News, recipes, information and helpful tips for living gluten free

News, recipes, information and helpful tips for living gluten free


Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

These gluten free hot cross buns flavoured with orange and cranberries are definitely a labour of love.  Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients, or the fact that you will need time to let your dough rise. With a little planning your efforts will be rewarded with delicious light textured buns that you will want to eat straight from the oven. Successful bread baking depends on getting the percentages of ingredients just right, so a good set of digital kitchen scales will help. If you’re not keen on mixed peel, add sultanas instead. Good luck and Happy Easter.

Hot Cross Buns
350g gluten free plain flour (See GF Flour mix recipe below)
5g xanthan gum
3g salt
35g caster sugar
10g milk powder
15g CMC* (or gluten substitute, see below)
14g instant dry yeast
2g nutmeg, ground
3g cinnamon, ground
50g butter, softened
1 egg, room temperature
225ml tepid water (37C)
75g dried cranberries
35g currants
20g mixed peel
Rind of 1 orange

Rinse currants and cranberries in warm water, drain and combine in a bowl with mixed peel and orange rind. In a separate bowl, whisk egg with half the water (approx. 115ml). Set aside.

Sift all dry ingredients except yeast, into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add sugar and then yeast to dry ingredients and stir with a spoon. Add softened butter and the egg and water mix. 

Add fruit mix and remaining water – enough to bring the mixture into a dough.  The dough should be smooth, not sticky. More water can be added if needed (up to 275ml). If you find the dough too sticky, spray your hands with a little oil to make it easier to handle, rather than using a lot of extra flour. Fruit should be evenly distributed through the dough. 

Cover the bowl and leave in a draft-free area for 10 minutes to let dough recover. Cut off and weigh balls of dough, approx. 60-70 grams. Place the dough balls a few centimetres apart on a bench or plate covered with plastic wrap. Cover dough balls with another piece of plastic wrap and let recover for 20 minutes. 

Roll the balls back into shape if they have started to rise, and place in a lightly greased cake or slice pan with sides. (I use a 24cm round quiche tray). Tightly pack the buns so they rise higher rather than spread out, they must touch. A muffin tin with papers also works, with each each ball placed in a lightly sprayed muffin paper. 

The buns need time to rise or proof, so they almost double in size. This may take up to 2 hours in a warm, draught-free place. A great place to let dough rise is in a warming oven if you have one. You can use your regular oven by turning on the light which generates some heat, but don’t let the temperature rise above 30°C or you will dry out the crust and the buns won’t rise. A sunny position, with your tray enclosed in a plastic bag is another suggestion.

Preheat oven to 220°C.
Pipe a cross onto the top of each bun using a disposable piping bag, or a plastic snap-lock bag with the corner snipped off.  Using a pastry brush, glaze the buns with lightly beaten egg. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and glaze with bun wash.

Gluten Free Flour mix
150g quinoa flour
300g glutinous rice flour (sticky rice flour, see note below)
100g potato starch
50g  gluten free cornflour
50g tapioca flour
Sift all dry ingredients to thoroughly combine and store in an airtight container. 

Bun wash
50g caster sugar
100ml water
Add sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Cool. Use a pastry brush to lightly spread wash over buns when removed from oven. 

Cross paste
50g potato starch
50g glutinous rice flour (sticky rice flour, see note below)
12g milk powder
pinch GF baking powder
pinch salt
24g butter, softened
140ml water
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add water and butter and mix to a smooth paste. Make sure mix is firm enough to be piped onto the buns.

* Chef’s notes 
CMC. Carboxymethylcellulose helps the flour mix bind and acts like a balloon making a skin for the air to be trapped in as the dough rises. It is used as a stabiliser, thickener, film former, suspending agent and extender. It is available from cake decorating shops, online, or from supermarkets as a gluten substitute, such as Organ brand Gluten Free Gluten.

Yeast. Choose a good quality instant yeast and make sure it is within its ‘use by’ date and not been sitting in the back of your pantry for a few years! Suggested brands include Lowan (available at supermarkets), Mauripan and Fermipan (available online or specialist bread baking suppliers).

Glutinous Rice Flour. This is finely milled sticky rice flour, it does not contain gluten. Most Asian grocers or supermarkets will carry Erawan brand glutinous rice flour.  It is also available in health food shops and online. Erawan also produces tapioca flour and regular rice flour.

Xanthan gum.  Xanthan gum is used in gluten-free cooking to bind, thicken and emulsify gluten-free ingredients. If you prefer, you can substitute for flax seed meal instead. 


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