It’s not Easter without hot cross buns and I have quite the soft spot for sweet spiced yeasted doughs with jammy dried fruit! There as definitely no way I going to miss out on an opportunity to make a recipe for gluten-free hot cross buns!
This recipe makes a dozen soft, perfectly spiced vegan and gluten-free hot cross buns. Smoother them in butter when they’re still slightly warm from the oven or toast them with a cup of tea the following day.
What do you need to know before you make this recipe?
The ingredients list for this recipe is a little hefty. At one point I was tempted to cut it down by making these hot cross buns with a store-bought gluten-free flour but there are a few good reasons not too.
Firstly if you’re in the US, Canada or Australia, the store-bought gluten-free flour you purchase will be completely different from the one I used in the UK. Using a specific blend of flours means that if you live out side of the UK your gluten-free hot cross buns are more likely to succeed. Plus these particular ingredients and the way I’ve used them means the recipe can be made without soy, xanthan gum or milk powders, making it completely allergen friendly.
Questions about the recipe or did something go wrong with your gluten-free hot cross buns? I’ve included all the recipe notes at the bottom of the page with the hope of improving your experience here at blue border. If you found this useful, I’d love your support on Instagram, click here to follow.
- 10g quick yeast
- 350g lukewarm water
- 50g non-dairy butter or margarine
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. mixed spice
- 75g brown sugar
- 250g non-dairy milk
- 20g psyllium husk
- 12g ground flaxseed or ground chia seed
- 180g potato starch
- 80g tapioca starch
- 85g white rice flour
- 100g sorghum flour
- 80g buckwheat flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 200g mixed dried fruit, with citrus peel
- Zest 1 orange
For the crosses
- 40g gluten-free plain flour
- 50g water
For the glaze
- 2 Tbsp. apricot jam
- 2 Tbsp. hot water
In a medium bowl, combine the water with yeast. Mix well and set to one side. After 10 minutes, the yeast should be frothy and bubbly (if the yeast has not bubbled, it may be expired and need replacing).
Place the butter in a small pot and melt on a gentle heat, add the cinnamon and mixed spice and continue to heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and add the sugar and milk. Mix well to combine. To this mixture add the psyllium husk and ground flaxseed. Mix again until the mixture starts to thicken.
Into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, sift the potato starch, tapioca starch, white rice flour, sorghum flour, buckwheat flour and salt. Add the mixed dried fruit and orange zest and briefly mix through the flour.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yeast mixture along with the milk/psyllium mixture. Use a wooden spoon (or fit your stand mixer with a dough hook) and mix until well combined, 3mins approx. The dough will be very wet and sticky.
Use wet hands to gather the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with a tea towel. Keep in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the dough has noticeably grown in size (the dough won’t double in size because of the dried fruit but it should look bigger).
Preheat the oven to 200C and place a heatproof bowl of water at the bottom of the oven. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and dust a clean surface with buckwheat flour.
Weigh out the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into compact balls (the dough will be very sticky, so have extra flour for dusting to hand).
Transfer the balls of dough to the baking tray in a three by four configuration. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Prepare the mixture for the crosses by combining the water and gluten-free plain flour. Mix until a smooth paste forms. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a narrow circular nozzle.
Place the apricot jam into a small bowl and add the boiling water. Mix until the jam has dissolved.
Brush the buns with half the apricot jam and then pip on the crosses. Bake the buns for 25 – 30minutes. The tops should be golden and the bottoms should sound hollow when tapped. Brush the buns with the remaining apricot jam and allow them to cool.
NOTES: Gluten-free Hot Cross Buns
I appreciate it’s annoying to have to track down five different flours for one recipe but if you’re planning on doing any gluten-free baking mixing your own flours is the key to success.
I wanted these gluten-free hot cross buns to be light and soft and so I opted for 50% starchy flours and made up the rest with medium (white rice) and heavier protein-rich flours for structure.
In the UK I order my flours from Shipton Mill. They have an incredible range of gluten-free flours and you can get them all in one go.
If you choose to use a pre-mixed flour or a different combination of flours (in which case I can’t guarantee the recipe will work!) you may need to adjust the water content slightly. If your dough feels at all dry after mixing, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of additional water until you achieve a sticky dough (similar to that of a well-hydrated sourdough dough).
The flour and dried fruit will continue to absorb water as the dough rises but the dough will still be very sticky. If it’s too sticky to shape, dust your hands and the dough with more buckwheat flour until you’re able to form it into balls.
Psyllium husk powder
Psyllium husk is a type of dietary fibre. In gluten-free yeasted doughs, psyllium is used as a binder and in this recipe, it’s an excellent replacement for gluten, eggs and dairy. I see a lot of recipes insist on psyllium husk powder over the psyllium husks but I haven’t noticed a massive difference in performance when switching between the two.
In this recipe, ground flaxseed is working with psyllium to replicate gluten. Gluten-free bread doughs can tend to lack stretch and hardly ever double in size. The combination of flax and psyllium gives this dough enough structure to see a notable rise.
Recipe Questions & Troubleshooting
Why didn’t my dough rise?
If your dough didn’t rise, your yeast may be expired and need to be replaced or your dough was too dry after mixing. Gluten-free doughs need a lot of liquid and if you don’t add enough the dough will struggle to rise (see the note about flour).
Why is the dough so sticky?
This recipe has a high proportion of water which makes a very sticky dough. The flour will absorb the majority of the moisture during proving (rising) and the dough should be much easier to handle once it’s risen.
The dough will be very soft but you should be able to shape it into balls easily. If you are struggling to shape the dough, dust generously with buckwheat flour and try again.
Do I have to add the psyllium and flaxseed?
Yes, you won’t get the same rise or texture without them. Most gluten-free dough recipes call for eggs, dairy, xanthan gum or whey powder. The combination of psyllium and flax means you can make this dough completely allergen friendly.
Is this gluten-free hot cross bun recipe allergen-friendly and suitable for coeliacs?
Yes, this recipe is nut-free, soy-free, egg-free and dairy-free and is suitable for coeliacs. If you’re not working in a gluten-free kitchen and you’re making this recipe for someone with coeliacs disease just make sure there is no cross-contamination with any gluten-containing ingredients.
How do you store these buns?
These hot cross buns will be very soft the day they’re made. Once they’ve cooled enough to slice, make the most of eating them fresh. Any buns you don’t eat within the first day are best sliced in half, frozen and toasted before eating.