This Fluffy Hot Cross Bun Loaf uses the Japanese Milk Bread water roux method for heavenly soft and delicious results. Perfect for Easter breakfast or year round!
TRY ALSO… my Sourdough Hot Cross Buns!
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Hot Cross Buns
Hot cross buns may just be the best thing ever – I love them with a passion. Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, these sweet spiced buns may be one of those things I am powerless to resist!
They are so fragrant and so delicious toasted with butter…But what’s even better is hot cross buns made using the Japanese Milk Bread tangzhong method.
What the heck is Tangzhong?
Tangzhong is a starter made with water and flour, literally a water roux. Added to dough it creates a type of bread that is pillowy soft, incredibly delicious and that stays fresh for days (simply reheat in the oven or toast).
You can use this method to make all types of breads and I find it works best on slightly sweet doughs.
Tangzhong makes dough incredibly sticky so it almost impossible to make by hand. It is best to use a bread machine or, failing that, a stand mixer. Make sure your starter is cool before using otherwise you may kill the yeast.
You know what might be better than HTB?? A hot cross bun loaf which can be sliced and toasted for the best breakfast ever.
I left out the traditional raisins in favour of chocolate chips – my children are grossed out by ‘raisins in things’. But you can use any combination you like – dried cranberries or cherries work really well.
Orange and Chocolate Hot Cross Bun Loaf (Tangzhong method)
- 25 g | scant 1oz strong white bread flour
- 125 ml | 4fl oz water
Hot Cross Bun Loaf
- 350 g | 12oz strong white bread flour
- 125 ml | 4fl oz whole milk
- 120 g | 4oz tangzhong all of the starter you made
- 60 g | 2oz dark brown sugar
- 60 g | 2oz unsalted butter very soft or melted
- 2 tbsp skimmed milk powder optional
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp instant dried yeast suitable for bread makers
- 1 tsp salt
- zest of 1 orange
- 100 g | 3.5oz mixed citrus peel
- 100 g | 3.5oz dark chocolate chips or raisins
- 1 egg lightly beaten with 1tbsp water to glaze
- 2-3 tbsp apricot jam to glaze
For the cross
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp milk more if needed
- To make the tangzhong, put the flour and water in a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the roux thickens. When the whisk leaves a trail of lines on the surface, it is ready. Put in a small bowl and place cling film directly on the surface to prevent a crust forming. Set aside to cool.
- To make the dough in a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, spices and zest to the mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the starter, milk and egg. Start mixing using the dough hook and add the softened butter once the dough forms a ball.
- Keep mixing until the dough passes the windowpane test (stretch it in your hands – it should form a thin membrane that is almost transparent without tearing). This can take up to 15 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and prove for an hour or until double in size.
- Grease a 20cm(8in) loaf tin and line with baking paper, letting the excess paper hang over the sides.
- After the proving, tip the dough on a floured worktop, knock it back and knead in the mixed peel and chocolate buttons until they are incorporated into the dough.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and place into the prepared tin. Cover with greased clingfilm and set aside for an hour until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Brush the loaf with the egg wash.
- Mix the flour and milk in a small bowl until you have a thick but pourable paste. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe a cross onto each round of hot cross bun loaf.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until the loaf is risen and a deep golden colour. Cover with foil after 20 minutes if it is colouring too rapidly.
- Heat the apricot jam until runny and brush all over the loaf to glaze.
Select the dough setting and add the butter when a soft dough has formed – after several minutes of kneading. The bread machine will mix the dough and do the first round of proving. Proceed with step 5 of method above.