A classic Easter hot cross bun recipe

A delicious recipe, courtesy of GAIL’S Bakery, for you to enjoy traditional homemade, toasted and buttered hot cross buns over the Easter weekend

Traditionally an Easter treat, eaten toasted and buttered during Lent, hot cross buns have been enjoyed for centuries, though their consumption was apparently restricted in the Elizabethan era. Thankfully, now we’re free to eat as many as we please, so here’s a delectable recipe from GAIL’s Bakery to try out over the Easter weekend.


The buns
20g (0.7oz) fresh yeast
200ml (6.5 fl oz) whole milk, plus 1 tbsp for yeast mixture and 1 tsp for egg wash
70g (2.5oz) caster sugar, plus 1 tsp for the yeast mixture
400g (14oz) plain flour
Half tsp each of ground cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg and salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1 large egg
70g (2.5oz) soft unsalted butter cut into cubes
40g (1.5oz) each of sultanas, dry currants and dried cranberries
70g (2.5oz) mixed peel

Cross Topping
200g (7oz) plain flour
230g (8oz) icing sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp milk


Melt the yeast with a tbsp of whole milk and a tsp of caster sugar until dissolved and leave for 15 minutes. In a bowl, sieve the flour and spices, add to the yeast mixture. Add the rest of the milk, the sugar and egg. Bind using your hands, adding the butter a chunk at a time until you have a smooth, shiny dough. Add salt and fruits. Cover and leave to rise for 1.5 hours. On a floured surface, roll the dough into bun shapes. Arrange on a baking tray, leave to rise. When ready, make an egg wash by whisking 1 whole egg, 1 yolk and a tsp of milk, brush the buns and leave to dry. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Whisk all the cross topping ingredients into a smooth paste, then spread this in thin crosses on top of the buns. Bake until golden.