A Recipe for a Hot Cross Bun Loaf

Hot cross buns are the quintessential Easter bake.

At KNEAD Bakery they only produce them for one month over the Easter period. But we won’t blame you if these become a year-round bake in your home. Simply by not adding the cross, they become the most sensational little tea buns. Even if they are a few days old, you can slice them open, toast them and enjoy with some farmhouse butter, followed by a nap.

We are pleased to be able to share this delicious Loaf recipe from Kris Biggs, Pastry Chef and Baker at KNEAD Bakery.

KNEAD Bakery Hot Cross Bun Loaf served on a John Julian Cake Stand

For the loaf

  • 250 g (9 oz/scant 2 cups) strong white (bread) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 g (½ teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 40 g (3¼ tablespoons) caster sugar
  • 30 g (1 oz) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
  • 8 g (1½ teaspoons) fresh yeast or 4 g (1¼ teaspoons) dried active yeast
  • 140 g (generous ½ cup) full-fat (whole) milk
  • 40 g (1½ oz/⅓ cup) sultanas
  • 25 g (¾ oz/3 tablespoons) mixed peel (candied peel)
  • 2 g (1 teaspoon) mixed spice
  • 3 g (1½ teaspoons) ground nutmeg

For the cross mixture

  • 100 g (3½ oz/¾ cup) Strong white (bread) flour
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 120 g (½ cup) water

For the glaze

  • 100 g (3½ oz/½ cup) soft light brown sugar
  • 20 g (1½ tablespoons) lemon juice
  • 80 g (1 cup) water

Loaf Method

  • Place the flour, salt, sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter to a sandy consistency.
  • Mix the yeast and milk together until the yeast has dissolved, then add to the mixing bowl.
  • Use your hand or a dough scraper to bring the ingredients together into a rough dough, ensuring it is well mixed and there are no pockets of flour or butter.
  • Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead. Hold onto the dough with one hand and use the other hand to stretch and fold for around 5 minutes until the dough is nice and smooth.
  • Stretch the dough into a pizza shape and pile the dried fruits and spices in the middle.
  • Fold the dough over to cover the fruit, then gently start to roll and fold the dough until the fruits and spices are evenly distributed.
  • Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth, a plate or a shower cap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a loaf shape.
  • This recipe will be suited for a 1lb traditional farmhouse loaf tin.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and leave at room temperature for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  • While the loaf is proving, make the cross mixture and glaze.

Cross Mixture & Glaze Method

  • For the cross mixture, mix together the flour, salt and water until you have a smooth paste, then transfer to a piping bag with a 4-mm (¼-in) plain nozzle.
  • For the glaze, combine the sugar, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (400°F/gas 6).
  • Once the loaf has proved, pipe a cross on the top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. After 2 minutes, brush with the glaze.