Easter is coming and the vegan’s getting fat! Time for a classic vegan hot cross buns recipe, I think. This is very similar to a normal hot cross bun recipe, you simply replace normal milk with a vegan substitute (and of course don’t butter it with “butter”)!
Hands on time: 30 minutes Resting time: 1¾ hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Making hot cross buns sounds so involved and complicated; I thought it would be. It isn’t! This recipe requires your attention for about 30 minutes, with a resting time of almost 2 hours and cooking time of 20 minutes. Whilst you get everything else sorted this easter weekend, that resting time will fly by!
This recipe makes 15 medium to small buns.
Vegan Hot Cross Buns Recipe
250ml non-dairy milk
1 tsp fast action yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp neutral oil, e.g. rapeseed
500g plain flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp mixed spice
100g sultanas or raisins
100g mixed peel (or substitute for a handful of dried cranberries, for a different hot cross bun, as I did)
Grated zest of an orange
85ml freshly squeezed orange juice
And for the decorative crosses and glaze:
3 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
Gently heat your milk – stick it in the microwave in a pyrex jug/owl for 10 second bursts, or over a gentle heat on the stove. You just want it to be lukewarm. Now take it off the heat, or out of the microwave, and whisk in the yeast for a minute, then the sugar. After a minute or two the yeast will start to act, becoming frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together your flour, salt and spices. Then stir in the sultanas, citrus peel or cranberries and the orange zest. It smells like Christmas, but in a really Easter-y way! Make a well in the middle, once these dry ingredients are well mixed, and stir in the oil, yeasty milk mixture and orange juice.
Bring this mush into a dough using your hands. Don’t be tempted to add more flour – just bring the ingredients together until well combined. It’ll be squishy and sticky. Keep going, kneading your bread for about 5 minutes. You want the dough to become smooth. Now put your dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or cling film (not touching the dough).
Leave the dough until its doubled in size. In a chilly house like mine you might want this above a radiator or warm oven, or even in a low oven with the door open (too much heat will kill your yeast).
When it’s doubled in size after an hour, knead it for a further ten minutes, knocking it back. It should be more like a normal dough now, not leaving too much residue on your hands – it should be a brought-together whole. Now divide the dough into equal sized balls. Sounds anal, but it’s best to weigh your dough and divide it by a reasonable amount (12 for big buns and 15 for small, perhaps) so that you can weigh out your dough evenly. Your dough is probably about 1.1kg, so you want to tear about 75g buns. Try to aim for buns of about 75g.
Line a big baking tray (around 28 x 40cm) with baking paper. Roll them around, then evenly space your buns on a large baking tray, not touching. Cover with a dampened, clean tea towel and leave again in a warm place for around 45 minutes. Heat the oven, whilst they wait, to about 210C or 190C in a fan oven.
Now make your crosses. Mix 3tbsp of plain flour with 2tbsp of water. It should form a thick paste. Now you could really do with a piping bag or icing tube! If you don’t have either, take a clean plastic bag and put your dough in, squish into a corner and make a parallel snip across the edge. Slowly pipe your crosses onto your buns.
Place your buns in the oven and bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf, or until golden.
Now make your glaze. Take a small pan and gently boil your sugar and fruit juice together for about five minutes, until it begins to thicken and go syrupy. Brush across your buns with a pastry brush or something similar whilst the buns are still hot and fresh out of the oven. Allow the syrup to “set” before eating them or you’ll have very sticky paws!
They’re obviously best toasted and slathered with a vegan butter or usual butter. If you can eat them within a couple of days fine, but if not freeze part of your batch as they will freeze very well and keep their freshness.
Happy Easter! What are your plans? xxx