Christmas Recipes

Christmas Recipes
Christmas Recipes

Italian Recipes

Italian Recipes
Italian Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Dessert Recipes
Dessert Recipes

Hot Cross Buns-#TwelveLoaves March

Creating a bread baking group has some major benefits. One benefit is talking about bread with other bread baking fans. A significant benefit is knowing that once a month you are guaranteed to have fresh bread baking in your kitchen.

Where did February go? I swear I blinked it was gone! So here we are at another #TwelveLoaves challenge…are you as excited as we are?

What is baking this March in the TwelveLoaves kitchens? Holiday Breads!

#TwelveLoaves March: Holiday Bread. Bake a bread, yeast or quick bread, loaf or individual. This #TwelveLoaves is all about the incredible holiday breads featured in March. Do you have a favorite Easter or St. Patrick’s Day Bread? We would love to see it. Let’s get baking!
Look at what our very talented #TwelveLoaves bakers have created this March!

    We would love to have you join our #TwelveLoaves group; it’s easy!
    1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone’s posts. Please make sure that your Bread is inspired by the theme!
    2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
    3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this March, 2013 posted on your blog by March 31, 2013.
    It’s been a pleasure baking with you since I launched this Twelve Loaves this past May.
    Check out what we have been busy baking!

    May theme: Focaccia
    June theme: Corn Rolls
    July theme: Challah
    August theme: Summer Fruit
    September: Say CHEESE!
    October: Seeds, nuts and grains
    November: Autumn Fruits: Apples and Pears
    December: Boozy Bread
    January: Clean Slate
    February: Open Challenge

    I've submitted these delicious bagels to Susan at Wild Yeast Blog .
    I'm also sharing these hot cross buns with my friend Roxana's BYOB bread baking event
    Follow @TwelveLoaves on Twitter

    See what’s freshly baked for #TwelveLoaves on our growing Pinterest board.

    Would you like to bake along with us each month? Send me an email at: cakeduchess @ .
    A little history about hot cross buns I found here:
    "The pagans worshipped the goddess Eostre (after whom Easter was named) by serving tiny cakes, often decorated with a cross, at their annual spring festival. When archaeolgists excavated the ancient city of Herculaneum in southwestern Italy, which had been buried under volcanic ask and lava since 79 C.E., they found two small loaves, each with a cross on it, among the ruins. The English word "bun" probably came from the Greek boun, which referred to a ceremonial cake of circular or crescent shape, made of flour and honey and offered to the gods. Superstitions regarding bread that was baked on Good Friday date back to a very early period. In England particulary, people believed that bread baked on this day could be hardened in the oven and kept all year to protect the house from fire. Sailors took leaves of it on their voyages to prevent shipwreck, and a Good Friday loaf was often buried in a heap of corn to protect it from rats, mice, and weevils. Finely grated and mixes with water, it was sometimes used as a medicine. In England nowadays, hot cross buns are served at break are served at breakfast on Good Friday morning. They are small, usually spiced buns whose sugary surface is marked with a cross. The English believe that hanging a hot cross bun in the house on this day offers protection from bad luck in the coming year. It's not unusual to see Good Friday buns or cakes hanging on a rack or in a wire basket for years, gathering dust and growing black with mold--although some people believe that if the ingredients are mixed, the dough prepared, and the buns baked on Good Friday itself, they will never get moldy."
    ---Holiday Symbols and Customs, Sue Ellen Thompson, 3rd edition [Omnigraphics:Detroit] 2003, (p. 233)

    My favorite I found...these old recipes for Hot Cross Buns:
    "Hot Cross Buns

    Mix two pounds of flour with a small tea-spoonful of powdered spice and half a tea-spoonful of salt. Rub in half a pound of good butter. Make a hollow in the flour, and pour in a wine-glassful of yeast and half a pint of warmed milk slightly coloured with saffron. Mix the surrounding flour with the milk and yeast to a thin batter; throw a little dry flour over, and set the pan before the fire with the milk and yeast to a thin batter; throw a little dry flour over, and set the pan before the fire to rise. When risen, work in a little sugar, one egg, half a pound of currants, and milk to make a soft dough. Cover over as before, and let it stand half an hour. Then make the dough into buns, and mark them with the back of a knife. Time, fifteen to twenty-minutes to bake. Probable cost, 1d. each. Sufficient for twenty-four buns." (p. 319-320) "Good Friday Buns
    (Commonly called Hot Cross Buns). --Rub a quarter of a pound of butter into two pounds of flour. Add a pinch of salt; then mix a wine-glassful of fresh, thick yeast with a pint and a half of warmed milk; and stir these into the flour til it forms a light batter. Put the batter in a warm place to rise. When sufficiently risen, work into it half a pound of sugar, half a pound of currants, half a nutmeg, grated, and a quarter of an ounce of powddered mace. Knead these well into the dough, make it up into buns, and place them on buttered baking-tins. Make a cross on them with the black of a knife, brush a little clarified butter over the top, and let them stand a quarter of an hour before the fire. Bake in a good oven. When bread is made at home, hot cross buns may be made by mixing the currants, &c. with bread dough after it was risen. Time, one hour to let the dough rise; twenty minutes to bake. Sufficient for two dozen buns. Probable cost, 1s. 6d. for this quality." (p. 260)
    ---Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.:London] 1875
    I love that they specify using a "wine-glassful of yeast". Drink a little wine...bake a little bread.



    I had a very enthusiastic surprise helper at 7 who would rather help me bake then finish getting ready for school.

    some baking notes: I was being completely serious when I asked where in the world did February go. I knew the March #TwelveLoaves challenge was approaching. I had so many ideas. SO many Easter bread ideas. I was thinking of a bread from every single country on this planet. I finally settled on these buns I’ve always wanted to make. I know the next time I will add chocolate in it. I used the same dough I use for my cinnamon rolls. You could adjust the spice to your liking. I ended up making the dough at 10 PM. I put it in the fridge and could not WAIT for the this morning to bake them. I may have added a dash too much of nutmeg. At least it seemed I did because the scent was so strong as it was baking. It was definitely not too much nutmeg and these buns were divine. I felt bad warming hubs to not take one until I photographed them. He said I was a mean and selfish baker. I snapped some shots and let him dig in. The kids had to wait until after school to try one and they LOVED them. If you need some photos on shaping the rounds, check out my Savory Corn Roll post.

    * some other Easter inspirations from me: I've previously posted some Easter breads. This is one that my mother-in-law Teresa makes. I linked to some amazing breads in this post.  The kids and I can't wait to make this Easter bread stuffed with eggs.

    Another idea you could try for Easter is this Pastiera Napoletana...amazing!

    Hot Cross Buns

    Dough ingredients:
    1 cup whole milk
    1 (1/2 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
    1/4 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
    3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I may have added an extra dash!)
    1/2 cup raisins (or chocolate)

    Egg wash:
    1 beaten egg
    1 Tablespoon of milk

    1 cup powdered sugar
    1 Tablespoon milk

    Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature.  Meanwhile, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl.

    Add 1 Tablespoon of the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

    Beat in the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar, eggs and butter.  Beat in cooled milk.  Gradually add the flour, salt and spices, scraping down side of bowl, until a soft dough forms. On low speed, beat in the raisins.

    Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead the remaining flour into the dough, adding more flour if too sticky.  Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth. The dough will be soft.

    Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.( I ended up putting the dough in the refrigerator over night. I took it out in the morning and let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes before punching it down)

    Punch down the dough and shape it into 12 small rounds.  Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Be sure to leave enough space so that as they bake and rise they won’t touch each other). Cover the tray with a tea towel and leave it in a draft-free spot until the buns have about doubled in size (about 40-60 minutes).  Brush the buns with the egg wash.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown (about 20 minutes). Let the buns cool. While cooling, prepare the glaze.

    Glaze: Mix together the confectioners sugar and milk until you reach the right consistency (not too runny, not too thick).  Place the glaze  small plastic bag and snip off a corner on the bottom (not too big of a cut). Pipe a cross on each bun. Aren’t they gorgeous!?!

    Thank you for baking along with #TwelveLoaves each month!

    I can't forget to announce the winner Nancy Baggett's Simply Sensational Cookies cookbook. The winner is:

    Valerie from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine. Congratulations to you, Valerie!!


    1. LOL...I'm a mean and selfish baker, too!! Your hot cross buns are PERFECT...and I loved reading their history. xo

    2. Hot cross buns are great to eat and to bake. I particularly like that the dough is not too sweet but then there´s that nice glaze. They look perfect Lora! And I love that it´s your MIL´s recipe, they´re always the best ones!

    3. What a treat to have the history of these amazing buns included in your post. They look amazing and I am sure they tasted just as good. What a good helper you had that day...LOL

    4. I grew up with hot cross buns every lent! Adore them...and yours are beautiful, Lora! They are on my agenda for this weekend too, a little bit different recipe...but now I'll have to try your recipe too before Easter! Have a great weekend, and hope you're doing well!!

    5. I love your hot cross buns and would love to join your #twelveloaves theme. As a Catholic we ususally enjoy these during Lent but especially on Good Friday

    6. Beautiful hot cross buns Lora! I very much enjoyed reading the history of them. Thanks for sharing it and your recipe.

    7. Lora,
      I LOVE these!!!! I am so baking these on Good friday!!! I really have enjoyed learning the history behind these Easter breads. . I never knew! again, gorgeous buns!!! and it's also better to have a baker helper in the kitchen with you! Love that!

    8. These look fantastic!!! Is it really March already??? Gah!

    9. Your hot cross buns are beautiful! I'll have to try your version for Good Friday this year. Simply gorgeous!

    10. I've always wanted to make hot cross buns! So pretty, Lora!

    11. Husbands and all other family members should know the drill by now ~ No touching until photos have been taken! :-) These Hot Cross Buns are lovely. They were brought to Jamaica by the British and were popular for a while. But then over decades, the "bun" (like what I made), evolved into what Jamaicans identify with as an Easter Bun. Loving the history of the buns!

    12. I haven't baked hot cross buns yet. May be I can try with your reicpe. I love your cute helper though

    13. Beautiful hot cross buns (and history!). I remember the smell of hot cross buns wafting from my favourite childhood bakery- it's something I never thought of making myself...that may change very soon! :)

    14. As always great post! I love how your cross buns turned out, Lora very delicious and tempting!

    15. Lora, these hot cross buns look lovely. I've wanted to bake my own batch for quite some time. Thank you for taking the time to write such an informative post. Now if only I could eat one of these now. Hugs and love. I've been thinking and praying for you, sweet friend.

    16. I've sen a lot of hot cross buns in my day, but never ones as poofy as yours. I'm craving one now and I never crave hot cross buns. You have that special baking magic in your fingertips that turns classic recipes into 'WOW'recipes. xoxo

    17. One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns, you've got me singing ......... and drooling! They look wonderful! I can see why your hubby would't want to wait for the photos! :) Hubbies are like that ....................

    18. Your buns are beautiful!!! ;) Looking forward to getting back to baking!

    19. I really need to try hot cross buns. They sound and look delicious! And a bread baking group sounds so fun. A disaster for me (give me warm, fresh bread and I'll eat half the loaf... not kidding) but fun. :)

    20. I have never actually tried hot cross buns. I have wanted to make them previous years, but never did. Yours look amazing, I am going to have to finally give in and make them!

    21. Seriously, I need to taste these yummy looking buns! Hot cross buns remind me that spring is close by - a season I always look forward to! Cannot wait for future twelve loaves posts!

    22. Yummy hot cross buns!! I truly need to start baking more goodies. It's just not my forte, but I'll give it a shot :)

    23. These look so tasty! Always wanted to try a hot cross bun, but never have. Perhaps I need to simply make some at home soon.

    24. Beautiful buns! I love this bread series you all are doing! I've always wanted to make H.C.Buns!

    25. Geez Lora this is torturous! It was awhile after coming to the US that I had a taste of hot cross buns, but once I did, I couldn't put them down. One of the best yeast breads and I loved learning the history behind them. L is super cute.

    26. I want to thank superb formula. I simply caused it to be also it sampled wonderful: -)
      Excellent weblog along with dessert quality recipes personally in case you are curious.
      I have a blog with cake recipes myself if you are interested. You can find it at

    27. I don't think I've ever had a hot cross bun before! Madness! These are gorgeous, with a perfect golden colour and glossy tops. I should make them myself one of these days. I loved reading the history of the bun and the old recipes. Your little one is adorable and smart - I'd rather stay home and help bake bread than go to school too!

    28. Lovely- my mother always made hot cross buns -it's such a great tradition for the family;)

    29. Cross buns and Herculaneum, wow. An unsuspected connection with Italy. I was used to consider them mainly UK or USA based.
      You teach me something about bread, and I adore that.
      It's an honor to take part to Twelve Loaves. Great posts, breads, and an open window on bread realities.

    30. Lora,
      I tried a hot cross buns recipe that flopped. I wasn't what I was looking for but my husband's coworkers devoured them anyway. Yours look delicious.
      I entered my Chocolate Babka recipe. Hope you like it.

    31. Love this so much! I just found out about 12 loaves and I am so excited to bake with you :) Your recipe looks amazing. I made one that was not so good, but I cannot wait to try yours! Krista @