GLUTEN FREE HOT CROSS BUNS (UPDATED 2022)
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For many of you, Hot Cross Buns are a staple in your kitchen every year by the end of lent. But for me, I just heard of them when I move to Ireland. As time passed, I tried them and I love them. That is why I made the Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns version.
WHAT ARE HOT CROSS BUNS?
Hot cross buns are mildly sweet and spiced buns, which have dried raisins, sultanas or currants and a white cross on top.
These buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday marking the end of Lent. This is a tradition that started in England and has spread to Ireland and a few other Catholic countries.
Depending on what country you are from the hot cross buns have different meanings. One of them is it represents the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside suggest the spices used to preserve him at his funeral.
You can eat these Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns all year round, whether for breakfast, snack, or Sunday brunch, with your afternoon tea or coffee, warm or room temperature they are scrumptious. Certainly, I am glad that I made the gluten-free version so now I can enjoy them anytime I feel like it.
WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR THESE GLUTEN FREE HOT CROSS BUNS?
We have a task here which is to make these buns soft and try to mimic that pull apart that gluten flours have.
The flours I used were a blend of tapioca starch, corn starch, buckwheat and brown rice flour. Why? Well, I love buckwheat and talking in terms of nutritional facts, has less carb and calories, and more fibre and protein than brown rice flour. I know, in the ratio of the flour tapioca starch has the most but we need the starches to mimic light and fluffy gluten flours.
The other two ingredients that will help us to achieve the gluten texture are Psyllium husk and xanthan gum. Which in theory are thickeners and binders, that will give the elasticity that our gluten-free dough is lacking of. But to achieve a smooth surface of the dough you must knead the dough whether by hand or electric mixer (hand or stand). Follow the directions for the best result. (I updated this recipe this 2022 and you will be seeing the pictures of the old recipe against the new one, so you can judge by yourself which looks and has better texture)
We need something to get them big and fluffy and that is going to be the job of the instant dry yeast, baking powder and baking soda for an extra puff when they are baking.
I am going to say that these buns wouldn’t be so tasty if they didn’t have the spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice (or cloves if you don’t get your hands on the other one). For me is the perfect blend. Additionally, for flavouring I used orange zest and juice for the glaze.
Because I am dairy intolerant, I am using whole eggs and non-dairy milk as liquids substitute in this recipe. Also, the eggs will help to bind all the ingredients as well as add moisture to the recipe.
ARE THESE DAIRY-FREE HOT CROSS BUNS?
Yes, indeed. By using apple sauce as a substitute for the butter, we are adding extra moisture to these buns. Making them soft and moist at the same time. However, I am using olive oil to help keep these buns soft for longer.
WHAT IS THE CROSS MADE OF?
The cross on top of the buns, believe it or not, is simply made of flour, sugar and water!
After the dough has been proven, you brush the buns with an egg wash. However, I didn’t want to waste an egg there so I used non-dairy milk instead, or none at all, and they came out of the oven lovely golden brown.
Next, you will pipe the dough in a cross shape throughout all the buns. I made the dough or thick paste by mixing gluten-free flour, sweetener and cold water. Then place the paste in a piping bag and piped away. As the Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns bake the cross will thin out looking more like lines.
TIPS FOR MAKING THESE BUNS
- Kneading: As we all might know making gluten-free dough is not the same as making normal gluten dough. In which you will have to knead the dough for gluten development. On the other hand, here there will be some kneading involved to improve the dough texture.
- Psyllium husk: follow the instructions to the T and you will succeed. Don’t rush it, let the psyllium husk rest for 10 min to absorb all the hydration added from the liquids.
- The dough will be sticky which is why you must use oil on your working area, hands, and scraper. Do not add flour this will make the dough get dryer and the buns will end up hard as a rock. Keep oiling your hands as you need it.
SHAPING AND PROVING THE HOT CROSS BUNS
You need to slam the life out of these buns is one of the methods I use to achieve a smooth surface, along with rolling them on the work surface and my hands. Then place them 2 to 3 centimetres apart so when they proved they will be touching each other for that pull-apart bakery look, that we all love.
You will need a warm space for the buns to prove. You want fluffy sponge buns, not dry rock-hard buns.
To create a warm environment draft-free, I turn on the light in the off oven, and place a bowl with boiling hot water in the oven. Place your buns covered with cling film to avoid the buns from drying. Allow the dough to rise until double for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, all this in a 38 to 40 C environment. I also place a digital thermometer in the oven to check that the temperature doesn’t go up above 42 C.
If the weather is hot (30C or over), you can skip the oven step and leave the covered dough on the counter. Consequently, the dough might prove a lot quicker. And when it is colder (under 20C) I suggest using the oven technique.
Now that the Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns have proved to double is time to make the crosses and bake.
FAQS GLUTEN FREE HOT CROSS BUNS
CAN YOU MAKE IN ADVANCE THESE SWEET BUNS?
Yes, you can. I have made these buns over 3 days before eating them.
HOW MANY DAYS THESE HOT BUNS WILL LAST?
In my experience, they will last up to a week on the countertop at 20 C max. If the room is warmer I suggest freezing them or storing them in the fridge in an airtight container or as I do in a ziplock bag. They will be soft, not as the first day but not rock hard at all. Just preheat your oven to 100-150 C and turn off the oven with the light on, place them on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 to 15min. Check during this time the softness, they will be ready whenever you want.
CAN YOU FREEZE THESE GLUTEN FREE BUNS AFTER ARE BAKED?
Yes, just make sure the buns have cooled down fully before freezing them. Wrap each bun with tin foil or cling film, and place them into a zip-lock bag or freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge before heating it up in the oven, or defrost in the microwave (without the cling film or tin foil, zip-lock bag) for a few minutes. Then place in the oven to warm up or use the toaster.
