stout hot cross buns

stout hot cross buns

spiced stout hot cross buns

I adore hot cross buns and have always been quite happy to buy them. Admittedly, I am fussy about where I get them though, hot cross buns are not all made equal in the mainstream retail environment. I always try to find the extra fruity and spicy ones too.

That has now all changed.

hot cross buns

I have made and mastered these easy and delicious stout hot cross buns, and now a supermarket version just pales in comparison. I based my recipe on Dan Lepard’s spiced stout buns, adapting it to suit my fruity taste buds and to use my favourite local stout which comes in a 340ml bottle. Castle Milk stout has a lovely flavour with hints of chocolate, so it works beautifully with these buns.

easystout hot cross  spiced buns

I adapted a few of the ingredients and the method slightly, I found that placing the dough in a warm sunny spot during the two long proving times helped to lighten them up. I also added a little more yeast which may have contributed to this too. I did however stick to the strange interval kneading routine, but would like to give them a bash doing it another way.

I added half cranberries and half raisins because I love the slight tartness the cranberries add, and I have also used 100g soft dried Turkish apricots which I finely chopped. A 100g of mixed citrus peel is essential to me and you can buy this already chopped.

stout hot cross buns

I did a version adding two tablespoons of cocoa powder and this worked out really well, but on the whole I prefer a more traditional spiced bun.

The buns take a while to make in that you start the prep the night before, but the process is pretty effortless as they kind of make themselves. They are made by hand with very little kneading involved. I’m smitten.

If I’m not eating them straight out the oven, I love to toast them. Always served with lashings of butter melting right into the core of them.

Cooks note ~ I found making the paste that you pipe over the buns to make the crosses a little tricky. The flour and water mix tends to clump a bit. So I used an electric whisk to smooth this out and poured it into a plastic piping bag and cut to make a very small hole on the end. I found that none of my piping nozzles were the right size. It also gets quite messy, so you can just throw it all away once finished piping.

stout hot cross buns

This recipe makes 16 – 18 buns, but any excess can be frozen. You can use a mix of raisins and cranberries or all of one or the other.

  • 1 x 340ml bottle Castle Milk stout
  • 2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 870g flour (divided)
  • 100g citrus peel
  • 150g raisins
  • 150g dried cranberries
  • 100g soft dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 250ml strong black tea
  • 1 egg
  • 50g melted butter
  • 50g caster sugar (plus extra for glaze)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt

Prepare the mix the night before by mixing the stout, spices, yeast and 320g of the flour in a large bowl. Mix to combine everything and leave uncovered.

Brew a strong cup of tea in 250ml boiling water and pour this over the raisins, dried cranberries, peel and apricots in a separate bowl.

The following day, mix the egg and melted butter with the fruit, and then stir this into this into beer and spice batter. Add the remaining 550g flour, sugar and salt. Tip this onto a work surface and briefly knead to form a large ball. Leave for 10 minutes. Lightly oil your hands and knead the dough for 10 seconds, leave for 10 minutes, then repeat twice more at 10-minute intervals, then leave for an hour covered with a tea towel in a warm spot.

Using a bread cutter or sharp knife, divide the dough into 100g pieces (use a scale to make this easier and to achieve consistency) and shape them into balls. Arrange these on a large baking tray lined with baking paper so they are just touching each other. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm spot for 90 minutes.

Pre heat the oven before the proving has finished. Mix a little flour with water to form a runny paste consistency (use and electric whisk to get this smooth if necessary). Place in a plastic piping bag and cut a very small edge off the tip. Pipe crosses on each ball of dough. Bake at 200C (180C fan-assisted) for 25 minutes. If necessary, loosely cover with a sheet of tin foil to prevent over browning. Mix 2 tablespoons of castor sugar with 2 tablespoons of water and brush this over the hot cross buns as they come out the oven. Serve with lashings of butter.

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29 Responses to stout hot cross buns

  1. lynne hoareau March 12, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    OMW can’t wait to bake these. They sound divine !!! Love the idea of the apricots and cranberries 🙂

  2. Meridy March 12, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

    Oooh these look yummy! I must try them. The last time I attempted to bake hot cross buns they came out as hot cross rocks 🙂

  3. Tori@Gringalicious.com March 12, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    I’ve never even tasted a hot cross bun but I am simply dying to make them now after seeing these! They are pure perfecton. Gorgeous photos!

