Sourdough hot cross buns

Enjoy baking sourdough bread? Then you have to give these hot cross buns a go. They take more effort, but the result is some of the best buns you’ll ever taste

  • Prep:40 mins
    Cook:25 mins
    plus about 6 hrs proving and cooling
  • Serves 12
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 343
  • fat 9g
  • saturates 5g
  • carbs 55g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 2g
  • protein 9g
  • salt 0.09g


  • 300g active sourdough starter (see recipe, below)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 200ml milk
  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 60g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 150g raisins, or a mixture of small dried fruits (such as raisins, mixed peel and cranberries)
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened


To make 6-8 pancakes, whisk 100g self-raising flour with 1 tsp caster sugar, 100g sourdough starter (active or excess), 1 egg and 150ml milk with a pinch of salt until you have a smooth batter, then whisk in 25g melted butter. Heat a non-stick pan with a splash of sunflower oil and a small piece of butter until sizzling, then spoon in the batter to make 6-7cm pancakes (you’ll need to do this in batches). Cook for about 2 mins on each side until puffed up and golden. 


  1. Before you start, ensure the sourdough starter is very bubbly (if it’s not, feed it and wait until 1 tsp of the starter floats in warm water). Tip 200g of the starter into a large bowl with all but 2 tbsp of the egg, the milk, flour, sugar, cinnamon, mixed spice, orange zest and raisins. Mix with your hands until you have a shaggy dough (all the flour should be mixed in). Or, do this in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to prove for 30 mins. Cover the rest of the sourdough starter and keep chilled.

  2. Work the butter and 1 tsp salt into the dough by squashing it in using your hands. Once fully combined, tip the dough onto a surface and knead gently for 5 mins until smooth and springy (again, this can be done in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook). Form the dough into a ball, then return it to the bowl. Cover and leave somewhere slightly warm for 3-4 hrs to prove until the dough has almost doubled in size.

  3. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead briefly, then divide into 12 pieces, about 100g each. Roll the pieces into balls and arrange on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, leaving some room between each. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel, then leave to prove again for 2-3 hrs at room temperature until doubled in size, or chill overnight (this will result in better flavour and a neater shape).

  4. If the buns have been chilled, remove from the fridge 1 hr before baking. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Brush the buns with the reserved egg. Tip the remaining starter into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle, and pipe crosses onto the buns. Bake for 20-25 mins until light brown. Leave to cool slightly and serve warm, or cool completely. Best eaten on the day, but will keep for two days in an airtight container.

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