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Photograph: Shutterstock/Time Out
Photograph: Shutterstock/Time Out

Top London bakers’ tips for making perfect hot cross buns

Kate Lloyd

Thinking of making your own Easter treats this week? Well, you do have a lot of time on your hands. Here, four London bakers reveal how not to fuck the whole thing up.  

Claire Ptak, Violet Cakes

‘I always candy my own citrus peel. It makes such an amazing difference to the flavour of the buns.’

Daisy Terry, The Dusty Knuckle

‘We use buttermilk in place of milk in the recipe, it helps to get that super-soft texture and is extra-delicious. Mix your soaked fruit and candied peel with your spices before you add it to the dough. Cinnamon can do weird stuff to your yeast and weve found that this way it mixes in with the fruit and doesn’t seem to affect the fermentation so much. And, finally, make your crossing paste ahead of time and add a small bit of oil to the mix. It will pipe much easier that way. Definitely dont keep it in the fridge: learnt that one the hard way.’ The Dusty Knuckle is doing deliveries from April 14. 

Fergus Jackson, Brick House

‘For me, the perfect hot cross bun is light, soft and sticky. To get that I use a 50/50 mix of strong white bread flour and plain flour, which should give you a softer dough. If your recipe calls for milk, scald it before you add it. By taking it to boiling point and then cooling it, it denatures certain proteins in the milk that can inhibit the rise of the dough, and should also give a more tender crumb. Finally, dont bother making a sugar syrup for your buns, just warm some golden syrup in a pan and brush that over your warm buns for the perfect sticky finish.’ Brick House is selling sourdough starter kits online. 

Matthew Jones, Bread Ahead

‘My tips are simply: for best results make the dough the night before and always use plenty of extra fruit.’ Bread Ahead is doing online orders and Instagram baking lessons. 
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