  4. Maristella March 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    Here inEurope we do not have Castle Milk Stout…will Guiness do or is there any other substitute? Thanks xxx

  5. Rebecca @ DisplacedHousewife March 12, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    These look so delicious Sam!!! Beautiful!! xx

  6. Gaby March 13, 2015 at 4:57 am #

    These rolls are gorgeous!

  7. Laura (Tutti Dolci) March 13, 2015 at 7:09 am #

    Simply divine, hot cross buns have never looked better!

  8. Sam March 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm #

    Thanks Gaby 🙂

  9. Sam March 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    Hi, Any stout will do.

  10. Sam March 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    Oh dear Tori, you have missed out

  11. Sam March 13, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    Thanks so much Rebecca 🙂

  12. Sam March 13, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    Ha ha Meridy – had a good laugh. These will work if you follow all hte instructions. I promise.

  13. Sam March 13, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Let me know how they go Lynne.

  14. lizmacau88 March 14, 2015 at 7:04 am #

    Hi Sam,

    This is the recipe I always use for HX Buns. Living in the tropics I use a tropical candied fruit mix which includes papaya which is delicious. I get it in Thailand, you may be able tofind it in Cape Town Maristella, if you can find it, Boddingtons is perfect.

  15. Sam March 14, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    Hi Liz, I love the sound of the tropical candied fruit. I think next time I make them I’m going to add even more.

  16. Snappystreet March 15, 2015 at 1:36 am #

    Oh wow! These look divine! I am too scared to make my own, but this year I am on the hunt for something a little more upmarket than your usual store bought hot cross bun. I’m hoping a delicious local bakery that specialises in yummy treats will be making some for Easter! I also only ever eat them on Easter Sunday. For me, I just can’t bring myself to eat them any other time of the year!! (strange I know!)

  17. Zirkie March 15, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe! It sounds marvellous!

  18. Sam March 16, 2015 at 7:03 am #

    Hi – I totally get the eating on Easter Sunday only part, Im very into eating traditions. I always eat them on that day too. I have quite a few of these buns in my freezer so will just whip them out then.

  19. Sweet and Savoury Pursuits March 20, 2015 at 4:40 am #

    Love the new look of your website! The hot cross buns look amazing, especially with all that delicious butter on them!

  20. Thulisa March 20, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    Hey Sam,

    I am sure going to try these, they look absolutely AMAZING!

  21. Sam March 23, 2015 at 10:21 am #

    Thnaks Thuli, enjoy 🙂

  22. Deidre March 24, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    This looks divine! I was ready to make it as soon as I read the recipe and saw the beautiful pics. But…. I never learn… Why o why do I always attempt a new recipe when I’m doing all kinds of other things as well?? I misread the amount of stout for 1 340ml and not one 340ml bottle 🙁 Will have to try again when I’m in my Zen space 😉

  23. Sam March 25, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    Oh dear Deidre – Im sorry this didnt work out. Gosh that would be a hell of a lot of liquid.

  24. Thalia @ butter and brioche April 1, 2015 at 5:23 am #

    Yum! Stout hot cross buns sound delicious. These are perfect Sam.

  25. Sam April 1, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    Thanks Thalia, luckily I froze the leftovers so am nibbling on them as we head towards Easter.

  26. thejameskitchen April 3, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    I have a deep-rooted fondness for hot cross buns and love baking them for Easter, your (& Lepard’s) stout version will certainly get a proper outing here, soon. Even if Easter has passed by then and we had our own to gobble up first but freezing worked out quite well in the past for us, too. Happy Easter and have a lot of buns on today’s Good Friday, Nicole

  27. Kathleen April 3, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    I am trying these out today it being Good Friday and all. I made a few little changes in that I used rooibos tea for soaking the fruit and some organic sugar instead of caster.

  28. Amy April 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Do you heat the beer to activate the yeast?

  29. Sam April 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    Hi Amy no. The recipe gives the exact instructions.

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