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Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun Loaf

Hot Cross Bun Loaf on a black slate with white tulips all around.
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A twist on a British classic Hot Cross Bun! Made with wholemeal flour, spiced with cinnamon and mixed spice, and stem ginger in addition to all the lovely dried fruit, this Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun Loaf is a brilliant Easter bread for a breakfast treat! Eat it fresh out of the oven or toast it and slather in salted butter! Or maybe just a drizzle of honey…

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If you find it daunting to use other types of flour (anything but plain white flour), you are not on your own. I have long been scared of stodgy dense bakes that rye or wholemeal flour is infamous for. Having experimented with various types of flour. I decided that I won’t be afraid anymore. Yes, the texture of the bakes is slightly different. And most of the time, the bakes will be a little denser, however, what is lost is fluff is made up for in flavour for sure.

Wholemeal flour is a wonderful, healthier alternative. Slightly nutty in flavour, it lends itself beautifully to spiced easter bakes, such as this one! Perfect flour for a perfect Easter bread loaf!

How is This Hot Cross Bun Recipe Different?

Well, first of all, we made a festive Easter Bread loaf instead of more traditional hot cross buns. In other words, we took the spiced hot cross buns and stuffed them in a loaf tin for a lovely loaf that can be sliced, toasted and eaten like a slice of fruity bread. We have also enhanced the flavours further with ginger, incorporating ground ginger into the dough, studding the dough with pieces of stem ginger and using ginger syrup for the glaze!

A slice of wholemeal hot cross bun is cut exposing a fluffy interior with fruit and ginger.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Can I Substitute Ginger With?

If you are not a fan of ginger, you really don’t have to use it. Simply skip the ground ginger in the main dough, omit the stem ginger (replace with mixed citrus peel, chopped up dried apricots or simply more sultanas) and don’t use any stem ginger syrup in the glaze.

But if you do like ginger, just don’t have any stem ginger andy, add some crystalised ginger instead!

How to Serve Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun Loaf With?

This Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun Loaf is best served on the day that it is baked. It is soft, fluffy and moist and doesn’t really need any additions. Store the loaf in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Toast slices of this Easter bread and slather with (salted) butter for best results!

What is Tangzhong? Why Use Tangzhong Method?

Tangzhong is an Asian baking technique, that is becoming more and more popular around the world. The method involves cooking a portion of flour with water until the mixture thickens. After cooling, this mixture is added to other ingredients. The method is claimed to make the dough rise better in the oven and create moister final bakes that taste fresh for longer. A perfect method to use when baking with wholemeal or rye flour to ensure less stogy, fluffier results. Read more on the Tangzhong method in Introduction to tangzhong.

How to Make Tangzhong for Wholemeal Hot Cross Buns?

In a small saucepan, combine plain flour and water. Heat over medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens into a paste. Take it off the heat and stir in the butter. Keep mixing until the butter melts and is incorporated. Then leave the mixture to cool down slightly (approx. 5min).

Beat in the milk. The mixture should be smooth and have no lumps in it. Leave it to cool down completely at room temperature (it shouldn’t take long, as the milk would have cooled down the mixture significantly).

Consistency of the Tangzhong before adding the milk.
This is the consistency of the Tangzhong before the milk is whisked in

Step-by-Step Recipe:

Make the Main Dough & Prove:

Mix the wholemeal flour, sugar, salt, yeast, mixed spice, ginger and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour the tangzhong mixture you made before (we had approx. 280g of it). Crack in the egg. Stir everything together to make a rough dough.

You can now tip the dough onto a kitchen surface lightly dusted with flour and knead by hand for approx. 15 minutes (but be prepared for a very sticky dough). Alternatively, knead it in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for 10 minutes. The kneaded dough should start coming off the sides and gather around the hook, but don’t expect it to be completely smooth and elastic.

Transfer the ball of dough into a clean bowl and cover with clingfilm or a tea towel. Leave it in a warm spot for 2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Incorporate the Fruit:

Once your dough doubles, stretch the dough into a rough rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread half of the sultanas, stem ginger and orange zest and fold the dough like a pamphlet (top third towards the middle, then the bottom third over it). Stretch the dough out once again and repeat with the rest of the fruit.

Shaping and 2nd Proof:

Divide the dough into 8 even pieces and roll them into tight balls.

Grease and line a loaf tin baking parchment (we only line the long side and butter the short side). Leave the baking pater sticking up above the rim so that you can use that to pull the loaf out of the tin once baked. Snuggly place the balls of dough in the tin. Cover the tin with clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave it in a warm spot to prove again for 1-2 hours (it should grow by about 70%). If your tin is smaller, and our dough is likely to rise above the rim, make sure to lightly oil the cling film.

Pipe Crosses & Bake:

Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. Once the buns have proved for the second time, prepare the paste for the crosses. Simply mix flour and water to make a paste of a pipeable consistency. (if you don’t have a small piping bag, use a zip lock bag with a cut corner or make your own using a sheet of baking parchment). Pipe the mixture in continuous lines along and across the rows of the dough balls.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until deep golden.

The crosses are piped on the proved hot cross bun loaf using a small ziplock bag with a corner cut off.

Glaze & Cool:

Whilst the hot cross bun loaf is baking, make the glaze by mixing orange juice, ginger syrup and sugar in a small saucepan and heating over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to bring to a boil and cook until it reaches a syrupy consistency, then remove from heat immediately.

