An adventurous Easter: sourdough hot cross buns


On this road trip, we’ve noticed the different types of place names that you can find in Australia. Words from England, Scotland, other places in Europe, and from the Aboriginal languages.

We have our share of Inverary, Baden Powell, New England, Kingston, even Neuhaus. Words from the old world. Then, we have words from our first people, strange and beautiful sounds. Araluen, Adaminaby, Cootamundra, Tumbarumba, Wagga Wagga, Wee Waa, Jindabyne, Gundagai.

A trip into regional Australia becomes a jumble of these names and sounds. A pair of city slickers finding new sights and sounds, new air to breathe.


We have seen a lake and a river (any large body of water inland of our dry continent is a mesmerising sight); so many cows and sheep, and glimpses of the Snowy Mountains. We have also seen old train stations with cast iron lace, rusty sheds, ruined timber bridges. And that’s only the first few days.

I knew we would be on the road, so I made hot cross buns early this year, and using sourdough starter called Patrick, no less! I’ve nurtured wee Patrick since Christmas, but have only started baking with him.


This first excursion into enriched dough was… an adventure. Patrick wasn’t as lively as he could have been, so the buns were a tad dense. Still, they were appropriately chewy and flavoursome, with just enough sour to add flavour and not so much as to overwhelm the sweetness.

I think Patrick is game to take other breads, when we come back from this road trip. Right now, he’s probably pondering future bread-y fun. Or, maybe he’s dreaming of gate-crashing Angie’s Fiesta Friday dressed as hot cross buns – !


Sourdough hot cross buns

60g starter
310g milk
220g white flour

200g strong white flour
50g wholemeal flour
7g salt
75g brown sugar
1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon
75g butter

5g olive oil
25g water
23g flour

Sugar syrup
25g caster sugar
25g water


1. Starter: Mix the ingredients together and leave for ~12 hours or overnight.

2. Soak 250g dried fruit (currants, raisins, candied peel) in boiling water, and leave for 12 hours.

3. Dough: Melt the butter and mix into the dry ingredients.
Add starter and fruit. Mix/knead briefly, leave for 10 minutes.

4. Knead: Repeat the kneading until the dough becomes shiny and silky. Leave to proof / bulk for 3-4 hours, with folds every hour. (I just hand kneaded the relatively sloppy dough every hour or so.)

5. Proof: Divide into 14 xΒ  90g (~12 x 100g) balls, shape into balls/buns as though you are shaping miniature bread loaves.

6. Put in fridge overnight, or leave on the counter to proof for 2-3 hours (as I did). Mine didn’t puff up very much, but they should become at least 1.5 times in size.

7. In the final 30 minutes of proofing or in the next morning, preheat the oven to 200C / 390 F.

8. Decorate: Then, make piping mix by mixing the piping ingredients together. Brush tops of buns with milk. Pipe crosses into the proofed buns.

9. Bake: Bake for ~25 mins. Another baker suggested baking at a slightly higher temperature (400F) for 5-10 minutes, and then reducing the temperature slightly (maybe 380F?) for the remainder of the time, to get a browner crust, but mine seemed browned and glossy enough without changing baking temperature.

10. Glaze: Make sugar syrup by simmering sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved, and then a minute or two. Glaze warm buns with sugar syrup after they come out of the oven.



Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

59 thoughts on “An adventurous Easter: sourdough hot cross buns

  1. Nancy 21 April 2014 at 1:16 am Reply

    Now that’s what I call a photo tease! Those have to be some of the most beautiful hot cross buns I’ve ever seen πŸ™‚ They sound delicious, Saucy. Thanks for sharing them with the Fiesta Friday group…yummy!

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 6:05 pm Reply

      Thanks Nancy, you were such a good host for FF, thanks for visiting! πŸ™‚

  2. The Novice Gardener 21 April 2014 at 1:26 am Reply

    Does Patrick have any offspring you can loan to me? ‘Coz I wanna make sourdough buns, too, after I saw these, and I can’t possibly brew a new Patrick and wait for 4 months! That must have taken the patience of an Angel. But, I’ve always known you are an angel! Lemme know, after you come back and get plenty of rest, etc., when you feel like co-hosting FF. I could use some help. ❀

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 6:03 pm Reply

      Angie, it actually doesn’t take very long to cultivate a starter, is just I took forever to start making bread with mine!! My bad.
      Just let me know when you want me to host FF!

  3. birgerbird 21 April 2014 at 1:35 am Reply

    I love anything made with a starter and great that you got Patrick out and made him go to work! This morning I am getting my new starter . . . I used a new method because in our house my starters just never get lusciously bubbly like they should . . . . and I think I’m going to try gougers. I feel like anything with eggs and milk has a better chance than straight up flour. Now, these little cross buns look marvelous! Happy Easter! Wagga Wagga!

