Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

The monthly challenge for the Sourdough Surprises Baking Group is Hot Cross Buns. As it happens, the 20th of the month (the day we normally post our breads) falls on Easter. And, my youngest son is celebrating his birthday this week. So I made these Sourdough Hot Cross Buns to commemorate both occasions.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns


I combined the ingredients from two different recipes and came up with my own method for making these delicious buns. I utilized the sponge method from Jeffrey Hammelman’s Hot Cross Buns, but instead of using dried yeast, I added 1/2 cup sourdough starter.

I wanted to take these rolls with me when I visited my son for his birthday so I added an overnight fermentation to the final dough. This allowed me to prepare the dough the evening before and bake the buns the next morning.

I used icing for the crosses instead of paste because I wanted something sweet to round out the tangy flavor of the candied orange peel and the honey/orange glaze. These Hot Cross Buns turned out to be a very special treat for Easter and a Birthday.

I was able to bake the rolls, glaze and ice them, and let them cool completely before wrapping them up for transport. I wrapped them in aluminum foil to keep the slightly sticky orange glaze from making a complete mess.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns


Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Makes: 12 Buns

Adapted from: Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman and Sourdough Hot Cross Buns by Kresha of Nourishing Joy


  • 1/2 cup active (fed) sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon raw sugar


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup currants or raisins (soak in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, finely chopped and packed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Crossing Paste:

I used store-bought icing to make the crosses on top of these buns. If you prefer to make a flour crossing paste, refer to the ingredients/directions in this Hot Cross Buns recipe. Or refer to Kresha’s method.


  • 1 T Honey
  • Juice of 1 orange


Prepare the Sponge:

Combine the sourdough starter, milk, all-purpose flour and sugar and mix just until smooth. It will be very thin. The desired temperature is 80 degrees F. Cover the sponge with plastic wrap and let it stand for 1-2 hours. It should be light and bubbly, but it should have some structure.



Mixing the Dough:

Place the sourdough starter, flour, and spices in a large bowl. Lightly beat the eggs with the raw honey and milk, then add to the sourdough/flour mixture. Mix until completely combined and a very sticky dough has formed. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough.  Knead until the dough begins to look smooth and shiny. The dough will be a rather wet dough, but try not to add any flour at this point. Keep kneading until the dough is developed, then knead in the dried fruit and candied orange peel. I used the bowl scraper to help with this process.  It keeps the dough from sticking to your fingers and keeps the bowl clean.

Add in the butter, a little at a time. Knead until all the butter is fully incorporated. The final dough should be very soft, but not at all sticky. If it’s too sticky at this point, add a little extra flour.

Let the dough sit for 1 hour. After an hour, fold it over on itself a number of times on a floured board or in the bowl, then place it back in the bowl and let it rise another hour. After two hours, you can continue with the shaping below, or place it in the refrigerator to retard overnight. This is what I did.



If you retarded the dough overnight, take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature (1 –2 hours) before proceeding to dividing and shaping.

Dividing and Shaping:

Divide dough into 12 pieces and shape into a small round balls about 2.7 ounces each. Place the rolls on a greased sheet pan in an even configuration. Cover with plastic wrap to keep crust from developing on the surface. Let them rise at room temperature 1-2 hours. If you retard your rolls in the refrigerator, they probably won’t double in size during the final rise, but they should have pretty good oven spring once they are baked.


Baking/Glazing the Buns:

As I mentioned, I used icing to make the crosses. I baked the buns, then glazed them with the honey/orange glaze while they were hot. Once the glaze had dried, I piped on the icing.

If you prefer to make a flour crossing paste, follow the directions in this Hot Cross Buns recipe.  Or refer to Kresha’s method. You’ll want to pipe on either one of these pastes before you bake the buns.

Bake the rolls in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20-30 minutes until the rolls are golden and at least 190 degrees inside.

For the glaze, heat the honey and the orange juice over medium heat until it begins to simmer rapidly. Remove from the heat and brush the glaze over the rolls as soon as they are removed from the oven.

sourdough-hot-cross-buns_125 sourdough-hot-cross-buns_135


This was another great sourdough surprise.


Happy Baking!



Check this awesome lineup from the Sourdough Surprises Baking Group: 


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