Hot Cross Bun Recipe Review

So you all know how much I love hot cross buns, right?  This year I thought I'd do a review of four recipes and give you my opinion of which one was best.  This process has gone through rigorous testing - the boys had them for breakfast - to find the best flavour, colour, texture, etc. 

I took four recipes including my own gluten free recipe from my favourite food writers - Sophie Grey, Alison Holst and Delia Smith.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find the recipe for the Alison Holst buns online so I'll add the recipe here if you want to try them.  All up, I made 60 hot cross buns and put them in the freezer.

So how did they stack up?  

My Recipe

My recipe is gluten free so therefore should not really be compared to these other three.  Having said that I think it did pretty well.  OK, so I may be biased here but the buns made with my recipe looked pretty good (not as good as Alison's), were really tasty and had a good texture.  The texture is probably best described as more coarse that the rest but not as heavy.  I changed the method this year and, instead of making it in my breadmaker, I mixed the dough with my Kenwood.  I think the texture was better.

Sophie Grey

As you know, Sophie is one of my favourites and I use her recipes all the time.  Unfortunately, in this instance Sophie didn't win.  The taste testers said they were tasteless and I agreed.  They had more flour and less spice than the other recipes.  I like my hot cross buns spicy so this one wasn't a winner.  The bun was reasonably heavy.  They rose really quickly but they were quite delicate until cooked so any movement of the tray seemed to make them collapse.  It was really hot the day I made these so it's possible that they just rose too quickly.  If I made these ones again I would definitely add way more spice.  Sorry Sophie!

Alison Holst

We have a winner!  This bun had a good texture, quite fine and wasn't too heavy.  It tasted amazing.  It was the only recipe that had ground cloves in it - will definitely be adding that to my recipe next year.  As you can see, the buns were nice and round and smooth.  The recipe says it makes 16-20 but it made 24. I made this recipe using my breadmaker.

You can find the recipe here.  I hope Alison doesn't mind me sharing this with you - it's one I've had for years in an old book, long before online days and I just couldn't find it online.

Delia Smith

Last but not least this one cannot be discounted.  It was still really good.  If you're new to making hot cross buns then zip over to Delia's Cookery School and watch the video.  You'll see exactly how easy it is to make these puppies.  Having said that, these buns took forever to make.  It took 2 hours to rise the first time and another hour to rise the second time.  I actually didn't think they were going to rise so I put them into the oven (heated to just warm then turned off).  If you do this make sure the temperature is really low.  You don't want to melt the plastic bag - that would be really nasty.  Taste wise, this one was pretty good.  They had a good texture although were quite heavy.  If you watch the video you'll see that Delia says when you turn them out you shouldn't need flour - this wasn't the case for me.  They stuck to the bowl so I did need to use a bit of extra flour to roll them out.  Perhaps that's why they were just a tad on the dry side.  

So, have your made your hot cross buns yet?  Will you make them this year?  Have I inspired you to try something you've never made?  It's a great project for the long weekend - go on - give it a try.