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:40 pm Reply

      Oh that sounds interesting! Do let me know how you go with gougers??
      I know, Wagga Wagga is a great name, right? πŸ˜€

  4. […] Saucy […]

  5. laurasmess 21 April 2014 at 2:36 am Reply

    Oh yum. I love, love the idea of sourdough hot cross buns. I’m definitely not gifted with sourdough starters though… I’ve killed three already. I hope that Patrick continues to find his ‘bubble’ as you feed and nurture him! These buns look gorgeous despite the density. Yum. Love hot cross buns. Happy Easter! xx

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:38 pm Reply

      Oh, I also killed the first attempt too, and then only succeeded with super flours like rye, and wholemeal bread flour. It’s almost like a food blogger rite of passage, to kill a hapless starter!
      I’m also hoping Patrick keeps up the good workwork – no pressure Patrick! πŸ™‚

  6. tinywhitecottage 21 April 2014 at 3:40 am Reply

    Patrick, the sourdough starter! Now that takes baking to a whole other level. I must read up a little, I don’t know the first thing about a sourdough starter. I barely know anything about using yeast in baking. Oh boy, do I have a LOT to learn. These are so handsome.

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:33 pm Reply

      Little Patrick has been getting so much attention, the pressure is on for his next baking adventure!
      Sourdough and yeast seemed really intimidating, but once I started to try a few things, failed a couple of times, suddenly it didn’t seem that hard, and it’s fun to see the dough puff up over a few hours to twice its size! πŸ˜€

  7. yummychunklet 21 April 2014 at 5:40 am Reply

    How sweet! Happy Easter!

  8. chefjulianna 21 April 2014 at 6:34 am Reply

    You are so finny! Patrick, huh?

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:27 pm Reply

      There’s a story behind the name, maybe in another post! πŸ˜‰

  9. Ngan R. 21 April 2014 at 6:54 am Reply

    Wow! That’s a long time to nurture a starter, yes? Well, it seems long to me since I’m not so adventurous in the bread and bun making business. These hot cross buns look fabulous, though, and Patrick surely did his job well to create such delicious looking mounds of goodness. Thanks for bringing the buns to Fiesta Friday, Saucy!

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:27 pm Reply

      Glad to hear the Fiesta cried liked these!
      I’ve been making things from the starter for a while, just not bread – I was working up the courage!! Lol. But we got tasty pancakes and pasta in the meantime so it was all good. πŸ™‚

  10. […] An adventurous Easter: sourdough hot cross buns. […]

  11. lemongrovecakediaries 21 April 2014 at 8:47 am Reply

    Good to see Patrick earning his keep, can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. I will be sure to show Hamish pictures of Patricks offspring so he can see how it’s done πŸ™‚

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:25 pm Reply

      Haha! Let me know if Hamish is inspired! I’ll tell Patrick he now has to live up to our expectations! πŸ˜‰

  12. deliciouslynell 21 April 2014 at 10:15 am Reply

    Those look delicious! You really can’t do easter without hot cross buns! What a great fiesta friday treat! πŸ™‚

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:23 pm Reply

      Glad the Fiesta crowd enjoyed these! What a party! πŸ˜€

  13. Patty Nguyen 21 April 2014 at 10:19 am Reply

    What a good fellow this Patrick is! Can’t wait to see what else you make with him! πŸ˜‰

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:22 pm Reply

      Yep Patrick is geared up and ready to produce more doughy goodness! πŸ˜‰

  14. Chelsweets 21 April 2014 at 10:53 am Reply

    Love the look and sound of these πŸ˜€

  15. Kirsten 21 April 2014 at 11:26 am Reply

    Awww, how sweet you’ve named your starter!
    I started a starter back in August, and have been making bread weekly with it. It has no name. My bread maker died last month, and we went on vacation earlier this month plus I dithered over the replacement, so the starter just came out of hibernation. Bread tomorrow!

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:19 pm Reply

      Thank you Kirsten, I love your blog – wow those wild violet muffins! I’mI’m just a sourdough novice at the moment, but looking forward to more! πŸ™‚

  16. Liz 21 April 2014 at 2:58 pm Reply

    yet another reason to love Saucy–you name your starter! I’ve had mine for 12 years and it still remains nameless. But I do know its next purpose–sourdough hot cross buns. Brilliant πŸ™‚

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:12 pm Reply

      There’s a story behind the name! It adds a bit of fun each day as the husband can ask “how is Patrick doing? Have you fed him yet?” πŸ˜€

  17. Gather and Graze 21 April 2014 at 3:47 pm Reply

    Looks like Patrick did a pretty amazing job – they look fabulous and full of flavour! I’m so in awe of my blogging friends making their own sourdough starters… naming them and nurturing them like children… very admirable indeed! πŸ™‚

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 4:09 pm Reply

      Haha, thanks Margot! Maybe it’s like training for having children – if you don’t kill a pet rock, you can upgrade to a plant or sourdough starter. If that works out… πŸ˜€

  18. lapetitepaniere 21 April 2014 at 5:38 pm Reply

    Happy Easter, Saucy. Now, it’s my turn to keep your hot cross buns in my mind πŸ™‚ They look really delicious!

