2 min read

Not cross buns

These are not the standard supermarket hot cross bun, which tends to a cinnamon and sugar flavour profile and a soft, moist crumb. They are denser, chewier, less sweet, and spicier. They go well with strongly flavoured cheese (mature cheddar, oude kaas, washed-rind cheeses).

If you want the cross, a good icing mixture is lemon or lime juice and as much icing sugar as you can stir in. A dash of rose water or orange flower water is a nice addition. When the rolls are cool from the oven, draw a cross on each one.


  • 500g (or 1lb) currants
  • 100g ‘mixed peel’ or candied citron or candied orange peel.
  • 3 blades of mace
  • about 20 allspice berries
  • about 20 coriander seeds
  • seeds of about 10 cardamom pods
  • 80g butter
  • salt to taste
  • boiling water
  • yeast
  • a cup of warm water
  • a teaspoon of sugar
  • 12 cup gluten
  • About 1.5kg bread flour

Put the fruit in a mixing bowl. Grind the mace, allspice, and coriander. Add the cardamom seeds, salt, and butter. Cover amply with boiling water.

In a small bowl, mix the yeast with warm water and sugar.

When the fruit mixture is only comfortably hot (50°C or so) and the yeast has bubbles on top, mix them. Add the gluten flour and as much of the bread flour as you can mix in. Leave to rise for 2-3 hours in a warm place.

Knead, adding more flour as necessary.

Shape into rolls or small loaves, and leave to rise for another hour or so. Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Bake the rolls/loaves for 10 minutes or so, then turn the heat down to 220°C and bake until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool on a rack (or in a colander)


  • Sour cherries are an excellent replacement for some or all of the currants, but are expensive
  • Dried apple or apricot can replace half the currants
  • Variations on the spice: cinnamon, cloves, a very little black pepper
  • Omitting the gluten will give softer, denser rolls
  • Some people might want to cut back on the spices
  • People vary a lot in how much salt they want in bread. I use about 2 tsp.