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Honey, orange and sultana hot cross buns

Once you've made them yourself, you'll never look back!

Not only is bread dough one of the more satisfying things to make and bake (so much time, love and care goes into it!) but it's actually a lot easier than it seems - I know it's something I definitely avoided making in the past. This recipe is essentially a throw-it-all-in-one-bowl (my favourite kind) and the result is soft fluffy buns studded with sultanas and a refreshing, sweet orange twist. Brushed with warmed honey fresh out the oven, I like mine toasted with this cinnamon and vanilla whipped butter.

Total time to make : about 2 hours (including 2x rises) Time to prep : 15 minutes

Time to bake : 20 - 25 minutes

Servings : 12



60g butter

380ml milk

1 egg

660g plain flour (or bread flour*)

120g caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp (~ 9g sachet) instant yeast*

240g sultanas

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp mixed spice*

Zest from 2 oranges


80g flour

5 tbsp milk

1 - 2 tbsp water


4 tbsp honey


  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, caster sugar and salt together. If using instant yeast, sprinkle this over after you've mixed the flours through (direct contact with salt can deactivate the yeast) and then add in the spices, sultanas and orange zest

  2. In a small saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter. Add in the milk and warm through, then remove from the heat. Whisk (a fork is fine!) in the egg

  3. a) Standing mixers: use the dough attachment and on a low - medium speed setting (I use 2), turn the mixer on and gradually add in the wet ingredients to the dry. Keep it running for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and comes away easily from the side of the bowl. It will still be sticky to touch. If your dough seems too wet at about minute 8, add in 1 or 2 tbsp of flour. Stop the mixer once or twice in-between and use a spatula to scrape down the sides and underneath the dough hook to make sure all the ingredients are mixed in well b) By hand: create a 'well' in the middle of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and use a fork or clean hands to combine everything together. Lightly flour a smooth worktop surface or silicone pastry sheet* and knead for 12 - 14 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, it will still be sticky to touch but shouldn't be like wet cupcake batter, it should come together nicely in a ball

  4. Now your dough is ready for it's first rise! Lightly oil a large, clean mixing bowl and place your dough in. Cover with cling film and place in a dark, warm place for about 1 hr until the dough has doubled in size. In the meantime, grease and line a large baking tray with baking paper, leave extra baking paper on the sides so you can use them as handles when you need to remove the baked buns from the baking tray in one go!

  5. Once the dough has finished the first rise, remove the cling film and firmly punch the dough to knock the air out. Tip it onto a lightly floured surface or silicone pastry mat and without manipulating it too much, roll it into one long log. Split this log up into 12 equal dough balls

  6. Roll each dough ball between your hands until smooth and place on the prepared baking tray. Repeat, leave a little space between each bun and then cover loosely with cling film again and put them back in a dark, warm place for their second rise which will take about 30 minutes, or until they've increased in size by about 50%

  7. In the meantime, pre-heat a fan oven to 180C and make the 'cross' paste by mixing the flour, milk and water together. It should be a thick sticky paste, toothpaste consistency. Pour this into a piping bag or ziplock bag. Once the buns have completed their second rise, snip a small corner off and pipe crosses onto each bun

  8. Bake for 22 - 25 minutes until the buns are golden and sound hollow when you 'tap' them with your finger

  9. Remove the buns from the oven and whilst you wait for them to be cool enough to move from their tray, warm the honey in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Move the buns to a cooling rack and then, whilst still warm, spread over the honey using a pastry brush. Let the buns cool for about 20 minutes as they will continue to bake inside, resulting in light and fluffy texture

Nutritional Information

(per bun)

336 calories

8g protein, 67g carbs, 4g fat

Good to know:

  • Swap sultanas with chocolate chips or use lemon zest, finely diced apples, chopped nuts or dried fruits such as fig, apricots. Brush with apricot jam or warmed maple syrup instead. There's so many different varieties!

  • In this recipe, I've used instant yeast ('rapid rise yeast'). This can be used as it is and doesn't need to be dissolved or activated first. You can buy them in single use sachets. You can also use 'active dry yeast' or 'fresh yeast'. For these kinds, you need to dissolve them in the warm milk liquid first, leave them to 'foam' and then use them in the recipe.

  • Mixed spice (which is quite hard to find in Australia!) is not the same as All Spice. You can make your own mixed spice using cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger etc. or just stick to cinnamon if you can't find mixed spice

  • Using bread flour which has a slightly higher protein value will result in slightly fluffier buns that keep a little longer, but I don't notice a huge difference if you just use regular plain flour

  • I find silicone mats are incredible when making pastries/dough. When kneading the dough, you want to use as little extra flour as possible to flour the surface, as it can throw the recipe ratios off and result in dry buns. Silicone mats are a lot more non-stick than most work surfaces and so I find you only need a light sprinkling of flour. It also makes cleaning up a lot easier too!

  • Once baked, these buns can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. They're best enjoyed on the day of baking but can be toasted or grilled before eating, or to keep them soft and fluffy, warm them up in an oven or quick ping of a microwave

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