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 3:30 pm Reply

      Thank you Linda! I hope you had a good Easter break too!

  19. theseasonedtraveler 21 April 2014 at 9:31 pm Reply

    So lovely and timely! Happy Easter!

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 3:15 pm Reply

      Thanks Laura, I hope you had a good Easter!

  20. Karen 21 April 2014 at 10:38 pm Reply

    Enjoy your road trip…I hope you had a nice Easter.

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 3:11 pm Reply

      Thanks Karen, we are just coming to the end of the road trip, it has been great getting away from the city!

  21. Lisa 21 April 2014 at 10:57 pm Reply

    Love your sourdough take on hot cross buns! What a great idea. They look fantastic!

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 3:05 pm Reply

      Thanks Lisa, I was really glad the hot cross buns worked out! πŸ™‚

  22. Cteavin 22 April 2014 at 12:42 am Reply

    The pics and recipe look divinely inspired.
    One day, after my abs come back, I’ll make something this. Until then, I’ll have to live vicariously. πŸ˜‰

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 3:03 pm Reply

      Haha! Didn’t I hear that sourdough is healthy/good for you? πŸ˜‰

  23. 22 April 2014 at 1:03 am Reply

    Now this is a recipe I need to try – I love sourdough bread, buns, muffins and so on. My starter is ready for a new recipe – thanks πŸ™‚

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 3:02 pm Reply

      Thanks for visiting! I’m just starting out on the sourdough journey, it’s very exciting. I’ve just had a look at the sourdough recipes in your site – they look great! will be trying them out when we are back at home!

  24. nancyc 22 April 2014 at 3:25 am Reply

    Those look so good! Wonderful photos!

  25. Jody and Ken 23 April 2014 at 3:32 am Reply

    Chewy? Dense? I’ll still take a dozen! My experience with sourdough is exclusively with bread and and the occasional batch of pancakes–never tried working with what is usually a yeasted roll recipe. Good for you. These sound and look (great photos) delicious. There’s something wonderful about the idea of driving around rural Australia while chowing down on hot cross buns. Ken

    • saucygander 24 April 2014 at 6:58 pm Reply

      The past week has been wonderful, partly because we only occasionally had mobile and internet. Having home baked goods was a bonus!

  26. chantal 23 April 2014 at 10:17 pm Reply

    Those cross buns sound great and yummy!
    Very good idea to use sourdough to achieve them.
    Chantal from T

  27. Aditi 24 April 2014 at 4:46 am Reply

    Oh do these look good! I love your step by step instructions- so crisp and clear.

    • saucygander 24 April 2014 at 6:20 pm Reply

      Thank you so much! I love your blog as well, always so full of great ideas! πŸ™‚

  28. Mary Frances 24 April 2014 at 4:48 am Reply

    Sourdough hot cross buns sound like a very cool idea!

    • saucygander 24 April 2014 at 6:19 pm Reply

      Thank you! They were fun to make. πŸ™‚

  29. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 25 April 2014 at 9:23 am Reply

    I often take for granted how unique our names are in Australia but you do see people’s expressions when they hear names like Woolloomooloo and yes they are different entirely! Nice to meet Patrick! πŸ˜€

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 3:37 pm Reply

      Thanks Lorraine, Patrick is pretty chuffed about the attention he’s getting! πŸ˜€

  30. Johnny / Kitschnflavours 25 April 2014 at 12:02 pm Reply

    Are you sure hot cross buns aren’t supposed to be dense? Okay, the commercial type aren’t going to be. But I wouldn’t want to eat those. It’s not so easy to tell just from photos but yours look similar to my third batch. Phew, I didn’t realise at the time that enriched dough is such a pain! Hasn’t put me off from using yeast, though. Patrick?! Don’t think I like to ask. πŸ™‚

    • saucygander 25 April 2014 at 3:36 pm Reply

      Yeah, the sourdough buns should be denser than the commercial ones, but mine could have done with a bit more rise/oven spring. It still had decent flavour though, so I’m willing to try enriched sourdough buns again.

      As for the name Patrick, that’s a post to itself, but there’s a real Patrick! πŸ™‚

Penny for your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: