RECIPE: spelt hot cross buns

Something different......

I am sharing here my own recipe - I like to cobble-together my own recipes from looking at lots of others. (This works, some of the time!) Whilst I am not an expert baker, at all, I enjoy bread making and the challenge of using different flours. Spelt is a flour that my family and I enjoy eating. It has a slightly nutty taste and is just as tasty as wholemeal, whilst also being high in fibre. You don't have to use spelt -I think this recipe should work with wholemeal or white bread making flours and I may experiment with this.

Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday and during the Easter period. I have good memories of my late father going to the baker's shop before dawn to buy a few dozen freshly baked buns. The bun recipe here does not replicate the traditional white bun but offers a hearty, satisfying alternative.

This makes six large hot cross buns

(This is a vegetarian recipe - if you want to try a vegan version, you could try using alternatives to the milk and butter.)

For dough
300 grams spelt flour (plus extra for kneading)
I teaspoon of dry fast action yeast
2 teaspoons of caster sugar
1 level teaspoon of nutmeg
1 level teaspoon of cinnamon
100 grams of raisins (or your dried fruit of choice: eg, sultanas, currants, or mix of)
a tablespoon of orange juice (or lemon and orange, or your choice)
pinch of salt
50 grams of butter
100 ml milk

for the cross decoration: a few tablespoons of white flour and cold water

2 teaspoons of sugar and a few tablespoons of boiled water to make a glaze


put the dried fruit in a bowl and sprinkle with the orange juice - put to one side

Mix the flour, yeast, salt, spices in a large bowl.

Melt the butter (I melt it in a jug in the microwave, then add the milk and heat a little more). Warm the milk so that is is just tepid hot. Combine the butter and milk. Add the sugar and stir until sugar has melted. Pour this mixture into your flour mix and stir with a knife roughly. You may want to add the liquid a little at a time and stop if you see the flour getting too wet.

Transfer the dough on to a kneading surface with extra flour for kneading. If your mixture is a bit wet, just add more flour, knead for a few minutes until you have a smooth dough then pull the dough apart a little and add the dried fruit with orange juice. Knead the fruit into the dough - if it gets too sticky add a little more flour.

Transfer your dough into an oiled bowl and cover. Put in a warm place (eg a warm kitchen, near a radiator) for about one to two hours until the dough has doubled in size.

Whilst you are waiting for the dough to rise you can make the simple pastry for the cross decoration. Simply mix flour and water, knead a bit and put in the fridge for a while. When you need it, roll out the pastry thinly and cut into strips.

Once the dough has risen, transfer back on to a kneading surface and knead a little, then divide into six and shape into round buns. Place the buns into an appropriate baking dish or on a baking tray. Now make a simple sugar and water glaze. With a pastry brush wet each bun with glaze, then add cross decorations to each.

Bake in a hot oven (190C) (adjust for fan assisted) for 25-30 minutes - check to see if they are baked enough after about 25.

Leave to cool. This recipe makes a 'bread-y' rather than 'cake-y' hot cross bun and they are best cut in half and eaten with butter - you might like to toast or not.

Enjoy your Easter weekend.


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