Cross Bun

Cross Bun


Still a few days and then it’s Easter again, the ‘Feast of the Resurrection’. I love Easter. It’s a time for eating all the nicest things you can imagine with complete impunity! The story behind Easter is long, very long. If you don’t mind, I’ll skip the origin and history of it and leave this to the historians, scientists, theologians and so on, to describe.

What is certain, is that this is the time of searching for hidden dyed eggs and also the time of a rich Easter breakfast. Especially this breakfast is a tradition that’s fully honored in our house. To prepare myself already a little for this, I’ve made these cross buns (this also saves me time later on so this might come in handy too at a later stage). The cross bun has a long and interesting history which is certainly worth while to get further into.

In England the popular ‘hot cross buns’ are also known as Shrove Buns. Back then, these buns were baked just for Easter and more especially on Good Friday. Therefore, they were also called Good Friday buns. It is quite clear that this cross bun points to the cross suffering of Jesus, but that it should be eaten hot, is the association with the hot offerings of the Germanic tribes. The popular belief thought that those who didn’t eat ‘hot cross buns’ on Good Friday, would die in the course of that year. These buns were even given to cattle as a remedy for diseases. Obviously, you would now think that the origin of the bun lies in England, in fact, this is not the case.

Let’s go back to the year 8 B.C., four years before the birth of Jesus. Let’s have a look at what happened then in the entire (at that time) non-Christian population in Europe, the Northern and Central European nations to be exact. Every year at springtime (which met on the first Saturday after March 21st and was called ‘Sunnabend’), it was habbit that people gathered out of their villages and everyone who was able to, collected timber, piled it around an oak tree and set it on fire. While people sat around the fire, they kneeled and beseeched ‘Sunna’ (their goddess of the dawn), to return the expected coming spring days. This was the time of the spring solstice, when winter ends and the warm spring months start (interestingly is that the German word for Saturday is ‘Sonnabend’, which is a direct link to the Saturday night on which the goddess Sunna was worshiped). Having sacrificed to the goddess of Spring on this Saturday night, the people then retreated into the next morning. Then, some time before dawn, they met each other again outside, with their faces toward the east, toward the rising sun, giving thanks to their goddess Sunna for bringing back the spring days. This day, the first Sunday after the 21st of March was a holiday, a day of joy with many celebrations and games. One of these games was the search for hidden dyed eggs. Although the eggs ranged from color, the main colors were red and gold, symbolizing the rays of the sun. Lots of eggs were sacrified to the spring goddess and others were eaten. The egg was regarded as the sign of germinating life in spring. Also hot cross buns were baked and sacrificed to the goddess to give what was needed to welcome a ‘new’ life for an entire new year.

All things considered, you can say that the cross bun is not just a sandwich, but it’s obvious, me preparing them, has nothing to do it with a sacrifice or anything like that. I think Easter is a beautiful occasion to present them as a variation on the breakfast table because as for the appearance I believe there’s nothing to argue about. They’re wonderfully tender in texture and the addition of the ingredients, raisins, apple, zest of lemon and orange and not to mention the cinnamon give it a great taste. Spread with a large dot of butter with or without jam or some other sweets, this bun gives Easter an extra momentum. Additional impetus brings more and new vitality, with the result that the full (Easter)circle is turned again.

Have a happy and above all delicious Easter!!




Recipe Cross Bun

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 12 Buns

Recipe Cross Bun


  • 500 gr white bread meal
  • 10 gr salt
  • 75 gr granulated sugar
  • 10 gr instant yeast
  • 40 g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 120 ml warm whole milk
  • 120 ml cold water
  • 150 gr raisins
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 apple (cored and diced)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • For the crosses
  • 75 gr flour
  • 75 ml water
  • Glaze
  • 75 gr apricot jam
  • Extra
  • bread flour for dusting your work surface


  1. Sift the bread meal in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add salt and sugar on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other side.
  3. Add the butter, eggs, milk and half of the water and mix the mixture gently with your fingers.
  4. Add little by little the rest of the water and continue mixing with your fingers until all the flour in the bowl is incorperated and until a soft dough (perhaps not all the water needs to be added, or maybe a little more in case the dough is too soft but not too moist).
  5. Continue mixing with your fingers until the mixture until a rough dough.
  6. Put the dough on a lightly with bread flour dusted work surface and knead by hand for 5-10 minutes until a soft and smouth the dough.
  7. When the dough is smooth and silky to the touch, transfer it to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for at least 1 hour or until it has doubled in size (if you have enough time let it rise for 2 or even 3 hours, this will only benefit the tenderness).
  8. Put the dough on a lightly with bread flour dusted work surface with and scatter the raisins, lemon and orange zest, diced apple and cinnamon on top.
  9. Knead by hand until all ingredients are well and evenly incorperated.
  10. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover again with a tea towel and let rise for 1 hour more.
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Knead the dough gently by hand until all the air in it is gone.
  13. Divide it into 12 pieces, make balls of and put them, fairly close to each other, on the baking sheet.
  14. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and let the dough balls rest for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size (the dough should spring back quickly when you press it light with your finger).
  15. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 220°C.
  16. Meanwhile mix the flour and water to make a paste for putting the crosses on the dough balls.
  17. Put the paste in a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle and pipe crosses on the dough balls.
  18. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown in color.
  19. Heat the apricot jam with a dash of water, strain it and brush the top of the hot buns with it.
  20. Leave the buns to cool on a wire rack.


The preparation time includes total rising time of 3 hours!!

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