a time during kneading if the dough is too dry, when you see that the dough doesn't stick to the bottom at all.  We want the dough to clear from the sides of the bowl with only a small part of the bottom sticking to the base of the mixer bowl. You should hear a slapping sound of the dough hitting the sides of the mixer bowl. 

  1. Yudane:
    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. Use directly from the fridge.
  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. The starter should look smooth and round dome.  It shouldn't collapse.
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except olive oil 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 olive oil in 2 - 3 batches and knead until oil incorporate with the dough.  It took quite a while about 5 - 6 minutes for the oil to blend into the dough. Once the oil is well incorporated with the dough,  then continue kneading for another 7 - 8 minutes (approx.) or until the dough become smooth, silky and 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. Fold in raisins.  Round up the dough and put back in the same bowl. 
  4. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. Cover with lid and let the dough rest for 45 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 60 minutes at 29C room temperature and the dough rose about 50%.  It is fine if your dough doesn't rise a lot.
  5. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 12 equal portions (around 78g each).  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Please watch the video.
    3. Place place bun onto the prepared baking pan (arrange 3 buns X 4 buns).
  6. Final Proofing:
    1. Let the buns proof at a warm place until the dough rise double in size. This one took approximately almost 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. Set aside.  I used a round nozzle instead.   If you do not have a piping bag just used a clean plastic bag and snip the tip/corner off.  
  8. Sugar Glaze:
    1. Combine both sugar and boiling water in a small bowl, stir until sugar resolve.  Set aside.
  9. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C - 210C (top & bottom heat) or 170C - 190C (fan-forced) for 15 minutes.
    2. Pipe a cross on each bun with the prepared paste.  Please watch the video.
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Please do not over baked as the buns will become dry easily by the next day even though yudane method is used.  Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven. The ceramic pan I used is a poor heat conductor and took me around 25 minutes to fully bake the buns.  
    4. Remove buns from oven and let them cool on rack.  Brush buns with sugar glaze once out from oven.

Yudane Dough &  Sweet Stiff Starter (Please refer here)

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.


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.  Baking times are also highly dependent on the bakeware you used. 


  1. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I will definitely be using your recipe for my hot cross buns this Easter :)

    1. Thank you so much for trusting my recipes. Hope you will like it too.

      Happy Baking :)

  2. Happy Easter!! Your hot cross buns are so soft! 😍 I also made a batch of chocolate ones using your soft chocolate sourdough buns recipe. Also amazing! Thank you so much for sharing!
    I will never need to buy hot cross buns again 😄

  3. Hi, thanks for trying the chocolate sourdough bread recipe and your kind feedback. So glad to heart that you like it. My pleasure to share.

    Cheers and Have a nice day :)


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