For my family, I bake Fruitless Hot Cross Buns. And this is for two reasons.
The first is my children and husband; they are not fans of the traditional sultanas and currants in the buns.
Secondly, making a fruitless dough mix opens up to a world of creating so many different types of hot cross buns. And one of these I will be sharing with you soon.
Although I can purchase fruitless hot cross buns at my local supermarket, I love being able to make them at home, all year round.
And they taste fantastic straight out of the oven with melted butter in the middle.
About Hot Cross Buns.
Hot cross buns originated from the United Kingdom. Other counties such as Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and even some parts of Canada and the United States also have them.
They are a spiced, sweet bun and are well known for the cross that is on the top. And are traditionally eaten on Good Friday.
There is an excellent article from Kitchn called “Here’s Why We Eat Hot Cross Buns at Easter” if you would like some more information.
How to make fruitless hot cross buns at home.
This recipe is super easy to make, and even though I use a stand mixer to help with the dough kneading, you can do it by hand.
To make fruitless hot cross buns, you will need the following ingredients:
Add the milk and butter to a small saucepan, and melt the butter slowly over low heat. Once the butter is fully melted, put it aside to cool.
If you are using yeast, it will need to be activated. You can do this by adding the yeast into the melted butter and milk and mix through.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, sift in the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Sifting these altogether allows the flour and spices to be evenly distributed through the mixture.
Add the brown sugar, yeast (if using the instant dried yeast), and salt to the bowl and stir through with a spoon or low speed of your mixer.
If you are using the instant yeast, make sure the salt and the yeast are not next to each other in the bowl before mixing.
Whisk the egg and along with the milk and melted butter, add to the dry ingredients and mix through, using your hands, a wooden spoon, or at the slow speed of your stand mixer.
Once just combined, you can begin to knead.
If you kneading by hand from the start, turn your dough on to a slightly floured surface and kneed for about 10 minutes or until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands any more.
If you will be using your stand mixer to knead, knead your dough for about five minutes at a medium-high speed.
Your dough will still be quite sticky as this is more of a wet dough used to make fruitless hot cross buns.
After five minutes, use your hands or a spatula to scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
With the extra ¼ cup of extra flour, slowly add small amounts and knead it through using the palm of your hand. Do this until the dough is still wet but does not stick to your hands when you touch it.
Your dough should be shiny and springy. Meaning there should be a slight shine to the dough, and if you slightly press your fingers on the dough, it should slowly spring back into place.
Coat a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with cling wrap and a dry towel. Then let the dough rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
If you make the fruitless hot cross buns in a cold environment, create a warm area for the dough to prove.
You can do this by placing the bowl in a warm oven. To warm your oven, preheat your oven at 150°c or 300°f and let it warm up while you are preparing your dough mixture. Then turn it off and place the bowl inside the oven to prove.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pre-heat your oven to 200°c or 390°f.
Roll the dough into a long roll, and using a knife or cake scraper, cut your dough into 12 equal parts. Or weigh out your dough and separate it into equal portions. Mine is usually around 83g or 2.9 oz for each bun
Grease a rectangle baking dish with melted butter.
Create a ball out of each portion of the dough and place them in the pan. The buns need to be placed in a three by four formation and as close as possible.
If your baking pan is like mine and too long, you can use aluminum foil to create a false end. You can do this by folding some foil into a long flat piece and stand it up at the end of where your buns finish. Be sure to grease this also, so the buns do not stick to the foil.
Then create some foil balls big enough to hold the foil side up between the buns and the end of your baking pan.
It will keep the false side from moving and staying upright during the proving and baking process.
Loosely cover the dough with cling wrap and cover with a towel. Again place in a warm area and let the dough prove for another hour or until doubled in size and the buns are touching each other.
When you have about 10 minutes to go of the proving process, it is time to prepare the eggs to baste and make the flour paste to go on top for the crosses.
To make the four paste you will need:
And you will need one egg yolk to baste the buns.
Separate your egg yolks from your whites and whisk the yolks till it is nice a smooth.
With a pastry brush, lightly baste the tops of the buns with the egg yolk.
Add the flour to a small bowl and slowly add the cold water. Mix well until you have a smooth paste. Keep adding small amounts of water and mix well after each addition until you have a thick paste.
Add the paste into a piping or ziplock bag and cut the end off. You only need a small hole at the end, so be careful not to cut too high.
