Justin Gellatly is one of Britain’s best bakers: head baker and pastry chef at St John for twelve years, Justin is responsible for the now legendary doughnuts from the St John’s Bakery. In his new book Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding, Justin shows you how to make mouth-watering treats, ranging from the classics, to classics with a twist, to uniquely original recipes of his own.

Here’s his take on a seasonal favourite: the hot cross bun.

Hot Cross Buns – makes 14

These are an Easter classic, but you can make them during the rest of the year without the cross and have lovely spiced fruit buns for tea. You can also roll the dough into two logs and bake it in two 450g loaf tins, to make loaves instead of buns or, if you have any left over, use it to make a cheeky bread and butter pudding. Suitable for freezing (as raw dough or cooked buns).

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Proving/resting time: 4 hours

Cooking time: 15 minutes


225g strong white bread flour

70g dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

zest of 2 oranges

30g black treacle

25g fresh yeast, crumbled


400g strong white bread four

2 egg yolks

1½ teaspoons fine sea salt

125g softened unsalted butter,

chopped small


125g chopped mixed peel

4 pieces of stem ginger, chopped small

1 tablespoon syrup from the ginger jar

250g raisins


100g strong white bread ¾our

a pinch of caster sugar

a pinch of fine sea salt


100g caster sugar

20ml liquid glucose

STAGE 1: Put the four, sugar, spices and zest into the bowl of an electricmixer with a hook attachment and add 300g of water. In a jug or bowl, whisk together the black treacle, yeast and water and add to the dry ingredients. Mix for 4 minutes on medium speed, then cover the bowl and leave for 1 hour.

STAGE 2: Add the stage 2 ingredients to the stage 1 mix, and mix together on a medium speed until all is incorporated.

STAGE 3: Add the stage 3 ingredients to the stage 1 and 2 mix and mix together on a medium speed until you have a glossy, smooth dough (it will be fairly sticky). If the dough seems too wet, add a little more four. Then cover the bowl and leave somewhere warm for 2 hours.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the mixture on a lightly floured surface and cut into 120g pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and place them on the prepared baking tray, leaving plenty of room between them as they will spread out. Cover with clingfim and set aside until doubled in size (this should take about 1 hour).

While the buns are proving, make the cross mix and the glaze.

To make the cross mix, whisk the sifted flour, sugar, salt and 120g ofwater together until you have a smooth paste and pour it into a piping bag with a 4mm wide plain nozzle.

For the glaze, place the sugar and glucose in a heavy-based saucepanwith 100g of water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the temperature reaches 105ºC on a kitchen thermometer – it will take about 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160°C/gas 4.

Once the buns have proved, pipe a cross on top of each one and bake for 14–15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. After 2 minutes, brush with the bun glaze.

Serve warm, with plenty of butter.

Justin Gellatly’s Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding is released by Fig Tree on May 29.

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