Sourdough hot cross buns. Picture: Roger Jardine
Sourdough hot cross buns. Picture: Roger Jardine

RECIPE: How to make the perfect sourdough hot cross bun

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Mar 31, 2021

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It’s that time of the year again when the aroma of freshly baked hot cross buns fills the air when you walk into your favourite supermarket or bakery.

The raisin-and-currant-filled buns are an Easter tradition and thousands of hot cross buns will be sold in the days before Easter and on Good Friday. But what better way to whip up a batch of home-made hot cross buns at home?

Author of the recently published, “A Book About Bread”, Adam Robinson shares his winning recipe for a sourdough hot cross bun you will love. This modern recipe comes from the end of the 18th century.

Makes: 12


The buns

150g raisins soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes

25g dried citrus peel, chopped

450g flour

125g sourdough mother culture

1 tsp salt

3 tsp mixed spice

75g melted butter

80g sugar

1 egg

215g water

Grated zest of 1 lemon


125g milk

115g flour



Mix all the bun ingredients and tip it into a lightly oiled plastic container. Leave for 20 minutes. Do not knead.

When the time is up, return to it and fold it.

To fold the dough you put your well-wetted hands underneath one of the four corners of the dough, lift this corner to stretch it, and deposit your stretched corner onto its opposite side. This should be repeated for the other three corners.

Try to make sure there are no lumps.

Repeat this every 30 minutes three or four times. You will end up with a transformed, sleek, homogenous mass. Cover the dough and put it in the fridge overnight for a long, slow fermentation.

The next morning, fold your dough as above one more time. Tip the dough out on to a floured surface and divide into 90g lumps. Now flour your hands, but not the surface. Roll these lumps between the cupped palms of your hands and the work surface to form a smooth ball.

Lay the balls on to a baking sheet with a 2cm gap between each roll. As they rise, they will touch and this will help keep them soft.

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

When well risen (maybe 2 to 3 hours), mix your cross ingredients and pipe gently on to your well-risen buns.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

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