Hot Cross Buns Masterclass

Hot Cross Buns Masterclass With Patrick Ryan

Hot cross buns are synonymous with Easter, you will find them everywhere through March and April, but if you ask me, hot cross buns are something that can be enjoyed all year round. Warm from the oven, toasted and smothered with butter, or simply enjoyed with a cup of tea. With this recipe you will find yourself making them through Easter and well into the winter months.


  • 500g strong white flour
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 ½ tsp of vanilla extract
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • 15g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast
  • 300ml milk, warmed slightly
  • 1 egg
  • 50g butter, diced
  • 200g dried fruit
  • (You can use a mix of sultanas, raisins, dried cranberries and currents as well as some mixed peel. For more flavour, marinade in orange and lemon juice along with some cinnamon and clove overnight)

For the cross paste:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 50-60ml milk

Makes 13 buns (90g each)


  1. This dough can be made by hand, however if you have a food mixer feel free to use it using the dough hook attachment.
  2. Mix together the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of the mixer. Add the allspice, cinnamon, vanilla extract and orange zest to the flour.
  3. Crumble the yeast into the flour (or add dry yeast) and pour the milk along with the egg into the flour. Begin to mix the dough on a slow medium speed. Tip: This is quite a soft, supple dough. If it feels a little wet and sticky, don’t panic, just stay with it and be persistent. The dough will come together. Avoid the temptation to add extra flour. Continue to mix for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. As the dough develops slowly and starts to come away from the side of the bowl, add the diced butter slowly into the dough while the mixer is still going. Increase the speed of the mixer slightly. Continue to mix until all the butter has been incorporated.
  5. Add the dried fruit to the dough and gently knead for 1 to 2 minutes to distribute the fruit. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or clingfilm and leave to prove for about 1½ – 2 hours.
  6. Once the dough has doubled in size turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knock back.
  7. Cut the dough into 13 equal pieces approximately 90g each. Roll each piece of dough round and place on a non-stick baking tray or a tray lined with parchment paper, leaving enough room between to allow each bun to prove and grow without touching. Leave to prove again for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Brush each bun with a beaten egg then make up the paste for the crosses by mixing together the flour, sugar and milk in a bowl. The paste needs to be of a piping consistency. Spoon the paste into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
  9. Bake the buns 15 to 16 minutes, until rich golden in colour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Tip: Whilst warm, brush each bun with a simple sugar glaze to add a wonderful shine and finger-licking stickiness to each.

Sugar glaze: 100ml water, 100g caster sugar. Place into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

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Patrick Ryan is the face behind the Firehouse Bakery. Having swapped laws books for chef knives Patrick now spends his days returning bread to its rightful place as King of the table. Having worked throughout Ireland, Australia and the UK Patrick returned home to set up the Firehouse Bakery. Despite the ongoing recession at the time Patrick choose to stage his bread revolution with the opening of his bread school on Heir island off the coast of West Cork. 

His message is simple: “bread is king” He wants everyone to have good bread, all the time. And not just good bread, but bread that is good for you, bread that does you and your body good and he will even show you how to make your own.

Five years on from what began on an island of 27 people, the Firehouse Bakery has grown from strength to strength. Patrick operates an award winning bakery and cafe in Delgany Wicklow where you will find an open plan bakery, a bustling cafe and wood fired oven, His bread can be found in cafe and restaurants throughout Dublin and the bread school on Heir island is an exceptional experience for anyone who does the course.

Patrick is a founding member of Real Bread Ireland and is also a Failte Ireland Food Champion.

With plans for new and exciting projects Patrick’s bread revolution is only getting started.

Twitter @firehousebread

Instagram: Firehousebread

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