Perfectly soft, fresh out of the oven gluten free hot cross buns with a honey lemon glaze. Is there anything better? 😛
I’m so happy to finally be able to tick this goal off of my gluten free bucket list. I tried a few times in the past, always with disappointing results… but this is it! For those who have tried my BRIOCHE RECIPE, the base is essentially the same for these hot cross buns. With a few tweaks and added spices and raisins. And a cross, obvs. 🙂
If you’re not a fan of raisins, you can leave them out or swap with chocolate chips. I’m not usually a fan of raisin-ish desserts myself, but a warm hot cross bun slathered in butter is one of the very few exceptions! 😀
NOTES / TIPS:
Use bread flour / strong flour
This type of flour blend is higher in protein and ideal for baking bread. I used Freee Foods (Doves Farm) as this is what’s available to me here in the UK (and it’s fantastic!), but if you don’t have access to it, look for other blends made specifically for bread or pizza dough. If you don’t have access to a gluten free strong flour blend where you live, have a look online for recipes that teach how to make it yourself from scratch. It’s well worth it. Otherwise you can try using an all purpose flour blend, but the texture won’t be as good (I tried it!). Also, different flour blends require different amounts of liquid which can affect the consistency of the dough.
Don’t skip the tapioca starch
It has a uniquely elastic texture that is essential in this recipe. I know people hate having to source a bunch of ‘exotic’ flours, but believe me you won’t regret it! It’s the secret to great gluten free baked goods! You sometimes can find it in supermarkets here in the UK, but your best bet is Asian/Chinese shops which always stock it. Otherwise you can also order it online from sites like Sous Chef UK.
Soak your raisins in warm water beforehand
This just takes a few minutes and it makes all the difference. It rehydrates them so they won’t steal the moisture from your dough and affect the resulting texture.
Split the process over 2 days / make it overnight:
This is my biggest advice when it comes to this type of recipes. Prepare and rest your dough in advance and forget it in the fridge until the next day. Even if it’s not difficult, the waiting time between each step can become mentally exhausting and off putting, like it’s taking over your day, but it doesn’t have to be this way. 🙂
How to reheat / revive leftovers
You can warm them up in the microwave to soften them up again. Or did you know that you can wet / run stale bread under the tap quickly and bake them again for a few minutes (until dry)? They come out as good as new! 🙂
- 65g whole milk
- 15g brown sugar (or granulated/caster sugar will do too)
- ½ tsp dry active yeast (I used Allinson)
- 85g gluten free bread flour blend (I used Freee Foods)
- 15g tapioca starch/flour (also known as cassava)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (add ¾ tsp if your blend doesn't already contain it, the one I use already does)
- 1 egg (50g)
- 40g butter (add ¼ tsp salt if using unsalted)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- 45g raisins
- Olive oil (to brush over / second round of proofing)
- Egg wash (i.e. beaten egg, to brush over / before baking)
- 35g plain all purpose gluten free flour
- A few tsp of water
- 2 tsp honey
- Lemon juice (freshly squeezed or bottled)
BAKING TIME: 15-20 mins (maybe a bit more if you make your buns larger than mine)
* The flour blend I'm using (Freee Foods by Doves Farm) already contains xanthan gum. I've added a little extra in my recipe. If the blend you're using doesn't already contain some, make sure you add the adjusted amounts I included in brackets in the ingredients list).
PREPARE THE YEAST:
- Warm up the milk in the microwave (in 10 seconds increments) or in a pan on a hob. Dip your finger in to check the temperature, it should be somewhere between lukewarm and hot. You don’t want it to be boiling hot or too cold otherwise the yeast won’t work.
- Add in the sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Then stir in the yeast and let it sit in a warm place for a few minutes, until it dissolves and bubbles up. Note: don’t skip the sugar. This is what the yeast reacts with to create these bubbles and this is how you know that your yeast is working. If nothing happens, this means your yeast may be too old or the milk isn’t warm enough.
- Note: On a nice warm sunny day, I like to place the bowl on a window sill directly in the sun. But on cold winter days, you can place it near a heater/radiator or switch on your oven to the lowest setting and place your bowl on or near the opened door.
PREPARE THE DOUGH:
- Meanwhile, while waiting for the yeast to froth, soak your raisins in a bowl of hot water to hydrate them (so they don’t steal the moisture from your dough).
- In a large bowl, mix the the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and spices (cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg) together. Note: don’t forget to add salt if using unsalted butter.
- Then add the butter (melted in the microwave first – about 30 seconds) as well as the egg and frothy yeast mixture and mix with a spatula until smooth and lump free.
- Drain your raisins and stir in the dough.
LET IT REST (FIRST ROUND OF PROOFING):
- Wrap your bowl tightly with cling film and place it back in a warm place for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the yeast act. Note: don’t skip this step as it’s essential for the recipe to work. Bear in mind that on a cold winter day, it may take a bit longer for the dough to rise.
REFRIGERATE YOUR DOUGH:
- Once your dough has proofed and risen, put it in the fridge to make it more solid (easier to handle) and allow it to rest some more. Now the length is all up to you. A lot of professional chefs recommend refrigerating it overnight or for up to 24 hours for the best texture and flavour. But if you’re impatient or pressed for time, 2 to 3 hours will be just fine. Note: but I recommend waiting overnight simply to divide the task into two parts so the whole process doesn’t feel time consuming.
SHAPE INTO BREAD ROLLS
- Dust a bit of extra bread flour on your work surface.
- Spoon a portion of dough on top (I like to use an ice cream scoop for this). Note: make sure you don’t squash the dough as you do so. We want to retain all those little air pockets that the yeast created.
- Carefully toss it about in the flour with your hands and roll it into a ball, but don’t knead/squish it! We just want to shape it into a ball and cover it with a light coating of flour without deflating those air pockets. Note: carefully fix any cracks as best as you can by pinching them closed with your fingers.
- Place your dough balls on a baking tray or oven dish (greased with butter or cooking spray).
LET THEM REST AGAIN (SECOND ROUND OF PROOFING):
- Brush a light coating of olive oil on top of your hot cross buns.
- Cover them with a damp cloth and let them rest again in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 190C (374F). Note: what I do on a cold day is place the tray on a chair near the pre-heating oven.
BAKE YOUR HOT CROSS BUNS:
- Once the proofing is done, brush some egg wash (i.e. beaten egg) on top of your hot cross buns.
- For the crosses: mix plain flour with a bit of water, one teaspoon at a time, until you have a thick paste. Transfer it into a piping bag with a very small nozzle and pipe crosses over your buns.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven until the top is a nice golden brown colour. This is about 20 minutes for small ones (like mine), but they may need a bit longer if your buns are larger.
- Let them cool down for about 10 minutes, then place them upside down on a plate or cooling rack to cool down some more. Note: carefully run a spatula all around or underneath to unstick them if necessary.
- For the glaze: warm up some honey in the microwave, add a squeeze of lemon juice and brush over your hot cross buns. Note: you can also use warmed up apricot jam.
- Store in an airtight container.
HOW TO REVIVE LEFTOVERS / STALE BREAD:
- Reheat leftovers in the microwave to soften them up again (15-30 seconds).
- Or you can also wet them / run them under tap water quickly and bake them again for a few minutes in the oven.
Hope you enjoy them! 🙂