Meg’s Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns - wheat and dairy freeOne of the things that has really helped me in my journey as a mum has been the invaluable t online support I have had from other parents. My ‘home’ forum is At a Kitchen Table (called KIT for short). We take, as our inspiration, the wonderful poem by Joy Harjo called Perhaps the World Ends Here – and we talk about all kinds of things – building relationships, bringing up our children, breastfeeding, babywearing, education, politics, creativity and more. One of the perennially popular topics of conversation is baking, and this recipe for wonderful dairy and wheat-free Hot Cross Buns comes from one of our most inspirational bakers.

Meg’s Hot Cross Buns (wheat and dairy free)

7g fresh yeast  or 4g dried active yeast
650g spelt flour (Meg suggests 450g white spelt and 200g wholemeal spelt, I used 650g wholemeal spelt)
7g salt (you could obviously reduce this)
400g cold water
16g lard (Meg says this gets the best rise – I used rapeseed oil because I didn’t have any lard in)
70g golden syrup (Meg has also used honey, but says she prefers sticky golden syrup!)
1 capful vanilla extract
about 1 tsp ground cinnamon
about 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
4 generous handfuls of mixed dried fruit (bigger bits chopped). Meg uses raisins, candied peel, glace cherries & dates, I used raisins, currants, sultanas and candied peel.
For the glaze:
75g granulated sugar
75g water
1 egg


  • Whisk water with fresh yeast, then add ALL other ingredients (except the glaze ingredients). If you’re using dried yeast then just put everything in your mixing bowl.
  • Mix thoroughly with your hands until the dough just comes together (no kneading at this stage) – the dough should be soft and on the edge of being sticky, but not too sticky.
  • Leave the dough in the bowl, covered with a clean damp cloth, in a warm place, for 10 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out onto your work surface, knead for 15 seconds and return to bowl.
  • Repeat the resting for 10 minutes, kneading for 15 seconds, twice more.
  • Now rest the dough for half an hour, knead for 15 seconds and leave for one hour. (Meg says that this is basically Dan Lepard’s kneading method).
  • Turn your oven on to about 230c/Gas Mark 8.
  • On a lightly floured surface, shape your dough into 16 buns, dust lightly with flour and place them on two parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Put your trays in 2 large plastic bags, and give a short proof of about 20-25 mins in a warmish place, while the oven heats up. (I found I needed around 35 minutes, but that’s because I have a drafty kitchen!). The buns need to be slightly under-proved so that you can slash them successfully at the next stage.
  • Slash a cross into the top of each bun using a sharp, serrated knife or dough slasher. Be careful – you don’t want to deflate the buns!  If they sink a bit, don’t worry, they’ll still taste gorgeous.
  • Put the buns into the oven and bake for 5 minutes at 230C. Meg suggests spraying the buns with water, and the inside of the oven too, but I have to confess to not doing that because I don’t have a sprayer.. The point of spraying is to create steam, which keeps the dough soft and supple, allowing a better rise. There are other methods of creating steam in your oven – here are some suggestions.
  • Turn down to about 200c, then bake for 5-10 mins (Meg sprays the oven again at this stage).
  • Whilst the buns are in the oven, make the glaze. Dissolve 75g sugar in 75g hot water, cool slightly, then whisk in the medium egg.
  • When the buns have had their 5-10 minutes at 200C take the trays out and quickly but liberally brush the buns with the glaze.
  • Return the buns to the oven for around 5-10 minutes until the glaze is nicely shiny and set, and the buns are golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

These are incredible warm from the oven, and gorgeous toasted too. Thank you Meg!

7 thoughts on “Meg’s Hot Cross Buns

  1. Hello, This recipe looks good, I’m going to make these for Good Friday. I don’t really fancy spending hours in the kitchen in the morning, so I plan to do part of it the night before. Could you please give me some advice about what stage I can work up to, the night before? Or should I just bake them completely and toast them on Friday morning? I’m a bit confused about the timings for the final baking – did you find 5 mins @ 230C then 5 mins @ 200C then glaze the buns then another 5-10 mins is fine? Thanks!
    – Kate

    1. Hi Kate, I think it would be possible to stop after the kneading stages (so just before shaping the buns), and leave the dough overnight in the fridge. The next day you can shape the buns and then leave them to rise. It will take longer for them to rise than stated in recipe though, because they will need to warm up a bit. I’d leave up to an hour for this. The baking times are 5 mins at 230C, 5-10 mins at 200C and then another 5-10 mins after the glaze. Can’t be more specific than that because it will really depend on your oven. Hope you get on well with these!

      1. Hi again,
        Thanks again for this recipe, they tasted really delicious! I made the crosses more prominent by piping flour and water into the groove (1st batch) and then rolled out pieces of dough for the 2nd batch. Unfortunately the 2nd batch rose and fell I think I probably left them to rise for too long 😦 but overall they were fabulous!
        – Kate

  2. Just made these minus the glaze (not vegan) totally delicious 🙂
    I found that 25 mins would be far too long for cooking though, mine were done in 15 mins (5 on hot, 10 on slightly less)

    Also the crosses didn’t make it.. oh well

    1. Thanks Claire, I’m going to try them again tomorrow, so will check the timings. You have to be brave with the crosses and go quite deep! You could always use the flour and water paste method.

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