Rich, fruity and perfect toasted with butter. These Spiced Brioche Hot Cross Buns are a delicious treat anytime of the day!
Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, hot cross buns have become a staple bake all year round. You can get SO many different flavours now; chocolate orange, banoffee…even cheese and marmite! But I like them best the traditional way. Full of sultanas and spices, toasted and smothered in butter. The perfect tea-time snack or an excellent breakfast!
How do you make spiced brioche hot cross buns?
Brioche is one of the most glorious of breads. Its full of butter and eggs, which makes it really rich and tender – almost like a pastry. So for me, if I can make something with a brioche dough, its alwayssss a win. I’ve already got Pecan and Maple Sticky Brioche Buns and Vegan Pear, Walnut & Caramel Sticky Brioche Buns on the blog if you’re interested 😉
These buns do take a little bit of man power to make, the recipe is written for kneading by hand and will take a good 30 minutes of it. You could make the dough in a stand mixer, but I prefer to write recipes that don’t use too much equipment. I didn’t have a stand mixer for a long time, and felt like I had to avoid a lot of recipes that required heavy kneading. But honestly, as the kneading is in three stages it doesn’t feel too long. And I think you get a much better understanding of when your dough is ready if you knead by hand at first. You can move to the machine next time you make it 😉
What should a brioche hot cross bun dough look like?
So your hot cross bun dough is going to look a little different to a normal brioche dough, purely from the inclusion of the spices! Your dough will have a light brown tinge, rather than the quite yellowy colour you’d expect from a plain butterry brioche. To help you out though, I’ve taken a photo at each stage of the process so you can see for yourself.
Lets break down the steps:
- Firstly you need to combine your flour, sugar, salt, yeast and spices in a large bowl. Then make a well in the middle and add the milk and beaten eggs.
- By hand, you then mix until a shaggy dough is formed. This is where your first set of kneading begins. Lightly flour your worktop, and then knead for 5 minutes until the dough has a smooth skin. At this point leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes (First dough picture)
- While the dough is resting, place your sultanas in a small heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over until submerged. Set this to the side while you finish your dough. The boiling water will plump up the sultanas and stop them from burning in the oven.
- Back to the dough, add the butter approx. one tablespoon at a time. Kneading as you go. This will get sticky, and might look like its not going to combine, but I promise it will. Perseverance is key here. And if you have a dough scraper that’s gonna help alot, so you can move the dough around. This process should take about 10-15 minutes, so don’t rush. (Second dough picture)
- Once all the butter is combined, you want to continue kneading the dough for another 10 minutes until its no longer sticky but is soft, smooth and pliable. (Third dough picture)
- Now your dough is ready, you can drain your sultanas thoroughly. Add your mixed peel and orange zest and mix to evenly combine. Then flatten your dough slightly and sprinkle over the entire fruit mix. Knead until the fruit is evenly dispersed – your dough will get slightly sticky again at this point! Then place in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to prove for an hour, until its doubled in size.
- Tip the proved dough out onto a lightly floured worksurface and knock back a little, to deflate. Then divide into 12 equal pieces – I find it best to weigh the dough so your buns will bake evenly. My dough balls were 125g each.
- Place your balls onto a lined baking tray and leave to prove for 45 minutes until puffed up. Meanwhile, get that oven on!! And mix together the flour and water for your ‘crosses’
- Once the buns are ready for the oven, place the cross paste into a piping bag, and pipe vertical and horizontal lines across each. Then place in the oven to bake for 20minutes until golden brown.
- Final step! Just before the buns have finished baking, mix boiling water and sugar together to make a glaze. Then using a pastry brush, brush over the warm buns.
- Ta dahh! You are DONE and ready to slice open and spread with butter.
Can you freeze Spiced Brioche Hot Cross Buns?
Yes!! These buns freeze really well, which is GREAT news. With a big batch bake, that takes a bit of time to bake its always nice to know nothing will go to waste. To defrost you can just take a bun out of the freezer for a few hours. OR if you really want to get ahead, slice the buns before you pop them in the freezer and then you can toast them on the defrost setting straight away.
Can you add different spices to the buns?
Absolutely, you can tailor these to the spices you like. I’ve gone very traditional here so the world is your oyster!
Why should you soak sultanas before baking?
Soaking your sultanas or currants/raisins before baking helps to stop them from burning in the oven. The sultanas add a delicious moistness and fruitiness to the buns, and you really don’t want to lose that! Just make sure you’re thorough when draining the sultanas, so you don’t add too much water to the dough!
I really hope you love these brioche hot cross buns as much as I do! They are so juicy, packed full of flavour and so delicious warm with butter!
Spiced Brioche Hot Cross Buns
- 600 g plain flour plus more for kneading
- 75 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 7 g easy bake instant yeast
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 125 ml milk whole or semi-skimmed
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 150 g sultanas
- 175 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 80 g mixed peel
- 2 oranges – zest
- 100 g plain flour
- 90 ml water
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp boiled water
- For the dough: Place the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and spices into a large bowl and mix together with a silicone spatula until combined. Then make a well in the centre and pour in the milk and beaten eggs. Mix with the spatula until a rough dough forms. Then, flour your work surface and removing the dough from the bowl, knead for 5 minutes until the dough has a smooth skin. Then leave to rest for five minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the sultanas in a small heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Then set aside.
- Add the butter to the dough, one tablespoon at a time, kneading as you go so the butter is completely combined. You will need to re-flour your work surface a few times throughout, as the dough will be very sticky. (If you have a dough scraper, this will also help to manoeuvre the dough.) This process should take around 10-15 minutes.
- Once all the butter has been combined, continue kneading the dough for a further 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable and no longer sticky.
- Drain the sultanas thoroughly, then mix in the mixed peel and orange zest. Then flatten the dough slightly and scatter over the fruit. Knead the dough together a little to combine the fruit well – the dough will be slightly wet. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough inside and cover with clingfilm. Leave this to prove for at least an hour in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size.
- Tip your proved dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knock back slightly to release the air. Then divide into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Place the balls onto a lined baking tray with a little room to grow. Then leave to prove for 45 minutes in a warm place, until puffed up. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas Mark 7.
- For the crosses: While the buns are proving, make the paste by combining the flour and water in a small bowl until well combined. Then place into a piping bag and cut off the end to create a medium hole. Once the buns have proved, pipe vertical and horizontal lines across each bun. Then bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- For the glaze: Once the buns are almost finished baking, combine the boiling water and sugar in a small bowl. Take the buns out of the oven, then using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over while still hot. Then leave to cool on a cooling rack.