There is nothing better than making your own baked goods and hands-down the most rewarding thing to bake involves yeast. I have a love-love-hate relationship (I love them twice as much as hate them!) as I get nervous every time just in case the airing cupboard isn’t quite the right temperature and what about that tiny bit of yeast left in the pan that didn’t make it into the dough?
After hours (literally hours) of anguish and the aroma of freshly baked sweet and sticky hot cross buns fills the kitchen and I see these little buns come out of the oven fluffy and golden brown… well, it’s probably the best feeling you can have in a kitchen.
I haven’t painted this recipe in the best light so far. But what I want to emphasise is how I have practised this recipe over the last couple of years and really cracked it. So, here is the fool-proof, non-anxiety causing version of my Hot Cross Buns. Leave the anguish to me, you just enjoy the bake.
I won’t lie, it takes patience, but you’ll know that already if you bake with yeast. Or even if you make raw treats that need to set for hours in the fridge – like my Salted Almond Caramel Cheesecake or Lemon and Pistachio Cheesecake. These buns really do do all the work for you, as long as you pay careful attention to a few things:
- The temperate of the milk and vegan butter mixture. You must allow this to cool to a warm room temperate otherwise it will kill off the yeast. I’m not fancy enough to use a thermometer but keep testing with your (clean) finger. Just above room temperature, lukewarm is ideal. Also check the temperate of your airing cupboard DIY proving drawer – not too hot and not too cold.
- Kneading. You’ll love me even more because this recipe doesn’t require laborious arm-work. A quick 2 minute knead before the first prove and a quick mix before the second is all that is needed. Don’t overwork the dough as it will become tough.
- Patience. Allow both proves to complete before moving onto the next step.
Apart from that, have fun! These are so enjoyable to make and even more so to eat. My family love eating them toasted and spread with butter or simply tear them apart and enjoy with a cup of tea. The tea is pretty important I think to the pleasure – but also be sure to try them with some nut butter, too. You’ll notice these buns are not as sweet as the shop-bought kind but that’s how I like them as you can taste the cinnamon, mixed spices and the ginger, plus the sticky glaze really sings! It allows you to top them with lots of jam, too, without being too sickly sweet. Another difference is that my Hot Cross Buns won’t last for days – because they are fresh, they are best eaten within 24-48 hours although you can freeze them individually once baked.
These Hot Cross Buns are so delicious, they are comforting, sweet, light and airy in the centre with a crisp and sweet crust, warmly spiced, the perfect afternoon pick me up and a real crowd pleaser that happens to be vegan and healthy!
Vegan Hot Cross Buns
Light and fluffy vegan hot cross buns filled with juicy dried fruit, warming cinnamon and a sticky apricot glaze - perfect served warm from the oven or toasted and spread with vegan butter.
- 70g vegan spread
- 1 cup almond milk (or other plant milk)
- 7g sachet fast action yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 400g plain flour* plus extra for surface
- 100g mixed dried fruit**
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed
- Make the dough: heat the milk and vegan butter in a pan slowly until melted, transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool to just warmer than room temperature (10-15 minutes). Do not skip this step and become impatient! Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the milky mix and leave for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the salt and sugar and gradually add the flour, stirring until it’s too stiff to stir with a spoon.
- Tip onto a floured work surface and bring together by kneading for 1-2 minutes. Clean out the mixing bowl, lightly grease with oil and place the dough into the bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Mix the spices and dried fruit in a small bowl.
- After the 1st prove, place dough onto a floured work surface and pour over spice/fruit mix. Knead this all together with your hands so the fruit is evenly distributed. Do not overwork the dough or it will become tough.
- Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces. Roll these pieces into balls and place in a well-greased baking dish. Make sure they are spaced out slightly. Cover with clingfilm again and leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 190Fan/210*C.
- Mix the water and plain flour together to make a paste for cross on the buns. Place this in a piping bag or zip-lock bag with the corner cut off.
- Remove the buns and pipe a cross onto the top of each one.
- Place in the oven for 15 minutes until golden and firm to touch.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Brush the warm jam over the tops of the buns as a glaze.
*I haven’t tried these with any gluten free flour blends, but I can imagine one you’ve used with yeast before would work well here.
**I used goldenberries for these images in partnership with Natures Heart Superfoods but all opinions are my own and I love these goldenberries.
I hope you’ll love baking these Vegan Hot Cross Buns, they really are so fluffy and delicious. Let me know your thoughts below and remember to tag me in your bakes – I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest – please say hello!
With buns of love x