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Hot cross buns

Daniel Tapper

A proper Easter treat, created from scratch with a poolish starter

Recipe Meta


10 mins (plus soaking & proving)


15-20 mins






For the ‘poolish’ (starter)

  • 2g fresh yeast
  • 50g white spelt flour
  • 65g mixed peel
  • 65g sultanas
  • 65g currants
  • Rum or dark beer, to cover

For the buns

  • 280g flour
  • 130ml water at room temperature
  • 80g white spelt flour
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 40ml milk
  • 1 free range egg (beaten)
  • 85g butter (grated)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5g ground ginger
  • 4g ground cinnamon
  • 2g ground nutmeg
  • 1g ground clove
  • 1g ground star anise

For the topping

  • 80g white spelt flour, for the cross
  • 2 tbsp honey, for the glazing


In advance, make the starter by mixing 50ml room temperature water with the yeast in a small cup, then stir-through the flour until fully combined. Cover with clingfilm and leave for 2 hours at room temperature. Place all the fruit in a bowl and cover with rum or dark beer. Leave for 2 hours.

Place all the bun mixture ingredients, along with the poolish, into a bowl. Work into a dough and knead for 10 mins, until soft and smooth. Leave the dough in a lightly greased bowl, covered with clingfilm, for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

Add the fruit mixture to the dough and knead until all the fruit is well distributed. Leave for 1 hour, again covered with clingfilm.

Divide the dough into 10 equal-sized pieces (about 80g per portion). Roll each piece into a small, smooth ball and arrange on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, leaving enough space for the dough to expand.

Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature, ideally 24C. Place the buns in the oven for 30 mins, remove then set the temperature to 200C.

Meanwhile, create the cross mixture by combining the flour with 100ml water. Place the paste in a piping bag and pipe a line along each row of buns. Repeat in the other direction to create crosses. Bake at 200C for 15-20 mins, until golden brown.

Melt the honey in a pan and use this to brush the buns with, while they’re still warm. Set the buns aside and leave to cool on a rack.