making my own vegan hot cross buns

Monday 19 June 2017

vegan hot cross bun
It will surely come as no surprise that I love hot cross buns. Having tried and sampled many over the seasonal months, I decided to have a go at making my own. Couldn't be too hard right?!

'An attempt was made' can summarise the experience.

The recipe I used


- 1 cup warm soy milk (about 90 degrees)

- 1/2 cup sugar

- 1 tbsp instant or active dry yeast (not rapid rise)

- 2 tbsp ground flax seed

- 3 tbsp warm water

- 2 tbsp orange juice

- 3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour

- 2 tbsp cinnamon - 1 tsp nutmeg - 1/4 tsp cloves - 1/4 tsp allspice 1 ½

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 1/4 cup melted margarine, or oil

- zest of 1 orange

- zest of 1 lemon

- 3/4 cup currants

- soy milk for brushing


1. Mix sugar, soy milk, and yeast together in a large bowl. Let sit until yeast is hydrated (about 1 min for instant yeast, a few mins for active dry). Add 2 tbsp of soy milk

2. In a separate small bowl, mix flax seed and water together. Let sit for 1 min to hydrate, then whisk until thickened. Whisk in orange juice, then add to soy milk mixture.

3. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour, spices, margarine, and zests and bring into a dough, adding more liquid or flour as needed. The dough should be firm but still tacky. Knead on a lightly floured surface (or in a stand mixer) for 5-8 mins, until smooth, kneading in the currants right at the end.

4. Place in an oiled bowl, turning dough to coat, cover, and let rise until doubled (1 to 1.5 hours).

5. Line a backing sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 100g each), and shape into a ball. Place on prepared sheet and press down to flatten. Mist with oil, cover, and let rise until about doubled (30-45 mins). Preheat oven to 400 or gas mark six.

6. Before baking, uncover and cut a shallow cross into the top of each bun with a razor blade or sharp knife. Brush with soy milk + maple syrup and bake for 15-17 mins, until a deep golden brown.

7. While buns are baking, bring glaze ingredients to bubbling over medium heat in a small saucepan. When buns come out of the oven, brush with glaze. Let sit for 1 min, then brush with glaze again. Let cool in the pan. The glaze is optional. It adds some sweetness, but also helps keep the buns fresh by sealing them off from the air.

8. When buns are cool, mix together icing ingredients (it should be stiff but not too stiff) and fill in the cross shapes with a piping bag. The corn syrup is optional, but does help the icing retain its shape.

The Results 

vegan hot cross bun

So they turned out a bit disappointing. I did deviate from the recipe quite a bit so that might explain it!?

Instead of using whole purpose flour, I used a mixture of wholemeal flour and bread flour because I assumed we had more wholemeal, but we didn't. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail I suppose. They tasted a bit heavy and bread like probably because of the bread flour. I also could’ve done with adding more almond milk or liquid to my mixture as it was a bit too heavy. The mixture should probably have been lighter and elastic. Because the mixture was too dry some of the currants clumped together when I introduced them to the mixture. I have clearly learnt my lesson and will keep these mistakes in mind for when I eventually remake these. I'm usually a cake-dessert baker kinda gal so baking something bready was new for me, but I found the process super fun and exciting.

As for how they tasted, they were okay, edible. I forgot to buy orange and lemon peel and just assumed we would have some in the fridge; we didn't. By this point I had already started the baking process so I had to improvise with the zest of a clementine (not enough) and added an extra dash of orange juice to make up for the lack of fruit peel. It didn’t really work too well, as the buns didn't taste very fruity in the end. I should've peeled more clementines but they tasted okay, just a little bit plain and bready and missing that fruity touch.

The entire mixture made around 10 and because they weren't too great I ate most of them and the rest when stale after a few days. On the upside, I made my glaze out of orange juice and maple syrup which looked super shiny at first but lost it's shine after a couple of days.

I think the lesson to take away from this experience is double check ingredients, prepare well and don't make so many assumptions. This is only round one and I am determined to make my next batch so much softer and better in all ways possible!

I shall leave you with a quote that really resonates with me: hot cross buns are for life, not just for Easter.

Have you ever made your own hot cross buns before? Did they turn out better than mine? (I hope so) 

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