CAN YOU SUBSTITUTE ANY OF THE INGREDIENTS?
Yes, you can substitute the flours just bear in mind that different flours have different levels of liquid absorption. You can also use sugar cane instead of zero calories sweeteners how I use it in this recipe, it is all up to you. Also, you can use coconut sugar as a part of my sweeteners because it is low GI and give a soft caramel flavour to the Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns. If you are not a fan of raisins or sultanas, you can swap them for dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips, or white chocolate chips.
If you follow a low fodmap diet and grain-free diet these are the substitutions you have to make. Avoid the Sultanas, although Cranberries can be consumed no more than 15g per serving. As per the grain-free flour, you can substitute brown rice flour for green banana flour or cassava flour.
HOW TO SERVE THESE SWEET FRUITY GLUTEN FREE HOT BUNS?
You can eat these buns warm from the oven, room temperature, toasted, with some ghee spread over, coconut butter, nut butter, my sugar-free homemade Nutella or my Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. They are perfect, for breakfast, snack, brunch, or any time your macros and calories allow you to eat them.
If you froze them let them thaw in the fridge and place them in the oven at 100C until they are warm, or slice open and pop them into your toaster and Enjoy!
WANT MORE HEALTHY GLUTEN FREE RECIPES?
Protein Pumpkin Donuts
Pumpkin Oat Cookies
Christmas Cake Protein Donuts
Pumpkin Protein Bread
Red Velvet Cake Protein Truffles
Double Chocolate Protein Banana Bread
Protein Magnum Ice Cream Bars
Chocolate Protein Pancakes
Red Velvet Protein Donuts
Protein Pumpkin Tart with Graham Cracker Crust
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GLUTEN FREE HOT CROSS BUNS (UPDATED 2022)Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Recipes, SnackCuisine: EnglishDifficulty: Easy
These Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns are easy to make. They have the texture, softness, and fluffiness of the originals, dairy and sugar-free
70g Tapioca Starch, gluten-free
30g Corn Starch or more tapioca flour, gluten-free
60g Buckwheat Flour, gluten-free
55g Brown Rice Flour, gluten-free *, or green banana flour or cassava flour (please read the post for low fodmap substitutions)
4g Instant Dry yeast (quick yeast), gluten-free
6g Psyllium Husk Powder, organic and gluten-free
1 tsp Baking Powder, Double acting, aluminium-free, GF
½ tsp Baking Soda, gluten-free
¼ tsp Salt
¾ tsp Ceylon cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
Zest of an Orange
½ tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
90g Water, warm 30 C
40g Apple Sauce, unsweetened
30g Egg (1/2 large egg)
10g Egg Yolk (1/2 large egg yolk)
8g Xanthan Gum, gluten-free (the second last ingredient to add with the oil)
30g (2 tbsp) Olive oil (the second last ingredient to add with the xantham gum)
32g dried fruit (raisins, sultanas*, cranberries*), the last ingredient to add
2 tbsp Allulose, zero calories sugar substitute
Juice of an orange
10g (1tbsp) Rice Flour *
1 ½ tbsp water
- First, if you live in a cold country or the temperature is below 30 C, you need to find a warm spot draft-free in your kitchen. I personally create a warm environment in the off oven with the light on and place a bowl with hot water and close the door to keep the moisture and warmth in.
- Now in a large bowl if using a hand mixer or the bowl of your stand mixer, measure all dry ingredients but the xanthan gum, and the dried fruit, whisk until fully combined and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the warm water, apple sauce, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract if using and orange zest, and whisk until fully combined.
- Add the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and with the paddle attachment (stand mixer) or beaters (hand mixer) beat for 3 minutes until no dry pockets are left, cover with a kitchen towel (tea towel) and let it rest for 10min.
- Now add the xanthan gum and the oil and knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes, to make sure the xanthan gum is well integrated into the dough and to give strength to the dough.
- When just 2 minutes are left add the dried fruit of your choice and knead until the 10 minutes are up.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled surface and with oiled hand and scraper, divide the dough into 6 pieces of 85 grams each.
- To shape the buns, grab one piece and form a ball with your hand slammed on the oiled surface a few times to even out the dough, then with the palm of your hand and circular movements form a ball, then perfect with both hands and place on a prepared lined up baking tray with parchment paper, repeat with all the pieces. Make sure to leave about 1-2cm in between, so they have space to proof.
- Place the buns in the warm area to proof for about 90min at 40 C or until double in size.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) fan-assisted/200 °C (400 °F) Conventional. Meanwhile, let’s make the crosses. Mix the cross ingredients and place the mixture in a piping bag or any bag and cut the end for a tiny hole.
- Pipe the crosses, if you would like, paint the top of the buns with an egg wash or some dairy-free milk (I really don’t do this), and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the internal temperature of the buns reaches 87°C (190°F).
- Remove from the oven and the baking tray and place on a wire rack to cool down for 10min.
- Meanwhile, prepare the glaze, mix the allulose and orange juice in a small pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- When the buns have cooled but are still warmish, paint with the orange glaze using a cooking brush.
- Enjoy with my homemade Nutella, sugar-free Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Blackberry jam, or anything you like.
- * For Low Fodmap do not include either sultanas or cranberries. For more low fodmap substitutions please read the post.
6 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories231
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 1.2g 6%
- Cholesterol 39.2mg 14%
- Sodium 185.7mg 8%
- Potassium 32.7mg 1%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 3.2g 13%
- Sugars 4.7g
- Protein 3.5g 8%
- Vitamin A 1.6%
- Vitamin C 7.6%
- Calcium 27.3%
- Iron 1.9%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.