Once baked, brush the warm glaze all over. Take the baked loaf out of the tin by pulling on the baking parchment. Leave to cool completely before slicing! This loaf is best served on the same day, but tastes great toasted for a couple of days after!

Glazing the baked hot cross bun loaf with orange and ginger glaze, uzing a green pastry brush.

If you’re looking for other ideas for your festive Easter bakes, have a look at some of our favourites below:

Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun Loaf served on a table decorated with white tulips.

Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun Loaf

A twist on British Easter classic Hot Cross Bun! Made with wholemeal flour, spiced with cinnamon and mixed spice, and stem ginger in addition to all the lovely dried fruit, this Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun Loaf is a brilliant Easter breakfast treat! Eat it fresh out of the oven or toast it and slather in salted butter! Or maybe just a drizzle of honey…
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Proving Time: 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs
Course Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine British, Easter
Servings 15 slices
Calories 172 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the Tangzhong:

  • 30 g plain flour
  • 90 ml water
  • 50 g unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 120 ml milk

For the Dough:

  • 320 g wholemeal strong flour
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 g fast-action yeast
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg medium
  • 1 orange zest only
  • 90 g sultanas
  • 50 g stem ginger

For the Crosses:

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • tbsp water

For Sugar Glaze:

  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp ginger syrup from stem ginger jar

Instructions
 

Make the Tangzhong:

  • In a small saucepan, combine plain flour and water. Heat over medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens into a paste. Take it off the heat and stir in the butter. Keep mixing until the butter melts and is incorporated. Then leave the mixture to cool down slightly (approx. 5min).
  • Beat in the milk. The mixture should be smooth and have no lumps in it. Leave it to cool down completely at room temperature (it shouldn't take long, as the milk would have cooled down the mixture signifactly).

Make the Dough:

  • Mix the wholemeal flour, sugar, salt, yeast, mixed spice, ginger and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour the tangzhong mixture you made before (we had approx. 280g of it). Crack in the egg. Stir everything together to make a rough dough.
  • You can now tip the dough onto a kitchen surface lightly dusted with flour and knead by hand for approx. 15 minutes (but be prepared for a very sticky dough). Alternatively, knead it in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for 10 minutes. The kneaded dough should start coming off the sides and gather around the hook, but don't expect it to be completely smooth and elastic.
  • Transfer the ball of dough into a clean bowl and cover with clingfilm or a tea towel. Leave it in a warm spot for 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
  • Once your dough doubles, stretch the dough into a rough rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread half of the sultanas, stem ginger and orange zest and fold the dough like a pamphlet (top third towards the middle, then the bottom third over it – see photos above). Stretch the dough out once again and repeat with the rest of the fruit.
  • Divide the dough into 8 even pieces and roll them into tight balls.
  • Grease and line a loaf tin baking parchment (we only line the long side and butter the short side). Leave the baking pater sticking up above the rim, so that you can use that to pull the loaf out of the tin once baked. Snuggly place the balls of dough in the tin. Cover the tin with clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave it in a warm spot to prove again for 1-2 hours (it should grow by about 70%). If your tin is smaller, and our dough is likely to rise above the rim, make sure to lightly oil the cling film.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. Once the buns have proved for the second time, prepare the paste for the crosses. Simply mix flour and water to make a paste of a pipeable consistency. (if you don't have a small piping bag, use a zip lock bag with a cut corner or make your own using a sheet of baking parchment). Pipe the mixture in continuous lines along and across the rows of the dough balls.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until deep golden.
  • Whilst the hot cross bun loaf is baking, make the glaze by mixing orange juice, ginger syrup and sugar in a small saucepan and heating over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to bring to a boil and cook until it reaches a syrupy consistency, then remove from heat immediately.
  • Once baked, brush the warm glaze all over. Leave to cool completely before slicing! Take the baked loaf out of the tin by pulling on the baking parchment. This loaf is best served on the same day, but tastes great toasted for a couple of days after!

Notes

Inspired by King Arthur’s Easy Hot Cross Buns

Nutrition

Calories: 172kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 166mgPotassium: 177mgFiber: 3gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 140IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Easter Baking, Easter Bread, Easter recipes, Ginger Hot Cross Bun Loaf, Ginger Hot Cross Bun Recipe, Healthier Hot Cross Buns, Healthy Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross BUn Loaf, Hot Cross Buns with Ginger, Hot Cross Buns with Stem Ginger, Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun Loaf, Wholewheat Hot Cross Bun Loaf
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9 Replies to “Wholemeal Hot Cross Bun Loaf”

  1. 5 stars
    What a fun twist on hot cross buns. This will be a hit with the family. Perfect for Easter morning.

  2. 5 stars
    Such a gorgeous addition to our Easter menu! Thanks so much for this recipe!

    1. Thanks, Toni! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Hot cross buns are my favorite and I love that you made it with wholemeal! The perfect Easter recipe. YUM!

    1. Angela, we think wholewheat works brilliantly with all the spices! Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    Love the addition of ginger in this loaf – my favorite part of the Easter holiday!

    1. We love ginger in pretty much any festive baking! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    What a fun idea this is! This sounds just delicious, perfect for easter!

    1. Thanks! We made this for Easter last year and had it toasted with lots of butter for breakfast!

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