Vegan Hot Cross Buns: White Flour Batch

Written by  McDonald, T.  |  Date 5th of April 2021

Hot cross buns are a sweet treat at Easter for Christians in the UK. They are a bun with crosses on, have sultanas or sometimes over fruits such as apple in with spices and mixed peel.  People have them as a snack with butter and jam or just butter at anytime over Holy week and Easter.  Some people like to toast them while overs eat them as they are.

Since i am a vegan, i wanted to make a vegan version of this traditional British Easter bun.  I chose to go with the traditional fruits and mixed peal because i know this is what people are expecting and i didn't want to disappoint them.  The mixed spice adds a unique flavour; however, i  added more cinnamon so as not to stray to far from the traditional bun.  In addition, i added both lemon and orange zest simply because i had both in the fridge and they needed using up.  The zest adds a fresh zing to the flavour. Moreover, i choose to use plain white flour to keep the bun lighter in texture since wholemeal and bread flour can make the texture heavier and carser.

As soon as i picked up the dough, i instinctively knew it was far to wet.  I lost some of the dough because it had stuck to my fingers and i couldn't get it all off.  I solved the problem by adding more flour and then kneaded as usual adding more flour as a went until the dough reached the diseased consistency.  Adding more flour did result in some of the dough sticking to the flour bag and in the end i had to put the flour in a new container since the bag was reined. 

The buns turn out OK eventhough the dough still seems to be too heavy.  The flaviour was great and the texture inside the bun was fine, but they would have been better if they were safter.  Making a bun light and soft without using egg is more difficupt than i thought.

On reffection, i added another 25g to the 250g of flour to make 275g of flour for the recipe and next time i will test the dough before leaping in to knead it.  In addtition, putting the flour in a cleanable container instead of leaving it in the bag would make cleaning up after such an inccident much easier.  Furthermore, adding the milk and butter miture incromentally rather than pooring the lot in in one go would give me a chance to see how the dough was going and i would have a chance to add more floor at this ponit making it an easier problem to solve.


Hot cross buns are a very British thing in remembrance of Easter with a distictive cross that represents the cross that Jesus died on.  Christians don't celebrate the death of Jesus so this is a very sombre occasion. However, we do try to make it fun for the kids by giving Easter eggs and baking buns.  This is a different recipe that uses an egg alternative made from milled flax seed and warm water making the recipe vegan.  In this recipe i have chosen to stick with tradition and use plan white flour to make a lighter dough.  The point of this recipe is to create a tasty vegan alternative to a classic British bun for Easter.

Makes 7 -8 Buns


  • Plain flour x 275
  • Flax seed x 1 tbsp
  • Warm water 2 tbsp
  • Vegan milk x 100ml
  • Water to add to the milk x 50ml
  • Vegan butter x 25g
  • Instant active yeast x 3.5g
  • Sultanas x 40g
  • Mixed peal x 25g
  • Mixed spice x 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon x 1/2 tsp
  • Salt x 1/2 tsp
  • Caster sugar x 37g
  • Orange or lemon zest


  • Hand grater
  • Scales 
  • Meadium to large mixing bowl
  • Useable work survice such as a work top or chopping board
  • Wooden spoon
  • Meidum to large baking tray


Stage 1

  1. Mix the flax seed and the warm water in a small bowl and leave for 10 - 15 minutes. 
  2. Sift the flour into the mixing bowl and add the salt, spices and yeast. 
  3. Heat the vegan milk and add the vegan butter so it melts.  It is important not to heat it to much. 
  4. Make a well in the four mixture. 

Make a well in the flour

Mixture should not be steaming

Stage 2 

  1. Poor the milk and butter  into the well you have just made.  Be sure that the milk and butter is not too hot or it will kill the yeast.  You should be able to easily hold your finger in the milk without any discomfort. The milk should definitely not be steaming! 
  2. Use a wooden spoon to fold the flour into the milk and butter.  As you mix with the spoon, you should get a sticky firm mixture. 
  3. Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough with your hands until it is smooth and elastic.  This should take about 5 minutes or so. 
  4. Put back in the mixing bowl with some oil to stop it sticking and leave for an hour or until it has doubled in size. 

Sticky dough before kneading. 

Troubleshooting this stage

Dough to sticky or wet

I made the dough to wet, so a added more flour incremental until i had rectified the problem.  The dough should not stick to your fingers.  As you knead the dough, anything dough stuck to your fingers should come off.   If it doesn't come off within the first minute, then your dough is to wet and needs more flour.

Dough to dry

Simple add more water.  Do this in small amounts until the dough is holding together. 

Stage 3

  1. Take the dough out of the bowl and flatten it out with your hands.
  2. Add the sultanas and mixed peel on top of the dough.  Add the zest of lemon and orange then fold in and knead until everything is mixed evenly throughout the dough. 
  3. Put back in the mixing bowl and leave to rise again for another hour or until it has doubled in size.

Had grater to zest the lemon and oragne

Spread the friut and zest out on the flattened dough
After kneading the dough for a second time, put back in the bowl

Stage 4

  1. Divide the dough into 6 or 7 pieces.  Shap into a bun and place them on a greased baking try. 
  2. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise yet again for about an hour or they have doubled in size. 
  3. Once the buns have risen for the last time, make the paste for the cossess and cross the buns. 


Buns laid out on a try before the last rise

Final Stage 

  1. Preheated oven to 200 C 
  2. Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the tops have gone golden brown in the middle of the oven. 

It is a good idea to keep an eye on the buns while they are in the oven.  Everyones oven is different so the temperature may need adjusting for time to time 

Buns cooling on a cake rack

The buns turned out ok in that they are vegan and did taste good.  However, they were not as light and as soft as i was hoping for. 

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