Hot cross buns recipe: How to make Bread and Butter Bakery's famous Easter treat

As Easter approaches, many of us will be indulging in a hot cross bun or two (or three) as something of a daily ritual. Whether you like 'em toasted with lashings of butter or fresh and slathered in jam, everyone has their preference as to what constitutes the perfect HCB.

Many bakeries have been rolling out their Easter-themed offerings in the lead-up to the long weekend, and last year, Newshub did a round-up of where to buy the best buns across New Zealand

One haunt that didn't make the final draft is Grey Lynn-based bakery and café, Bread and Butter - however, the popular eatery has cultivated a reputation among Aucklanders as something of a hot cross buns' hotspot. Their award-winning recipe has beat out a number of buns in multiple competitions and in a typical year, the team bake between 25,000 and 30,000 for their loyal customer-base. 

To celebrate the upcoming holiday, the founder of Bread and Butter, Isabel Pasch, has shared with Newshub the recipe for the bakery's organic HCBs. Whether you celebrate Easter to commemorate Christ's Resurrection or you simply enjoy an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there's no better time to don your apron and create some tasty treats. So cast aside that supermarket six-pack - let's get baking. 

Bread and Butter Bakery and Café's hot cross buns

Recipe courtesy of founder Isabel Pasch

Bread and Butter's organic hot cross buns are made with a fermentation time of 12 hours, which allows the team to use only a small amount of yeast in the dough. This long fermentation results in subtle flavours, a moist texture and easier digestibility.

The majority of the ingredients used in Bread and Butter's hot cross buns - including flour, sugar, fruit, butter and salt - are of organic or certified sustainable origin, and are much better for digestion and the environment.  

Hot cross buns recipe: How to make Bread and Butter Bakery's famous Easter treat
Photo credit: Supplied

Equipment needed

  • 1 baking tray or 1 approx 24 cm square or round cake tin
  • KitchenAid stand mixer (optional)
  • Piping bag with fine tip, or plastic freezer bag
  • 1 large mixing bowl.


Makes 10 to 12 hot cross buns

  • 750g strong bread flour
  • 360ml milk (full fat or trim)
  • 1 egg
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 100g golden sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence or 0.5 a scraped vanilla pod
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 tsp active dry yeast or 30g fresh yeast.

Egg glaze

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 tsp spice mix (as below).

Spice mix

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves.

Soaked fruit mix

  • 160g raisins
  • 80g cranberries
  • 40g currants
  • 40g dried apricots
  • 150ml warm water.

Cross mix

  • 100ml water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 80g flour.
Hot cross buns recipe: How to make Bread and Butter Bakery's famous Easter treat
Photo credit: Supplied


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C, no fan.
  2. All ingredients should be at room temperature. Start by soaking the fruit for 1 hour.
  3. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk and add 1 tbsp of sugar. Add approximately 150g of flour and mix to a runny batter. Stand in a warmish place for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and starting to rise.
  4. Add the rest of the flour, sugar, egg, vanilla, salt and spices. Roughly mix with a wooden spoon.
  5. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands. Knead and punch the dough until all ingredients are combined and the dough is smooth. Add the butter. It gets a little messy again, but as the dough starts to bind the butter, it will become smooth and shiny. Mix by hand for about 10 minutes. Or, if using a KitchenAid or similar, use the dough hook and start on slow for three minutes, then go to fast for three minutes. After adding the butter, knead for another two to three minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated.
  6. Drain the fruit mix, add it to the dough and mix until evenly distributed (one minute if using a mixer).
  7. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for 60 to 90 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Tip: you can do this rise overnight. Instead of letting your dough rise, place it in the fridge and take it out the next morning. It pays to reduce the amount of yeast by a third for this step.
  8. Tip the dough out of the bowl and punch it flat. Divide it into 10 to 12 equal portions, roll the portions into round buns and set at an equal distance on your greased cake tin or free shape on a tray. Leave them to rise for another 30 to 60 minutes (depending on the temperature in your kitchen). Your buns are ready to bake if they spring back quickly when lightly pressed. If they don't spring back quickly, they still need more proofing. If they make a hissing noise and deflate upon being poked, you have overproofed them and the best you can do is bake them as quickly as possible, but the results won't be ideal.
  9. To make the crossing mix, mix the ingredients together into a smooth paste. If it's too thick, add a little water (just a drop at a time). If it's too runny, add a little flour. The mix should flow smoothly, but not run completely flat. Test by letting it run off a spoon. If you are happy with it, fill a piping bag fitted with a fine tip with the mixture, or a plastic freezer bag with the corner cut off for piping.
  10. Just before placing them in the oven, pipe the cross mixture onto the buns.
  11. Glaze the buns around the crosses with the egg and spice mix.
  12. When placing the buns in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 190C. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (depending on your oven) or until they have the desired colour.
Hot cross buns recipe: How to make Bread and Butter Bakery's famous Easter treat
Photo credit: Supplied