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Good Friday Hot Cross Buns

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Good Friday is a major fast day but it is traditional for simple foods to be eaten after the Good Friday church service which takes place from 12-3 pm (the hours that Our Lord was on the cross).

In Great Britain, Hot Cross Buns are traditional fare on Good Friday. They originated at Saint Alban’s Abbey in 1361. The buns were marked with the sign of the cross and distributed by the monks to the poor.

Hot Cross Buns

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. (heaping) baking powder

1/2 tsp. (scant) baking soda

2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Spices: Cardamom, nutmeg, allspice (optional)

1/2 c. raisins

1 Tablespoon orange zest

Cooking spray

1 egg white

Splash of milk

Egg Wash:

One egg

Optional Toppings:

Flour Crosses:

1/2 cup bread flour

5 Tbsp. water

Apricot Glaze:

1/4 cup apricot jam

2 tsp. water


1 egg white

Powdered sugar

Splash of milk

For the buns: Combine 2 cups milk, oil, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Stir and heat until very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until mixture is still warm, but not hot, about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the yeast over the milk mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine. The mixture will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside for 1 hour.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold together to combine. At this point, you can cover tightly and store the dough in the fridge overnight or continue on with making the buns.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar with the cinnamon and whatever other spices you want to use.

On a lightly floured surface, stretch and press the dough to slightly flatten. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle on about a third of the raisins. Then fold the dough over on itself and flatten so the dough is "plain" again. Repeat the sugar/raisin process, then fold and flatten the dough again. Repeat a third time until all the raisins are used. (You won't use all the sugar/cinnamon mixture.) Fold the dough one last time.

Pinch off golf ball-sized bunches of dough. With floured hands, quickly roll the dough into a ball, then turn the edges under themselves slightly. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes (an hour or more is better).

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Mix 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Brush onto each roll. Now, here comes a topping option! If you want to go "old school", now's the time to add your flour crosses. If not, continue to the next step.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops of the buns have turned golden brown. Remove from the pan and allow them to cool completely.

If you added flour crosses but want a little more sweetness, brush the cooled rolls with the apricot glaze.

If you didn't want flour crosses, pipe your hot cross buns with icing. Mix 1 egg white with enough powdered sugar for the icing to be very thick. Add a splash of milk, as needed, for consistency. When the rolls are completely cooled, add the icing to a small plastic bag and snip the corner. Make a cross on each roll with the icing.

I hope that you have a blessed Good Friday!

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