The Spence's Hot Cross Buns

Posted: Apr 14 2014

Easter can only mean one thing, Hot Cross Buns! Traditionally eaten on Good Friday and marked with a cross, which was supposed to prevent the bread going mouldy, Hot Cross Buns are spiced buns containing sultanas or currants. 


We love a Hot Cross Bun (or two) and are lucky enough to have bakery, and Stoke Newington institution, The Spence, just a few doors down the road from us. They have shared their delicious recipe with us for you to give it a go...
The Spence's Hot Cross Buns
INGREDIENTS (makes 12 buns)
For the buns
480g strong white bread flour
30g fresh yeast
60g demera sugar
Pinch of salt
1tsp cinnamon
2tsp mixed spice
Pinch of ground nutmeg
70g melted butter
125g currants or sultanas (whatever you prefer!)
55g mixed peel
290ml warmed milk
1 large egg, beaten
For the cross
3tbsp plain flour
2tbsp water
For the glaze
3tbsp apricot jam
Pre-heat oven to 220°C / 200°C (fan oven) / 425°F / Gas Mark 7

Shift the flour, salt and spices into a mixing bowl, add the sugar, currants/sultanas and mixed peel, and stir into the flour milk. Warm the milk to ‘hand hot’ temperature and whisk in the yeast and melted butter then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture.

Knead the ingredients together either by hand, or in a food mixer using a dough hook, until well blended and elastic (if the mix looks too dry, add a little more warm milk or water). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a smooth ball.

Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave the bowl in a warm place, and allow the dough to rise for about an hour (it should double in size).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock/knead it back to roughly it’s original size. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and shape them into round buns. Arrange the buns on parchment lined baking trays, allowing enough room between the buns to allow them to expand. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to prove for about 40 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 220°C / 200°C (fan oven) / 425°F / Gas Mark 7

Make the paste for the crosses by mixing the flour with water, a tablespoon at a time so you end up with a thick but squeezable paste. Spoon the mixture into a piping ban with a small nozzle, and gently pipe lines across the rows of buns to form crosses. Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Gently heat the apricot jam until it melts, then brush onto the warm buns with a pastry brush to give a nice, shiny glaze


The Spence, 161 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 0UH / @spencebakery