X is for Hot X Buns

I've almost made my way through the alphabet for my A-Z baking challenge. X was proving to be a bit of a challenge, I couldn't for the life of me think of what to make. Then with Easter approaching, my husband suggested I put a spin on things and make Hot X Buns. It ticks off the letter X and we get to enjoy some fresh, hot cross buns. Nothing beats home made.

I've tried my hand at hot cross buns once before with no luck. From memory, they turned out quite small & hard. The recipe I have used today is from www.taste.com.au. I liked that it was relatively straightforward & had currants as I'm not a huge fan of sultanas, peel & all the other embellishments that seem to appear in hot cross buns days.  That said, there is nothing stopping you from adapting this recipe depending on your tastes - chocolate hot x buns seem popular these days, so why not try adding some cocoa & instead of currants, put in some chocolate chips? Or if you're like me & not a fan of dried fruit, leave the currants out. Orange peel is another one you could add, or even grated apple. Why not play around with a few different combinations.

I think when trying any recipe for the first time, it's a good idea to stick to it without making any changes. Then if the recipe is a keeper, you can use it as a base for trying different flavours & additions. 

The only thing I would change about this recipe is the quantity of spice. I couldn't taste much spice in the buns, so I would add in 2 teaspoons of all spice next time & see if that works.

Lets move on to the recipe.

These take a fair bit of time to make. Around 2 - 2.5 hours for prep & proving before you bake them for 20-25 mins. So plan ahead if you want these to be ready for afty tea!

Makes 12.


For the buns

4 cups plain flour
2 x 7g sachets of dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice (I used 'all spice' which I think is either the same or similar. If you like the taste of spice, try adding 2 teaspoons or even 2.5 if you feel brave.)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups currants
40 grams butter
300 ml milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Flour paste (to pipe the X on top)

1/2 cup plain flour
5 tablespoons of water (give or take, try adding 4 for a start & see where that gets you).


1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons caster sugar

What to do

  1. Mix flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice, salt & currants in a large bowl. Be careful to separate the yeast from the salt - I usually place salt, yeast & sugar in separate corners of the bowl.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, then add milk & stir. Heat gently for a minute or so, then remove from heat.
  3. Lightly beat two eggs in a separate bowl, then add to the dry mixture.
  4. Add the melted butter & milk to the dry ingredients - then using a flat-blade knife (I used a bread & butter knife) mix everything until almost combined. For the last bit, get in there with your hands & give everything a quick knead to combine the last bits of flour. Be sure to clean the bowl with the dough so that you get everything from the bottom & sides.
  5. Lightly dust your work bench with flour, then turn the dough out. Set the bowl aside to use later.
  6. Now it's time for a work out! Knead the dough for 10 minutes - keep an eye on the time so you don't over knead it. After 10 minutes the dough should be smooth. Keep adding a little sprinkle of flour here & there to the bench so the dough doesn't stick - but don't overdo it. You don't want to incorporate too much flour.
  7. Tip some oil into the bowl you used to mix the dough, then rub it all around the bottom & sides so it's well greased. Place the dough back in, cover the bowl with cling film & then leave it somewhere warm for 1-1.5 hours until the dough has doubled in size (remember to put a timer on so you don't lose track of time, as there is such a thing as over-proving dough). Somewhere sunny, away from draughts would be ideal - or do what I did, pop the oven on the absolute lowest temperature possible and place the dough inside to prove. For those of you with a hot water cylinder cupboard - this is an ideal place to prove dough.

  8. Grab two baking trays, give them a quick spray with baking spray & then line the tops of each with non-stick baking paper.
  9. Grab your bowl with the dough, remove the cling film & punch the dough down to push the air out of it & return it to its original size. Sprinkle a little more flour on your workbench, tip the dough out & then knead lightly for 30 seconds.
  10. Divide the dough into twelve pieces - I weighed mine at about 120 grams each (you want twelve in total).
  11. Shape each piece into a ball, then place them on your baking trays - making sure to leave a gap of around 1cm in between. Cover the buns with more cling film, then return to the warm place to prove for a further 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  12. Pre-heat your oven to 190C static or 170C fan bake.
  13. Next, whip up the flour paste by mixing the flour & water together until you have a pipe-able consistency (like you would with icing). Grab a piping bag or snap-lock bag & cut a corner off (only make a small snip, so you don't have too much paste flowing out when you go to pipe it on).
  14. Rescue the buns from their warm hiding place & then spoon the paste into your piping bag & pipe an 'x' onto each bun.
  15. It's finally time to bake them! Place the buns in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown. 
  16. While the buns are cooking, make the glaze by mixing water & sugar in a small saucepan & heating over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  17. Remove the buns from the oven & brush with the glaze while they are still warm.
  18. Now, this next step is very important: enjoy a bun straight from the oven with butter or marg. Even better, boil the jug & make yourself a cuppa to enjoy it with as a reward for your hard work!

Enjoy xx

Follow this link to see the original recipe: www.taste.com.au hot cross buns


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