Notts baking experts share how to make scrumptious hot cross buns for Easter

The hot cross buns.
The hot cross buns.

Easter wouldn’t be Easter without delicious hot cross buns. So an artisan food school in Nottinghamshire has shared a recipe for its indulgent apple, honey and sultana hot cross buns to inspire everyone to get baking with friends and family at home over the bank holiday.

Julie Byrne, from The School of Artisan Food in Welbeck said: “Easter is a traditional time for people to get together with friends and family so why not take the opportunity to have some fun baking hot cross buns together at home. Here at the school, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to understand food provenance, be adventurous about what they eat and to be confident and creative around food.”

Julie Byrne, fromThe School of Artisan Food

Julie Byrne, fromThe School of Artisan Food

Apple, Honey and Sultana Hot Cross Buns

Makes 16 buns


For the decorative dried apples:
150g dried apples

Head baker Wayne Caddy.

Head baker Wayne Caddy.

For milk sponge:
150g bread flour
1g fresh yeast
150g milk

For crossing paste:
30g bread flour
30g water
5g vegetable oil
0.5g baking powder

For dough:
350g bread flour
25g fresh yeast
5g salt
75g butter
75g honey
150g water
40g egg, beaten
300g milk sponge
12g fresh orange zest
12g fresh lemon zest
150g sultanas
12g mixed spice

Honey for glazing

Method – make in advance

Dried apples:
Slice apples into 3mm thick slices. Place on a lined baking tray and bake at 80°c for 3-5 hours with the door slightly open. Dry until slightly leathery.

Milk sponge:
In a pan, gently warm the milk then stir in the fresh yeast before adding the bread flour. Mix by hand with a wooden spoon until evenly mixed. Cover and leave overnight (or least 12 hours) in an ambient temperature.

Crossing paste:
This can be made in advance or on the day. Sieve the flour into a bowl and add water, veg oil and whisk until smooth and shiny. Place into a polythene piping bag and use when required.

Method – on the day

By hand or using a spiral mixer, mix together the milk sponge, bread flour, fresh yeast, salt, water, and egg. Mix in the butter and honey, then add the fruit and mixed spice making sure everything is evenly mixed. The dough should be soft to touch.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled container, cover with cling film and leave to ferment for approximately 60-90 minutes or until the volume has doubled.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 even amounts of dough. Shape each one by hand into a bun. Place buns close together on a lined baking tray in groups of 4. You may wish to use two baking trays. Leave to prove at approximately 30°C for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 230°C.

Take your pre-filled piping bag and snip a small opening. Pipe the crossing paste over the buns. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

When baked, glaze the buns with honey. You can loosen the honey with a little hot water if it is too thick. Place 2 or 3 dried apple slices on top of each bun.