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Gelf's winning Hot Cross Buns

This is the recipe that our Executive Head Chef used for his Hot Cross Buns in the River Cottage team challenge.


Method for the dough:

Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt together

Melt the butter on the stove but don’t get too hot and add to the dough, do not mix at this point, place the milk and zest in a saucepan and heat until blood temperature, add this to the flour and then the beaten egg, mix until a sticky dough forms.

Turn out onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes (time yourself because time slows down when kneading dough)

Once kneaded place in a bowl and allow to prove for 1 and a half hours

Whilst the dough is proving prepare the dried fruit, add the spices, lemon and orange zest and juice, mix and cover and leave for at least 1 hour


Once the dough has proved pour over the soaked fruit, gently combine in the bowl, eventually turn onto the work surface and work until the rest of the fruit is combined, once combined return to the bowl and allow to prove for a further 1 hour.


Once the second prove is over split the dough into 130g balls with any leftover being spread between the balls

Round the balls and place evenly on a couple of lined baking trays, cover and allow to prove for a further 45 minutes

Crossing mixture

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth, once smooth place in a piping bag with a small end snipped off

Crossing the buns

Once the buns have proved uncover and pipe a cross on top of each one, place in an oven preheated to 210 degrees Celsius cook until well browned approx. 15 mins they may need a turn halfway through

The glaze

Place the water and sugar into a pan, bring to boil and cook until a loose syrup is formed

Glazing the buns

Once the buns are cooked remove from the oven place on a wire rack and brush with the glaze

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Ingredients for the dough

540g Strong bread flour

1 whole egg beaten

50g good butter

70g golden caster sugar

pinch of salt

8g fast action dried yeast

330g slightly warmed milk

zest of one orange

Ingredients for the fruit

200g mixed dried sultanas

1 tsp ground ginger

1tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice

Zest and juice of 1 orange and one lemon.

Crossing mixture

100g flour

100g water

pinch of salt

pinch of baking powder.


100g water

100g golden caster sugar