No Yeast-er Hot Cross Buns

Naturally Leavened Hot Cross Buns

No yeast? No problem! You can still make the most amazing hot cross buns for Easter using your sourdough starter culture. You’ll need a bit of time to make these hot cross buns but it’s well worth the effort. Soft, fluffy, subtly sweet and jam-packed with fruit and spices, these hot cross buns are right on the mark. Additionally, a couple of Sourdough BREADSMITH twists on the traditional recipe makes them eggs-tra special!



80g white 00 or cake flour
20g unrefined raw or soft brown sugar
20g active sourdough starter
40g water

Fruit Soak

100ml strong black tea
60g raisins
40g currants


250 g white 00 or cake flour (70%)
100g strong white bread flour (30%)
50g unrefined raw or soft brown brown sugar (10%)
160g pre-prepared sweet leaven (40%)
110-120g milk (30%)
2 large eggs
80g unsalted softened butter (20%)
10g salt (2%)
2 tbs of orange marmalade or the zest of one orange
2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves

Paste for the crosses

70g strong white bread flour
80g milk
10g unrefined raw or soft brown brown sugar


Sugar glaze

2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs boiling hot water




Prepare the leaven at least 4 hours before you want to mix your dough, this can be done up to 12 hours in advance. You could either mix this up the evening before you want to bake, or first thing in the morning on the day. Mix the flour, sugar and water with your active sourdough starter, cover and allow to double at room temperate.

Fruit Soak

Brew up some very strong black tea (2 heaped tsp of loose leaf to a cup should do it) and when its cooled slightly, pour over the dried fruit. Cover and leave to soak at room temperature until most of the tea has been absorbed and the fruit has plumped up nicely.


When the leaven has doubled in size, mix the dough. This is much easier in a stand mixer as it will be quite wet and sticky initially. Put the wet ingredients in the bowl first, then add the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed for a few minutes until a rough shaggy ball of dough forms. Add only 110g of milk initially, and then add the rest if the dough seems a bit dry after mixing.  If you’re using marmalade hold this back until you add the fruit.

Cover and leave it to rest for 15-20mins.

Slowly mix in half the butter until fully incorporated, then mix in the rest and knead the dough for 5-6 mins until smooth and elastic. Check if the dough passes the window pane test, if not knead for 1-2 mins more.

Rest the dough for 5-10 mins and then slowly mix in the drained fruit soak and the marmalade.

Cover the dough and rest at room temperature for 3-4 hours bulk proof until there has been a 30-50% increase in size. Alternatively, let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour then pop it in the fridge overnight for the bulk proof.

When the bulk proof is complete, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide with a bench scraper into 12 equal pieces. Lightly pre-shape into balls, cover and rest for 10-15mins then roll into balls.

Place onto a lightly floured baking tray lined with baking parchment, cover and leave to prove at room temperature for a few hours until they have almost doubled in size and poking the dough gently leaves a slight indent. This can take between 2-6 hours depending on temperature.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C when the dough has almost risen (give it at least 30 mins if you can).

Mix the paste for the crossed and pipe on just before putting the dough in the oven.

Bake for 10 mins at 200C then drop the temperature to 180C and bake for another 20-30 mins until golden brown.

Mix the glaze and brush over the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. Leave to cool slightly, tear open, slather in butter and scoff while still warm. These are also delicious toasted the next day if they last that long!


Thanks and credit for the base recipe to My Daily Sourdough Bread

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published