Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns

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This recipe for Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns is very good indeed. Tangzhong is a Chinese method for improving dough. It has the affect of softening the baked items and it delays the staling of the items too. The method is similar to the Japanese Yudane method, but you cook the Tangzhong to a certain temperature. Basically a little of the flour and some liquid, for the recipe, goes on the stove until it reaches 65c/150F, to create a paste. Then, once cool, the paste forms part of the dough. It works very well indeed.

Since I like to experiment a little using Tangzhong in some Hot Cross Buns is a good idea. Hot Cross Buns, as you may know, are a traditonal British bun for Easter, specifically on Good Friday morning. But, these days, they are available long in advance of Easter, in the shops. Although the traditional ones use dried fruits such as currants, raisins and sultanas as well as chopped mixed peel. Any combination of those works well.

These days, though, the shops have lots of varieties, such as blueberry, chocolate chip, apple etc which are very nice. So include anything you can to try.

Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns


The ingredients for my recipe include sultanas and a little chopped mixed peel. Spices are important too, though that varies according to taste. Mixed Spice, readily available in the UK is very popular. But for this recipe I use cinnamon and allspice, both of which I like very much.

Apart from those ingredients everything else flour, eggs, milk, butter, yeast and salt make an enriched and very flavoursome bun.

A paste of flour, milk and a little sugar is also needed, to pipe crosses on the top of the buns, as well as apricot jam for a glaze.

Process for Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns

The process isn’t complicated, but it does take some time.

It starts with making the Tanzhong and allowing it to cool completely. It can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Next is the dough for the buns. That process works well in a stand mixer, particularly as it is a very sticky dough. Kneading the dough takes quite a while. I used my Ankarsrum Assistent mixer, but any stand mixer will work well.

I did make a slight error in my video, adding in my fruit before incorporating the butter. But it was fine. In the recipe below I will specify the butter first, as it makes the process easier.

Proof the sticky dough until it just about doubles in size. Then it is time to divide it into 12 pieces and form them into balls to proof again.

Make the paste for piping the crosses as the buns proof for the second time. A beaten egg is brushed over the top of the risen buns and the crosses are piped on the top.

Then they go into the oven, at 180C/160C Fan/350F, to bake for about 22 minutes. Once out of the oven it is time to brush apricot jam over the buns while they are still hot. Then let them cool before serving.

My Buns

Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns

I let my buns bake for 22 minutes. The rise was very good indeed. Once I put on the glaze let them cook. Then I had a taste, with some butter spread on half a bun. The flavour, with the lovely spices and fruit along with the delightfully soft texture was most enjoyable. I usually toast mine, but just with butter works well for such soft buns as well.

Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns – Video

Another lovely recipe is Hot Cross Buns – For Easter

Tangzhong Hot Cross Buns

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Bread, Easter BakingCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Tangzhong
  • 18g(2 tbsp, based on 150g per cup) bread flour

  • 90ml(6 tbsp) milk

  • Dough
  • 300g(2 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup)bread flour

  • 5g(1 3/4 tsp) Instant yeast

  • 5g(2 tsp)milk powder

  • 100g(2/3 cup) sultanas

  • 160ml(2/3 cup)hot black tea

  • 15g(1 tbsp) chopped mixed peel

  • 25g(2 tbsp) caster sugar

  • 2g(1 tsp) cinnamon

  • 3g(1 tsp) allspice

  • 3g(1/2 tsp) salt

  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)

  • 120ml(1/2 cup) milk

  • 42g(3 tbsp) soft unsalted butter

  • For the top
  • 50g(1/3 cup, based on scooping packed flour into 250ml cup)plain flour

  • 8g(1 tbsp) icing sugar

  • 60ml(14 cup)milk

  • 1 beaten egg, for egg wash

  • 40g(2 tbsp) warm apricot jam, for glaze


  • Pour the tea into the sultanas and leave them to soak.
  • Mix the flour and milk for Tanzhong in a saucpan.
  • Stirring all the time, heat it on the stove until it thickens into a paste with the temperature at least 65C/149F.
  • Place the tangzhong into a bowl and cool completely.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer place the milk, yeast, sugar, milk powder, cinnamon, allspice, egg and tangzhong and mix to combine.
  • Add half the flour and mix until combined.
  • Add the remaining flour and the salt and mix into a shaggy dough.
  • Knead the dough until quite smooth and stretchy, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the butter and knead again for about 8 minutes, until fully incorporated and the dough is silky.
  • Mix in the sultanas and chopped peel.
  • Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap until it has just about doubled in szie.
  • Place the dough on a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Keep your hands floured if the dough is very sticky.
  • Form each piece of dough into a ball and place them on a lined baking tray, leaving a small gap between each. Make 4 rows of 3 balls.
  • Cover the tray with greased plastic wrap and leave the dough to rise until nice and puffy, about an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
  • Mix the icing sugar, flour and milk together to make a thick, pipable, paste.
  • Place the paste into a piping bag.
  • Brush the top of the buns with beaten egg.
  • Pipe a cross onto each bun.
  • Bake the buns for 22 minutes.
  • Brush warmed apricot jam over the top of the hot buns and allow to cool

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