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Hot Cross Buns

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Total Time 3 hours
Yield 24 buns

Culinate recipe editor’s note: This recipe is from Celebration Breads. I’ve altered it slightly to reflect my own preferences for orange (over lemon) and clove (instead of ginger and pepper). And while Betsy Oppenneer, the author of Celebration Breads, gives directions for making the dough by hand, mixer, food processor, and bread machine, I’m including only the directions for making it by hand.

Oppenneer writes, “The dough for these spiced buns is slightly firmer than most when the buns are baked. Many bakers use candied peel or strips of pastry to emphasize the cross, but I prefer filling the slit with a light icing after baking.”



1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
¾ cup milk
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
4½ to 5½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup currants
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest


2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. sugar


1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 to 3 Tbsp. heavy cream


  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast in the water. Heat the milk to 110 degrees and add it to the yeast along with the butter, brown sugar, and eggs.
  2. Whisk together the salt, ground spices, and 2 cups of flour, and add it to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the currants and orange zest, and stir to combine. Gradually add the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. First rise: Put the dough in an oiled ceramic bowl and turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  6. Shape: Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 24 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and arrange on two well-greased 9-inch-by-12-inch baking pans. (This makes for buns that meld together into little squares; if you prefer separate, dome-shaped buns, spread the dough out on large baking sheets.)
  7. Second rise: Cover the baking pans with towels and let rise for 45 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees if your pans are glass) about 10 minutes before baking.
  9. Just before baking, cut a cross about ¼-inch deep in the top of each bun with a sharp or serrated knife. For the topping, combine the milk and sugar and brush the top of each bun.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the buns reaches 190 degrees (use an instant-read thermometer). Remove the buns from the oven and let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes.
  11. In a measuring cup with a pouring lip, mix the confectioners’ sugar with the lemon juice and enough heavy cream to reach the consistency of honey. Drizzle the icing into the slits to form a cross on top of each bun.


Read Carrie Floyd’s review of Celebration Breads.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

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