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Mastering the Art of Homemade Hot Cross Buns

Mastering the Art of Homemade Hot Cross Buns

It wasn’t that long ago when New Zealand was locked up for Easter during Covid. I’m not sure how (or if) you celebrated Easter that year, but I know a lot of people took to making homemade hot cross buns that year to get the craving under control. And let’s be honest, is there anything more comforting than the smell of freshly baked buns in your home? So, this year, we encourage you to take the time out of your day and make hot cross buns.

To get you started we’ve pulled together the top 5 tips we know on how to make the best hot cross buns at home.

1. Quality Ingredients

This goes without saying, but having quality ingredients means having the best flavour. This doesn’t mean the most expensive, but having fresh ingredients like yeast, flour and spices with make your hot cross buns next-level (we all have that cinnamon spice that’s been in the cupboard for a bit too long).

2. Proper Kneading

Kneading the dough is crucial for developing the gluten, which gives the buns their soft, fluffy texture. You should make sure to knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. The recipe you use will give you an indication of time, but it’s usually around 8-10 minutes by hand or 5-7 minutes if you’re using a stand mixer.

3. Warm environment for rising

Putting your dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment helps the yeast activate properly ensuring a good rise. A good rise means roughly doubling in size. You could use a sunny window or the help of an appliance - the goal is to keep it in a cosy environment

4. Flavorful additions

This can be hit or miss, depending on what type of hot cross buns you want to make, but experiment with additions. Traditional hot cross buns have raisins or currents, but if you want to try new things add chopped nuts, dried fruit or even chocolate chips.

5. Cross symbol
The perfect hot cross bun always has a cross symbol. Using a simple flour and water paste, add the symbol by piping just before baking the buns. The additional decorative touch brings the iconic look together.

If you’re a foodie, you’ve probably heard of the New Zealand Hot Cross Bun competition that is run by Baking New Zealand. While in 2024 Daily Bread was the 3rd winner in a row, we want to see what your hot cross buns look like - send us a photo or let us know how they turn out.

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