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Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns for Easter |


Hot cross buns are traditionally served at Easter, but they’re also a Sunday-morning favorite in our house. If you’re still looking for inspiration for a Mother’s Day morning treat, these sourdough hot cross buns are sure to be a hit!

Using the weight measures listed provides the most consistent results, but if you don’t have a scale available, I’ve provided volume estimates as well.


500 g (~ 2 cups) sourdough starter
1.125 kg (2 1/2 lb or ~7 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour + extra for kneading
zest of 2 large oranges
zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 eggs
1/4 cup raw honey
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (currants, dried cherries, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped apricots, dried figs, etc) - soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
50 g (~4 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

Flour, water, and olive oil for the crosses
Honey for glazing
juice of 1 orange for glazing


  1. Place the sourdough starter, flour, zests, sugar, and spices in a large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer. Lightly beat the eggs with the raw honey, milk and water, then add to the sourdough/flour mixture. Mix until completely combined and a very sticky dough has formed. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Mix in the fruit and the salt. The dough will be a rather wet dough, but resist the urge to add more flour. Knead until the dough begins to look smooth and shiny, about 20 minutes by hand or 10 minutes with the mixer.
  3. Add in the cubes of butter, one at a time. The kneading action will incorporate it and create a gorgeous, rich dough. Knead until all the butter is fully incorporated, once again resisting the urge to add more flour. The final dough should be very soft, but not at all sticky.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it sit for 1 hour. After an hour, punch it down gently by folding it over on itself a number of times on a floured board, then place it back in the bowl to rise another hour.
  5. Divide dough into 24 pieces and shape each into a small roll. Place rolls in a buttered 9×13 baking dish, close but not quite touching. Leave at room temperature until doubled, about 2-4 hours.
  6. Mix the flour, water, and olive oil together to form a fairly stiff paste. Use a piping bag to pipe crossed across the top of each bun. Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20-30 minutes until the rolls are golden and at least 190 degrees inside.
  7. To glaze, heat the honey and the orange juice over medium heat until it begins to simmer rapidly. Remove from the heat and brush over the rolls as soon as they are removed from the oven.

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  1. Tamara says

    Just wondering about the paste for the crosses… Do you have an amount or ratio for how much water, oil and flour to use?

    • Kresha Faber says

      That’s a good question. No, I don’t, as I usually just start with a cup or so of flour in a bowl, drizzle in a bit of water (maybe a couple of tablespoons?) and a bit of olive oil (a teaspoon is a good guess), and then mix, adding more of any of the ingredients as I like until it has a texture that’s pipe-able. Perhaps next time I make the recipe I’ll do a more accurate measurement, but truly, the ratios don’t really matter – all it needs to be is pipe-able. You could even use powdered sugar instead of flour, if you wanted, but that’s a bit too sweet for me.

      I’m sorry I can’t be of more help!

      (See how to make homemade powdered sugar.)

  2. Allyson Matsoso says

    These are our new Easter Tradition…my husband is from South Africa and after tasting these he said they were just like the ones from back home. Thanks for the recipe.

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