Developing the recipe for these gluten free hot cross buns has been a long road, but I have finally hit upon a brilliant bake! A soft bun inside with a nice gentle pull in texture, a thin crust and a yummy orange glaze, these hot cross buns are simply lovely warm from the oven.
I have found other recipes to be quite bready and I wanted to create the softest bun I could, which is HARD without using gluten. Gluten free bread can be a real science, but I’ve done the experimenting for you and I hope you will all love these buns as much as me.
As with many gluten free breads, these hot cross buns are best on the day of baking and are absolutely gorgeous when fresh out of the oven. If you have leftovers, simply split them in half and toast them to refresh, then their fab softness will come back.
How Many Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns Will This Recipe Make?
I have made these fairly small batch, to yield 6 hot cross buns, given that they are best made fresh. If you have lots of hot cross bun loving mouths to feed, simply double or triple the recipe to get 12 or 18 buns – it works perfectly in larger volumes.
How Long Will These Buns Take To Make?
I managed to simplify the recipe and get baking time right down, thanks to a handy proving tip from my uncle (who was a professional baker for years). These hot cross buns only need one round of proving, so in total they take just over 1.5 hours to mix, prove and bake. Not bad, eh!
What Do You Glaze These Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns With?
Hot cross buns can be glazed with apricot jam/marmalade/honey, but unless you have a fully stocked fridge you might not always have the jammy toppings to hand.
For mine, I use a simple orange juice and icing sugar glaze, which gives a yummy flavour and satisfying sticky top to the buns. You can use fresh orange if you like, but I simply grabbed a little bit of juice from the fridge for my glaze. I also tried orange and mango juice, which was v yummy too!
Where Can I Buy Tapioca Starch?
You can buy this direct from Shipton Mill (I buy their various gluten free flours in bulk as they are good value and it’s free postage over £30), from Ocado (Bob’s Red Mill brand is better than the Dove’s variety, as the latter is a tiny pot) and Amazon. Tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing.
Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns Recipe
This recipe makes 6 gluten free hot cross buns, however if you want to make more simply double the recipe for 12 buns or triple it for 18 buns. They are best enjoyed on the day of baking, however you can split and toast leftover buns to refresh them. You could also pair them with my chocolate hot cross bun recipe!
You’ll find a full method below, plus lots photos to help guide you through the recipe. However, feel free to email me any questions or comments you might have. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Instagram/Facebook @myglutenfreeguide. I love seeing your home bakes too so please send me photos of your creations :).
Lastly, if you enjoy these gluten free hot cross buns, I would be really grateful if you could review the recipe on the card below. Thank you!
For the hot cross buns:
- 6g dry active yeast (I use Allinson's Easy Bake Yeast or Doves Farm Quick Yeast)
- 130ml warm milk
- 1 tsp caster sugar + 30g caster sugar
- 200g plain gluten free flour (I use FREEE by Dove's Farm)
- 60g tapioca starch (I use Shipton Mill)
- 0.5 tsp xanthan gum
- 0.5 tsp fine salt
- 0.5 tsp all spice (or mixed spice if you don't have all spice)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 0.25 tsp nutmeg (fine to omit if you don't have it)
- 50g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- Zest of 1 orange
- 75g dried mixed fruit (I used Sainsburys - a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants and candied mixed peel)
For the crosses:
- 20g gluten free plain flour
- 20ml water
For the glaze:
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tbsp orange juice (from a carton or fresh)
- Add the milk to a measuring jug and microwave for 30-40 seconds to warm it. Add 1 tsp sugar and yeast to the milk, then stir well to combine. Leave for 15-20 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. When a thick layer of foam has formed on top of the liquid (see image below), the yeast has been activated and you can move onto the next stage.
- While the yeast is doing its thing, you can prepare the dry ingredients. In a stand mixer bowl or mixing bowl, combine 30g caster sugar, the plain flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, fine salt, nutmeg, all spice and cinnamon together.
- Once the yeast is activated, add the liquid from the jug to the bowl, along with the melted butter and the large egg. Mix for a couple of minutes, then add the mixed fruit and orange zest. Mix again until the fruit is evenly distributed. The dough will not look like classic gluteny dough, it will resemble a thick paste - this is perfect, as gluten free bread dough needs to be wet in order to yield a yummy finished bun (rather than a dry, crumbly one).
- Place your bowl close to the sink, along with a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Wet your hands thoroughly and you will be able to handle the sticky dough without it sticking to you. I tend to leave the tap running slightly while I am shaping the buns, re-wetting my hands after shaping each one. Divide the mixture into six pieces of approx 90g each (a spatula is handy for this, as the dough is sticky and you'll need to scrape it out of the bowl), shaping each into a small bun shape with your wet hands. Space them on the baking tray, so that they have space to expand and rise.
- Once you have 6 buns on your baking tray, cut a piece of cling film larger than the baking tray and grease one side of it with oil (olive/sunflower/vegetable oil all fine). Now make a little tent over the buns with the cling film, with the oiled side facing down (the oil will stop the cling film from sticking to the buns). Ensure the edges of the cling film are touching the tray, then allow the cling film over the buns to be baggy rather than tight, so that they have room to rise (see pic below). Leave the buns to rise/prove for 1 hour.
- After the buns have risen, preheat the oven to 200C (fan). Place a pan of water in the oven on the lower shelf, as this steam will help keep the bun crust soft and allow them to bake without cracking too much.
- While the oven is warming up, you can pipe the crosses onto the buns. Simply mix the 20g flour with 20ml water and stir to form a paste. Snip the end off a disposable piping bag to create a very small hole and scoop the paste into the piping bag. Pipe the flour mixture onto the buns in a cross shape per the picture below. Then place the buns into the oven (middle shelf) to bake for 15 minutes.
- Mix your glaze while the buns are baking by combining the icing sugar with the orange juice. Then once the buns have baked, glaze them immediately while they are still hot. Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool OR gobble them up straight away because they are seriously delicious when fresh!
Note: these gluten free hot cross buns are best enjoyed on the day of baking. However, if you have leftovers simply split the buns and toast them for a minute or two to refresh them and they will regain their lovely softness.
Looking for more tasty treats to enjoy this Easter? Then why not try some of my other gluten free baking recipes:
- Easter Bunny Cupcakes
- Blueberry Frangipane Tart
- Chocolate Celebration Cake
- Choco-Vanilla Baked Cheesecake
- Spiced Orange Loaf Cake with Mascarpone Frosting
Happy baking! Laura xxx