Big, fluffy, tender Orange Currant Hot Cross Buns perfect for a holiday celebration or any day of the week really.
Today’s recipe comes from a new cookbook, The Bread Collection, by Brian Hart Hoffman. Red Star Yeast sent me the cookbook, along with another cookbook, Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and some of their fabulous Platinum Yeast as a gift.
The Bread Collection cookbook is filled with gorgeous mouth-watering pictures that will make you want to head to the kitchen and start baking. You can see a preview of the section pages of the cookbook on Bake From Scratch.
What is a Hot Cross Bun
A hot cross bun is a lightly spiced sweet bun (roll) typically made with currants or raisins with a cross on the top. Traditionally served on Good Friday or Easter, the cross on top of the bun is a reminder of the cross on which Jesus was killed.
Making Orange Currant Hot Cross Buns
This recipe adds a triple dose of orange flavor to the rolls. First, you plump up the currants by soaking them in orange juice. Second, you add orange juice to the spiced roll dough.
Then the third and final step is to add a sweet honey-orange glaze to the rolls after baking. The glaze gives the buns a pretty shine and adds a little extra sweetness to the not too sweet rolls.
Many hot cross bun recipes have you create a cross on top of the buns with icing. Instead of using icing to decorate the tops of the buns, in this recipe you make a cross with a pasted made with flour and rose water. I didn’t have rose water paste, so I used plain water.
The recipe recommended using a #10 piping tip. I didn’t have one so I used a little bigger one and my crosses were bigger than the one pictured in the cookbook shown above.
My paste should have been thicker as well. I added a little extra water to the paste recipe so it would pipe easier, but added too much not realizing the paste would spread while baking.
Baking Hot Cross Buns
The recipe has you bake the rolls on a pizza stone lined with parchment paper. I thought it was a clever idea. I used it when I baked my Pizza Monkey Bread for our Super Bowl party and it worked great as well.
Next, I need to try using a pizza stone to make Cinnamon Rolls and one of my favorite sweet rolls, Cranberry Citrus Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls. The rolls pull apart so easily and would be easier to frost than in a 9×13 pan.
Be sure and lined the baking stone with parchment paper for easy cleanup. I used two sheets of parchment and cut the edges to form a circle.
My family loved how light and fluffy these rolls were, however, they missed the sweet icing on top. So when I make them again, I would skip the flour crosses and add an icing cross instead.
If you love baking bread, you’ll enjoy baking from The Bread Collection. The Strawberry Coconut Babka pictured on the front cover is on my list to make soon, as well as the Apricot Sweet Buns. It’s also filled with lots of savory breads if you prefer less sweet breads.
There’s a section of recipes for quick breads, twist breads, yeast bread, and pull-apart breads. Something for everyone to love.
Orange Currant Hot Cross Buns
- 10 ounce package dried currants
- 1 cup warm 180° F orange juice
- 8 – 8 ½ cups flour divided
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 packages 6 ¾ teaspoons quick rise dry yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- ⅓ cup orange juice strained
- 3 large eggs
- Zest from 1 large orange
Egg wash and Hot Cross Paste
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoon rose water*
Honey Orange Glaze
- ½ cup clover honey
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice strained
- In a large bowl, combine currants and 1 ¼ cups warm no-pulp orange juice. Cover.
- In the bowl of a large stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix 5 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Combine milk and butter in a sauce pan or microwave safe bowl. Heat until warm (120°-130°F), stirring constantly. Add to flour-yeast mixture. Add orange juice and eggs. Beat 1 minute at low speed. Scrape down dough from sides of bowl. Beat 3 minutes at medium high speed.
- Switch to the dough hook, on low speed gradually add 3 cups flour, add more or less as necessary flour to form a soft dough. Scrape down dough from sides of bowl. (If you don't have a large stand mixer, you may have to mix the remaining flour in by hand.)
- Mix in drained currants and orange zest. Knead until smooth, about 8 minutes, adding up to ½ cup more flour if needed. Dough should not be sticky.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 15-inch round pizza pan or stone with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
- Lightly punch down dough, and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, turn out dough. Divide dough into 18 pieces, and roll each piece into a ball. Arrange balls on prepared pan in a circular pattern, leaving a little space between pieces. Cover and let stand in a warm place until puffed and rolls are touching, about 25 minutes. (Rolls will rise to edge of pizza stone but will not spill over during baking.
- Prepare egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon milk and 1 egg. Brush top of rolls with egg wash.
- Prepare Hot Cross Paste: In a medium bowl, stir together 1 ½ cups flour and orange blossom water. Add ½ cup water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until a thick paste forms. Use a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton #10 tip, pipe paste over tops of buns to form a cross pattern.
- Baked until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- Prepare Honey Orange Glaze: In a small saucepan, bring honey and orange juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Brush warm rolls with Honey-Orange Glaze.