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Side on shot super soft hot cross buns

Soft Hot Cross Buns

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 116 reviews
  • Author: Erin Clarkson
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: 9 buns 1x
  • Category: Baking
  • Method: Bread
  • Cuisine: New Zealand


These Hot Cross Buns are super soft. The dough is perfectly spiced and filled with fruit and is incredibly soft thanks to the Tangzhong method. They are finished with a traditional roux cross which is piped on before the Hot Cross Buns go into the oven.

Please read through the entire recipe before starting.




  • 20g Bread Flour
  • 90g Whole Milk 

Soaked Fruit 

  • 100g raisins or sultanas
  • 25g dried currants
  • 200g hot strongly brewed Earl Grey Tea 

Hot Cross Bun Dough 

  • All of the Tangzhong
  • 130g whole milk
  • 60g light or dark brown sugar
  • 275g bread flour
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 15g milk powder 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • a few turns of black pepper (optional)
  • 30g unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Crosses

  • 40g All-purpose or bread flour
  • 40g water

Sugar Syrup

  • 30g water
  • 25g Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • tiny pinch of salt



  1. Place the Bread Flour and milk in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and forms a thick paste - this should take 2-3 minutes from start to finish. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and place a piece of plastic wrap over the top to prevent a skin forming. Cool to room temperature. I like to soak my fruit while this is cooling. 


  1. Place the raisins and currants in a medium bowl and cover with the tea. Leave to stand for 30 minutes then drain well. I like to drain the fruit while I am mixing my dough.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap from the Tangzhong or transfer it into the bowl of the mixer if it was not already. Add all the remaining dough ingredients except for the butter and the drained fruit.
  3. Fit the mixer with the dough hook, and mix on medium to high speed for 10-12 minutes. The dough will look super sticky and like it will not come together - trust me here. It will. Don't freak out. Set a timer and walk away from the mixer if you need to. 
  4. Mix the dough until it is soft and smooth, and is clearing the sides of the bowl. This takes me about 12 minutes but may take you more or less time depending on your mixer. Go by how the dough is looking rather than the time. Add the butter and mix on medium for a further 3-5 minutes until incorporated. 
  5. Turn the dough out onto an unfloured surface and lightly press into a rectangle. Add the drained fruit on top of the dough and fold it up to incorporate. Knead the dough with the help of a bench scraper until the fruit is evenly incorporated. It will be weird and squishy at the start but it all incorporates eventually promise. Use a little flour if needed to shape the dough into a ball, then place into a lightly oiled or buttered bowl. 
  6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot to rise until approximately doubled in size. This should take anywhere from 2-3 hours. It won't get super puffy. You can do this in a clear sided container if you need and mark where the dough line is when you start the rise so you can measure easily. 
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Weigh the dough, then divide into 9 equal pieces. Shape each into a tight ball, then place the balls of dough under a piece of lightly greased plastic wrap and leave to rest for 10 minutes. While the dough is resting, grease and line a 9" (23cm) baking pan with parchment paper. 
  8. Re-shape each ball of dough into a tight ball (using a little flour helps tuck all the fruit inside the ball), and place each into the prepared baking pan. 
  9. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot for 1-2 hours until the buns are puffy and when pressed lightly with a finger, leaves a small indentation that starts to spring back.
  10. Toward the end of the rising process, preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. 
  11. Prepare the cross mixture by combining the flour and water and mix until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag and clip the end up. 
  12. Snip the tip off the piping bag and pipe crosses onto the tops of the buns (do all the vertical lines first then horizontal. Do one continuous line rather than individual crosses). You can practice the pressure you need to get the size of the line you want on a piece of parchment paper first if needed. 
  13. Bake the buns for about 30 minutes until golden brown, and registering 190°f / 90°c internal temperature (make sure you test in a few places so your thermometer isn't accidentally in a raisin!)
  14. Toward the end of the baking process, make the sugar syrup. Brush the buns with the syrup as soon as they come out of the oven. 
  15. Leave the buns to cool slightly then serve warm or at room temperature with butter. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temp, and briefly refresh in the microwave or oven before eating - they are amazing toasted.


  1. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, then leave to stand until ready to use.


The dough is sticky. Don't freak out. If you really really feel like it isn't coming together and is just a big sticky mess, you can add extra flour just a teaspoon or so at a time. Sometimes different bread flours absorb a different amount of flour. Usually I wouldn't recommend adding more flour, but with a sticky dough like this, it's ok to just add a tiny bit to help to bring it together. 

It will feel like the fruit is too wet and won't incorporate. Just be patient and use a bench scraper to help you. Don't worry. It will all be fine.