Test the piping’s size on some paper towel or baking paper to see if you are happy with the size of the piped lines.
If too small, cut a little more off the end of the bag and re-test.
Once the proving process has finished, baste the buns with the egg yolks. Then pipe the flour paste over each row of the buns’ center. Try to do one long constant line.
Then pipe in the opposite direction, creating a cross over the top of your dough.
Then place the buns in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Baking time may vary depending on your oven.
Once your fruitless hot cross buns are ready, turn them out onto a cooling rack. Place some paper towel or baking paper underneath the cooking rack.
Now it’s time to make the glaze. For this you will need:
Granulated or castor sugar
Add the water, sugar and gelatine to a small saucepan and mix well over low heat.
Once the sugar and gelatine have dissolved, remove from the heat and spread over the top of the buns.
Let this sit for about five minutes, and then your fruitless hot cross buns are ready to eat.
You can serve these while they are hot if you like; they are fantastic cut open with butter spread in the middle.
Or eat cold with butter and jam. I am also a fan of toasting these in the griller and then spreading butter over them.
Can fruit be added to this recipe?
Yes, if you want raisins, currents, and dried peels added to the fruitless hot cross buns, you can easily add them during the kneading process.
Once the dough is on the floured surface, sprinkle the fruit onto the dough. As you knead, it will work the fruit into the dough evenly.
Can I use my stand mixer for the whole kneading process?
Suppose you do not want to use your hands to knead at all. You can use your stand mixer to do the full kneading process.
I find that using the stand mixer for at least the first five minutes and then kneading by hand for the next few minutes helps to avoid over kneading the dough, resulting in soft fluffy buns.
However, if you will use your stand mixer to do the whole process, after the first five minutes, reduce the speed to low and slowly add the extra flour.
Continue kneading on low until the flour is well incorporated, and the dough is no longer sticking to the bowl.
Be careful not to over kneed as this will result in dense buns, as the gluten in the flour has been activated too much.
If you are adding fruit, you can add that during this part also.
Fruitless Hot Cross Buns
- 1 ⅓ cup Whole Milk
- 60 g Unsalted Butter softerned
- 2 tsp Instant Dried Yeast or dried yeast
- 500 g All-purpose Flour
- ¼ cup All-purpose Flour extra
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Mixed Spice
- 2 ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- 1 Large Egg
Egg Baste and Four Paste
- 1 Egg Yolk whisked
- ⅓ cup All-purpose Flour
- ¼ cup Cold Water
- 1 tbsp Baker's Sugar or Castor Sugar
- 1 tsp Powdered Gelatine
- 2 tbsp Cold Water
- In a small saucepan add the milk and butter, and cook over low heat until butter is melt. Put aside to cool slightly.
- Sift the 500 g of flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl
- Add the brown sugar, salt, and instant yeast then mix with a wooden spoon to combine.
- Add the milk and melted butter. Whisk the egg and add to the mixture, and mix until well combined.
- Once combined, using the dough hook, turn your stand mixer onto a medium-high speed and kneed for 5 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Slowly add the extra ¼ cup of flour, a little at a time, and knead lightly until flour is incorporated. Continue to do this till the dough is no longer sticky.
- Grease a ball with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl, cover with cling wrap and a towel, and place in a warm area to prove for one hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C or 390°F
- Remove the dough and roll out into a long roll. Cut into 12 equal parts. Create a ball out of each potion and place it in a well-greased rectangle baking pan. Cover loosely with cling wrap and a towel and let it prove for one hour or until buns have doubled in size.
Baste and Flour Paste
- Separate the egg yolk from the whites and whisk the yolk until smooth.
- Baste the top of the buns with the egg yolk.
- In a small bowl add the flour and slowly add the water, mix well until all lumps are gone and the mixture is thick enough to pipe, but not runny. If the paste is too thick and some more water, if the paste is too runny add more flour.
- Place a ziplock or piping bag to a tall glass, and pour in the paste. Cut the end create a small hole and pipe over the buns to create a cross.
- Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cooking times may vary depending on your oven.
- Once cooked turn out the buns onto a cooling rack.
- In a small saucepan, add the baker's sugar, gelatine, and water. Cook on low heat until the sugar and gelatine have dissolved.
- Using a basting brush, spread the glaze over the top of the buns, and let it sit for about five minutes.