Easter isn’t complete until you’ve eaten a butter-slathered, warm-from-the-oven hot cross bun. So why not make your own this year?

You can get most ingredients delivered to your doorstep from amazon.com.au. The entire process stretches over three to four hours, with much of it spent leaving the dough to proof and rise so you end up with light, fluffy buns.

It’s a lovely Saturday afternoon family activity—and the results are a delicious way to usher in Easter Sunday morning.

Hot cross buns recipe

Makes 15


300ml full cream milk
50g unsalted butter
500g strong bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
75g fine sugar
7g fast action or instant yeast
1 egg, beaten
75g sultanas or raisins
50 mixed peel
Zest of 1 orange or lemon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
75g plain flour
4 tbsp apricot jam

Step-by-step method

1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the milk to a boil. Remove pan from the heat and add butter.

2. Allow this mixture to cool to 37°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, test by placing your finger in the liquid as it cools. It should feel the same temperature as your hand.

3. In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Create a well in the middle and pour in the warm milk mixture and beaten egg.

4. Use a wooden spoon to bring everything together, mixing well.

5. Knead with your hands till you have a sticky dough.

6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface or to a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Knead dough till it feels smooth and elastic (about 8 to 10 minutes in the stand mixer or about 20 to 30 minutes by hand).

7. Pinch off a golf ball-size piece of dough. Flatten between your fingers and then pull gently on its opposite ends to stretch out the middle. If the dough stretches thin enough that you can see light through it (this is known as a windowpane), your dough is ready. If it breaks before the windowpane appears, keep kneading and perform this test again till you see the windowpane.

8. Transfer dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm, draft-free space till it doubles in size. This could take anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the temperature of your room.

9. Tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange or lemon zest, cinnamon and mixed spice. Knead into the dough till everything is evenly distributed. Leave the dough to rise in the bowl again, covered in cling film, till double its size.

10. In the meantime, line a large baking tray with baking parchment.

11. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 15 even pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Transfer each bun to the lined baking trays, leaving enough space between each for the dough to expand.

12. Cover the buns lightly with a damp tea towel or a sheet of lightly oiled cling film.

13. Set the tray in a warm, draft-free area to proof for 1 hour or until they almost double in size.

14. Preheat oven to 190°C. To make the flour paste for the crosses, mix the plain flour with just enough water to yield a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small round nozzle and pipe crosses onto each bun.

15. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes on the middle shelf, or until golden brown.

16. Gently melt the apricot jam in a small pan over low heat, then sieve the jam to remove any chunks of fruit.

17. While the buns and jam are still warm, brush the jam over the surface of the buns. Leave to cool.

Annette Tan is a veteran food writer, and a Miele chef and baker.

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