I have been making these gluten free hot cross buns for years. They became an instant hit with my family and in fact, they are enjoyed more than the glutinous kind. These are by far the best Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns I have ever made. You have to make them, taste them and you'll agree.
They are actually pretty easy to make. I've made them in a breadmaker and without a breadmaker and they are equally as successful. I would however urge you, if you're making them by hand, to use a tin with higher sides as they tend to rise a little bit more.
The only special ingredient in this recipe is the buckwheat flour (which I have as a staple in my pantry anyway). I encourage you to use the buckwheat flour in this recipe, don't replace it with standard gluten free flour. If you do, the buns won't have the same texture and they may not even rise correctly. Buckwheat flour is readily available, including on Amazon. While this recipe only uses half a cup, it really makes a huge difference to the final texture.
If you are intending on making gluten free foods, you will also use it in other recipes, for example, my gluten free pancakes.
All the other ingredients should be staples - if you've been baking gluten free at all you will have gluten free flour and guar gum in your pantry. If you need a recipe for gluten free flour, check out this one.
This recipe does use 1.5 tablespoons of guar gum and I've had people contact me over the years telling me that it's not good for you. Guar gum is used in many foods that you buy from the supermarket, not just the gluten free ones. If you are at all worried you can read this article.
Honestly, the amount you get in one bun is minimal as this recipe makes 12.
For this recipe you will need Active Yeast. It's important that your yeast is fresh. Never use yeast that is past its expiry date as it will not rise properly. You should always keep your yeast in the fridge.
In New Zealand we have a product called Surebake Yeast which is actually yeast combined with other ingredients including wheat and baking powder. Only use Active Yeast for this recipe.
To get the absolutely best results I always rise my yeast prior to putting it in the breadmaker or mixing it with the dry ingredients.
The water should be warm - not too hot (it will kill the yeast) and not too cold (it won't activate the yeast). You should be able to put your pinky finger in it without feeling uncomfortable. I know that is kind of subjective because everyone feels heat differently.
Put the warm water in a jug or bowl and mix in the sugar. Then sprinkle in the yeast and give it all a good stir.
Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Once it has activated it should look like this.
If it doesn't rise like this, your water was either too hot or too cold. Throw it out and try again because your buns won't rise if the yeast is not activated.
I inherited my Mum's Swiss roll tin. You know how those old baking dishes are the best. My tin measures approximately 20x30cm and the sides are only about 2cm high. If you weren't lucky enough to inherit one, this one would work perfectly. It has slightly higher sides than mine so could work better if you're making your buns without a breadmaker as they tend to rise a tiny bit more when made by hand.
You could really use any dried fruit in this recipe that you like. I used a mixture of peel, currants and sultanas but I have also been know to use any mixed fruit that I have leftover from my Christmas Cake. This is a good time to use it up. You can add a little more or a little less - it won't make much difference.
In my opinion, there's nothing quite like a spicy, fruity bun and there's nothing right with a bun that doesn't have enough spice. I have tested and measured the spices carefully in this recipe to be the exact amount that's just right for these wonderful Hot Cross Buns.
Before adding the fruit and spices to the other ingredients (more about that in a minute), mix them all together in a separate bowl. This will ensure you get a good, even dispersion throughout the buns.
You will add the fruit and spices 15 minutes into the mixing if you are using a breadmaker. If you are mixing by hand, they will be the last thing you add.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured (gluten free) bench or board. The dough be quite sticky, not like a standard bun dough.
Shape into a log and cut into 12 even sized pieces with a floured knife. The mixture will be really sticky so dip the knife into the flour before you cut.
Using well floured you can shape them into balls and place them in the tin.
Beat the extra egg and then brush with the egg wash. Follow the instructions below to make the dough for the crosses then add them.
These buns don't store well so you will either need to eat them right away - big sacrifice!, or freeze them while they are still a little warm. I freeze them in individual bags or on a tray and then put them into a bag once they are frozen. That way, I can take out just what I need to eat. When you remove them from the freezer you can microwave them to defrost them (if you're impatient like me) or you can let them defrost at room temperature.
A few years ago, I compared different hot cross bun recipes, both gluten free and the gluten filled kind. You might be surprised to see which ones came out best. Check out my review to find out the results.
OK, enough chatter - I know you can't wait to get on with baking your buns, so here's the recipe.
Mix the warm water and sugar in a jug or bowl. Add the yeast and mix thoroughly. Allow to rise for 10 minutes (it should look like the image above).
Pour the yeast mixture into the breadmaker, then add the egg, oil, flour, guar gum, buckwheat flour and salt.
Set the machine to the dough cycle.
Mix the spices and fruit together in a bowl.
After 15 minutes of mixing add the fruit and spice and ensure they mix in well (I have to get in with a spatula and mix them in with my machine. I also scrape down the sides.) You may need to add a little more water to the mixture, it should be sticky and not lumpy.
Follow the instructions below for shaping, second rise, etc.
Mix the warm water and sugar in a large bowl. Add the yeast and mix thoroughly. Allow to rise for 10 minutes (it should look like the image above).
Add the egg and oil and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients and mix well again until the dry ingredients are well incorporated.
Mix the spices and fruit together in a bowl.
Add the fruit and spice and ensure they mix in well . You may need to add a little more water to the mixture, it should be sticky and not lumpy.
Cover the bowl with cling film and allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size.
When the dough is ready, turn out onto a well floured board. With floured hands roll into a long sausage and cut into 12 pieces with a floured knife. Using well floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and place in a greased Swiss roll tin.
Put the buns in a warm place and allow to rise again - you can cover with a plastic bag but make sure it doesn't touch the top of the buns. This should take about 30 minutes. They should fill the tin.
Put the flour for the crosses into a bowl and mix until there are no lumps and a dough is formed.
Roll out the crosses with a rolling pin until about 2mm thick. Cut into long strips and lay across the buns.
Bake at 200ºC for 20 – 25 minutes.
Note: The crosses on the buns in the picture below were not made this way. They were piped on. Rolling out the crosses gives a better final presentation.
Mix the glaze ingredients together until the sugar or honey has dissolved.
Remove the buns from the oven and brush the glaze over the tops immediately. Cover with a tea towel for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack.
Freeze well – especially if placed in freezer while still a little warm.
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April 1, 2021